American Shooter: A Personal History of Gun Culture in the United States

American Shooter: A Personal History of Gun Culture in the United States

Gerry Souter

Language: English

Pages: 300

ISBN: 1597976903

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Gun ownership has long been a hot-button topic in the United States, and the National Rifle Association has the reputation of being an organization of primarily politically conservative members. American Shooter provides a unique look at gun ownership, handgun bans, shooting sports, and the controversy over how to interpret the Second Amendment from the point of view of a liberal gun owner and enthusiast. Gerry Souter examines the history of firearms in the United States, from the settlers who carried matchlock muskets ashore at Jamestown to the citizens who purchase guns in record numbers today. Recent Supreme Court decisions that uphold the right to bear arms have galvanized citizens on both sides of the debate, making the gun issue hotter than ever. To provide a personal view, Souter weaves in tales of his own experiences with guns, including sport shooting as a young man, hunting and bonding with his father, and facing the smoking end of a muzzle as an international photojournalist. American Shooter is both a history and a personal journey that traces the path of American gun ownership culture from the Revolution to today. It recounts how the country has lived with guns from the flintlock hung over the fireplace to the concealed-carry, laser-sighted Glock semiautomatic pistol tucked away in the hidden pocket of a mom’s purse.

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nineteenth-century tradition of Annie Oakley, A. H. Bogardus, Frank Butler, William Frank “Doc” Carver, and other marksmanship entertainers during a time when our spirits were dragging and we needed heroes. They were the down-to-earth shooting sport counterparts to pilot Amelia Earhart, race driver Barney Oldfield, and movie star Tom Mix. Rivalries among shooting stars were legendary, drawing large crowds to trick shot matches such as the twenty-five shotgun matches between Bogardus and Carver

the teeth of major land and sea counterattacks. In the Pacific both the army and the navy made do with hand-me-downs as President Roosevelt relented to pressure from Great Britain and decided that Germany must face defeat before Japan was dealt with, using all of America’s resources. Consequently, with equipment shortages, the Marines were open to experimentation. They came to grips with the Japanese suicidal banzai charges sweeping across open ground. The five-shot bolt-action Springfield packed

that nearly drained America’s fuel reserves and sent the automobile industry into a tailspin. Besides pushing drivers into small, cheap cars in 1973, a deep recession ganged up on the country and lasted sixteen months. On top of the recession came inflation caused by the United States going off the gold standard and printing more money: too many dollars chased too few goods. Prices were inflated by President Nixon’s introduction of wage-price controls. High costs reduced demand. Wage controls

carried in a semiautomatic pistol’s grip magazine. Pistols could be made lighter, flatter, and shorter while still pumping out man-stopper bullets. Revolver makers, meanwhile, found hardened steel cylinders could support hefty cartridge loadings in the Magnum range, while using reinforced aluminum and stainless-steel frames kept the weight down, and ergonomic grips helped control recoil. If there is a signature gun that set the bar for the 1980s–1990s rush to revolutionize pistol manufacture, it

represents fear of superheated minorities who will stop at nothing short of savage rampage to grab a bigger piece of the action. If this sounds harsh, it also burns way down beneath the patriotic platitudes of the gun ownership superadvocates. Carrying a handgun as a daily accessory represents a failure of American society. For the statistics buff, the VPC claims that between May 2007 and early 2011, persons licensed to carry handguns have killed 286 private citizens and cut down 11 officers of

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