Over 50 years ago, the same truths and principles about gun ownership and the rights of the citizens were known and advocated in national publications. The following is from legendary gun writer Elmer Keith, father of the timeless .357 Magnum cartridge.
I am entitled to be called an American. George Washington and his staff had dinner with an ancestor of mine, one Bill Keith, before fording the Delaware. My grandmother, Druzilla Ann Cummings before her marriage, was a direct decendant of Bill Clark of the Lewis & Clark Expe· dition. My mother, a Merrifield before her marriage, (a cousin of W. A. Merrifield, Theodore Roosevelt's ranch forman for many years), was a descendant of one Benjamin Merrill, who started the first revolution against the British down in the Carolinas. His small army was crushed by the regular British troops sent against him, and he was captured, tried, and hung. (Nathan Hale was made a martyr for a lot less four years later.) As an American, I have a right to be heard in any matter of American "public opinion;" and as a man who has worked with peace officers and as a peace officer all my life, believe I am qualified to express an opinion on laws and law enforcement.
Our great country is now infested with a very small minority of people (Communist paid people, in my opinion) who would like to see us disarmed and who have been and will continue to exert all the pressure possible toward that' end. They have enlisted the help of a fine group of nit-wits and sob-sisters, who, while well meaning, have no idea of the consequences of the anti-gun measures they put before our state and national legislators. The most law abiding of all communities are those where every man is armed and has instant access to his guns. Switzerland, as a nation, is a monument to peace, went through two great world wars as a neutral, at least partly because she was so well armed and so well trained in the use of weapons that nobody wanted to tackle her. In both wars, Germany would have liked to annex Switzerland but knew the cost would be out of proportion to the gain.
I do not believe in any kind of police state or in police control of firearms. Wherever such laws have been adopted, they have also been abused. A friend of mine drove to California and was involved in a minor traffic accident. The police investigated and found a loaded .38 Special Webley under the front seat of his car. He is and has long been an N.R.A. Member, yet both car and sixgun were appropriated by the police and he came home on a bus. Only a week ago, another man phoned me from some town in Oregon. He also had been involved in some traffic accident, and the police found his .357 Magnum S & W locked in his suitcase in the car. They appropriated the gun and also fined him $175 for "concealed weapons." He asked me what to do. I told him to phone The National Rifle Association and get them on the ball. I don't know yet how he came out, but it's getting pretty bad when an honest citizen can't have a weapon for his own defense in his home or car.
Our constitution plainly guarantees the right to own and bear arms, despite the interpretations of some courts. The National Peace Officers Association of America went on record in the "Law Enforcement Digest," (and in GUNS) to the effect that they did not favor restricting the ownership of hand guns by private citizens, or the curtailment of such ownership by registration. Registration of firearms is the first step toward a Police State and also to the ultimate confiscation of all personal weapons. Crime is mounting in this country, and I blame it largely on the crack-pot laws that have been instigated in many states prohibiting the carrying of a personal weapon by John Q. Citizen. In this little community in which I live, we have not had an armed robbery in over 20 years. Maybe that is because, if you shook down every citizen on the streets of Salmon, Idaho, you would come up with as fine a collection of handguns as is to be found anywhere! We in the police department like it that way, and habitual criminals usually give us a wide berth. If anything does start, we have good citizen help.
Dr. George Gallup would have the press believe that the consensus of opinion in America is for stricter control of all firearms, and particularly sixguns and pistols. As usual for Dr. Gallup, he could not be farther from the truth. However, it is high time we got up off our seats and let our legislators know what we want. Right now, a national law is badly needed specifically permitting any law abiding American citizen to carry a handgun in his car for personal protection when he is traveling in or through any state or possession of this country.
Having been in law enforcement to some extent the greater part of my life, I know how well the laws protect the criminal; we can send him up for robbery or murder or other crimes of violence, and the Parole Boards can be depended on to turn him loose in six months to three years, regardless of the enormity or extent of his crimes. It's high time the law-abiding citizen had the support of the police and the courts, and was allowed to carry arms for his personal protection. In imposing penalties, emphasis should be placed on the crime, not on the weapon used.