Old West Gun Control

I watch Wyatt Earp last night. It was a good movie minus some significant historical accuracies. I didn’t know Earp banned guns in town. I understand the problem they were dealing with but not the unconstitutional aspects of it. They could have arrested the Cowboys that used them illegally. Businesses could have banned them on private property. I also watched a Discovery Plus series on “Gunslingers”. It’s a good show. Wyatt Earp Banned Carrying Guns | Bgroup Communications


I still vote for Wild West Pimp Style Carry.


As the historical note from that movie showed, “gun control” worked then as well as it does today.


Key element to this is control. A person has problems controlling themselves little less controlling others. It is like trying to control earthquakes and lightning, there are things you can do to protect yourself but you can not control it. Posting signs does not work either because Nobody breaks the speed limit! We have seen how well signs work as well as, restricted areas. Honest responsible people follow rules and regulations while those who do not follow the rules and do not care about no stinkin’ rules or regulations!


This is an interesting topic, and one I wish I understood better. (I’m still looking for that reference book.) My understanding is that in the 19th century, the Bill of Rights was often thought of as a list of restrictions on the federal government. State and local governments had a lot more power and weren’t necessarily bound by these amendments, and even if they were, the federal government didn’t necessarily have the capability to enforce them.

The pendulum has very much swung the other direction. The 14th Amendment clarifies equal protection under the law, we have a history of court decisions upholding our rights, and the federal government has a myriad of law enforcement branches. From a 2A perspective, the big issue today is making sure the various amendments of the constitution are upheld equally. Courts generally like to err on the side of citizens with regard to the 1st, 4th, or 15th amendments, for example; we would simply like the same consideration for the 2nd.

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Most historians agree that the Old West era spanned the years 1850 - 1900. As towns grew and became settled, signs showed up prohibiting the public carry of firearms inside town limits - the open carry of firearms by law enforcement was frowned upon in some towns, even though sheriffs and marshals had a great deal of authority to keep the peace. I saw a show on the History Channel where one historian said that Wyatt Earp had canvas liners sewed into a frock coat that allowed him to carry a full-sized Colt concealed when he made his rounds. What’s surprising is that real efforts at gun control began as a conservative issue via the “robber barons” back then, versus liberal issues. Look at the assassinations and assassination attempts on our presidents after Lincoln, up to Roosevelt. FYI

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From what I have read, it was just the opposite, as in the areas where they had “gun control”, there was little LE and justices to administer law and order, so they used “gun control” as a prop, not that it worked, as is evidenced by history. Furthermore, Robber Barons were not “Conservatives”. Conservatives may align more with Capitalists and Republicans than with the current crop of DINOs (Democrats in name only), but that does not make us one of them.

Both Teddy and FDR, including them or not, and not other politically motivated assassinations, only presidents?
McKinley’s assassin was an anarchist, politically to the Left of Center
I found no information on who attempted to assassinate Taft.
Hoover’s attempted assassin was also an anarchist, though he was in Argentina at the time, and it was an Argentine that attempted it.
Teddy Roosevelt’s attempted assassin was unlikely to be a Conservative nor a Republican, and was ruled insane.
FDR’s attempted assassin would also likely be considered an anarchist, though I found nothing on his political affiliation, I did read this quote “I kill kings and presidents first and next all capitalists.”

You have to admit taking the guns worked pretty well. Was this legal back then? What gets me is that out of a complete town, with most people carrying guns, why didn’t the good guys get together and take out the bad guy? Kind of like to day. Better keep ours eyes on Biden.

I’ve read that crime in the “Wild West” was not nearly as rampant as we’re led to believe in movies. Yes, there were wild saloon towns, and there were gangs that robbed vulnerable travelers, but most “bad guys” were hiding in the vast unsettled territory, not necessarily hanging out in towns where they could be identified or captured. Ordinary town folk weren’t too keen on leaving the relative safety of their village in order to ride out hunting for bad dudes.

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True, as it is still today, it was the populous Eastern cities that had the highest crime rates.

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If y’all ever get a chance to watch “Gunslingers” on Discovery Plus I highly recommend it. It’s interesting to say the least and dispels many legends that were really exaggerated by journalists seeking fame and fortune.

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What I was referring to was when the bad guys came into town raising a ruckus and the marshal could not,or would not do anything about it, instead of cowing down, the town men should have gotten together and stopped what was going on. Today more criminals are stopped from doing their deeds by armed citizens than the police. So where were the good guys back then?

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I honestly don’t know. Maybe it happened more often that we’re led to believe, but it doesn’t make for a good Western movie… just like citizens stopping criminals don’t make for good headlines, today.

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Many of the men in these western towns were Civil War vets - unlike the ridiculous plot of “High Noon”, the outlaw gang would’ve been looking at a welcome party of shotguns when they showed up.

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Interesting info. While growing up in Texas I used to hear several references to Judge Roy Ben the hanging judge in a very positive light. Seems like Texas had its fair share of “outlaws”.

Growing up I recall many people say things like “he’s an outlaw” or something to that effect. What’s interesting is that it was said without condemnation but rather a sort of pride,?also heroic.

I suspect that much of the early “gun control” had more to do with giving the local sheriff the ability to arrest people at will.

Case-in-point: in the 1920’s and 1930’s, several states and counties started to adopt strict gun licensing requirements. Durham County, North Carolina was one such example. Even if you were just traveling through Durham County back in the day, you were required to have registered your gun before traveling through. Much of this was ostensibly sold to the public as a “public safety” measure that was responding to the St. Louis riots of 1917.

In truth, it had absolutely nothing to do with public safety, and everything to do with targeting African Americans. Sheriffs enforced these laws capriciously and with tremendous discrimination. The idea of challenging this up to the Supreme Court would have been laughable.

As an aside, some of these laws still remain on the books. I lived in Durham, NC when we finally got the Jim Crow gun registry tossed, and it took no small amount of work to convince the city’s leadership (most of whom were solid Democrats) that supporting a racist, Jim Crow-era law was not a great idea.

So it went in Durham, and so it probably went in a lot of the old west towns of yore. It was probably a safe assumption that anyone riding into town had some sort of firearm, but most people were just looking to go about their business and wouldn’t have been bothered with.

But start some sort of confrontation? That would give the Sheriff plenty of reason to find your gun and lock you up. Just as sheriffs loved to do to unsuspecting African Americans during Jim Crow.