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A description of handguns and other firearms in having long tradition in american civilization

By Priya Satia April 10, 2018 Those in favor of firearms control in the United States today often point in exasperated envy at laws in countries like Australia and the United Kingdom.

The reality is that these countries were able to pass their strict laws partly because American laws are so lax. As long as it stays open, they can count on business, and governments around the world can feel secure about the health of an industry they rely on for defense.

  • Most famous of the early rapid-fire guns was the Gatling gun, which fired steadily through a cluster of rotating barrels so long as the gunner was turning its crank and his assistant was feeding ammunition;
  • Most were offered in a variety of frame sizes, barrel lengths and weights, and calibers ranging from;
  • This brings us to the second requirement for firearms owner;
  • Marlin was Winchester's strongest competitor in the field, with Whitney Kennedy and Evans also producing lever action repeaters;
  • Improvements include cocking on opening of the bolt rather than closing, an added safety lug, and a larger chamber ring;
  • Fast forward two centuries and guns are a hot topic in the US.

Since firearms became central to warfare, governments have faced a structural problem: They need gun manufacturers but do not generate enough demand themselves to keep those manufacturers in good health by serving the military alone.

Peace, in particular, is bad for gunmakers. The Glorious Revolution of 1689 established a new regime in Britain. It had to defend itself against rebels at home and abroad who wanted to restore the ousted king. The government also launched its own factory, at Enfield, to further diffuse the industry. To keep this industry healthy during interludes of peace—in an era in which firearms possession was largely an entitlement of the upper classes—the government helped it find other outlets.

British gunmakers sold firearms all over the world: Occasionally, British officials worried about arming their own enemies. But inevitably, the logic prevailed that not selling guns to potential enemies would merely send those enemies to a rival supplier, like the French, and the British would forfeit both profit and influence.

The government also encouraged gunmakers to diversify into products that could be sold to British civilians: This strategy freed the government from worrying overly about the health of its firearms industry. In 1934, it selected a Czech design for the new army light machine gun, over protests from BSA and Vickers.

BSA ceased military rifle production in 1961 after a government decision to let them go. They turned out other metal goods and motorcycles until they were edged out of those businesses in the early 1970s. In 1985, it and other government arms factories were made into a public corporation, Royal Ordnance, which, in 1987, was bought by British Aerospace, the then-reprivatized company in which Vickers had merged during the 1960 nationalization of the aircraft industry.

That year, 1987, was also the year of the mass shooting known as the Hungerford massacre. Gun control in the U. The next year saw both the closure of the Enfield unit and amendments tightening existing firearms controls. After the Dunblane shooting in 1996, private possession of handguns was banned almost entirely; thousands of guns were surrendered.

By that point there was essentially no firearms industry to put up a protest; U. In Australia, too, passage of tight gun control laws in 1996 was eased by the absence of a major Australian gun industry. The United States followed a different path.

Get your history fix in one place: But, for the most part, American manufacturers could rely on sales to civilians to cope with lulls in government demand. Between the world wars, the federal government and the American gun industry both opposed suggestions for controls on sales to civilians, out of fear that they would endanger an industry essential to national defense.

  • His "humpback" Auto 5 shotgun was a tremendous success, popular still today, and has been made by Fabrique National, Remington, and Browning;
  • Constitution, which protects the individual and collective civil rights of Americans;
  • The powder was ignited with a torch or smoldering ember through a small hole in the rear the touchhole;
  • These companies have been referred to as the "armorers to the nation's nightstands," accurately reflecting the fact that even persons of moderate means could afford their products as a handy means of home and personal protection;
  • The lock is the mechanical contrivance that is used to ignite the charge of gunpowder in the chamber of the barrel.

During the Cold War, the U. When the Swedish firearms manufacturer Interdynamic AB could not find a civilian market for its TEC-9 submachine gun at home, its Miami subsidiary Intratec sold it to Americans, who made it a notorious instrument of mass shootings.

Why are Americans so obsessed with guns?

If gun-control advocates focus on the NRA and politicians who take money from the group as the sole obstacles to sensible gun control laws in the U. Remington has now filed for bankruptcythough its operations remain unaffected. The NRA and gun manufacturers benefit from promoting intense cultural and ideological commitment to their reading of the Second Amendment, but so does every government that needs firearms for its military and law enforcement services. Studies have shown that the presence of astronomical numbers of guns in the United States is a specific cause of the high rate of mass shootings, but the presence of those guns has become a matter of global security.

  • Between the world wars, the federal government and the American gun industry both opposed suggestions for controls on sales to civilians, out of fear that they would endanger an industry essential to national defense;
  • This type of revolver rapidly caught on, and would become the dominant handgun design for most of the 20th century in America;
  • The snaphaunce held a piece of flint in the hammer-like cock, with a pan of priming powder mounted on the outside of the barrel over the touchhole as with the matchlock system;
  • To reload the Colt, each individual chamber had to be aligned with a barrel mounted ejector rod, and the single empty brass case punched out and replaced with a fresh cartridge before rotating the cylinder to the next chamber, repeating the operation a total of six times to fully load the revolver.

This vision of global security has thus perversely come to depend on continual insecurity about mass shootings in the United States. Penguin Priya Satia is the author of Empire of Guns: The Violent Making of the Industrial Revolutionavailable now.