Guns are a part of our national mythology. Just consider the Western, Annie Oakley, Daniel Boone -- it's hard to deny the role guns had in shaping America.
But what if all those stories were exaggerated at best? What if the gun myth was created in the 19th century by gun manufacturers? In other words, what if guns aren’t what we stand for, but instead, are just another thing we were sold.
Ashley Lynn Hlebinsky is the curator of the Cody Firearms Museum (the most comprehensive collection of American firearms in the world) in Cody, Wyoming. She says we should strip away the politics and the myth around guns and also view them as important historic objects.
The Western. The 2nd Amendment. Guns are a part of our national DNA - like apple pie and baseball. Pamela Haag says not so fast. In her book "The Gunning of America," she argues that early gun barons --with iconic names like Colt and Remington -- created the American culture.
She told Charles Monroe-Kane to look no further than the Rifle King himself, the manufacturer of the Winchester Repeater Rifle, Oliver Winchester.
Sarah Winchester (born 1840) was the heiress to the Winchester Estate with a 50% holding of the Winchester Repeating Rifle Company. She used her vast fortune to construct a mansion for 38 consecutive years.
Popular legend held that she was cursed by all those who were killed by Winchester rifles. The only way to alleviate her suffering was to continue to add on to her mansion, filling it with strange sealed rooms and staircases and corridors leading nowhere. Pamela Haag tells her tale and gives it some meaning beyond a mere ghost story.
Harriet Tubman will soon be gracing our twenty dollar bill. Most of us know only one image of her. It's an iconic image taken later in her life in which her hair's covered in a dark cloth and she has a stern expression. But there are other images of Harriet Tubman as well, including a wood cut of her carrying a musket.
Law professor Nicholas Johnson says the image of Harriet Tubman carrying a rifle doesn’t fit with how most Americans view abolitionists and civil rights leaders. After all, weren’t they supposed to be peaceful? But as Johnson tells Steve Paulson, there's a rich tradition of Black Americans owning guns for self-defense.
For TTBOOK host Anne Strainchamps her only encounters with guns happened in the pages of crime fiction -- usually, stories featuring women. Give her a woman and a gun and she was there for 200 plus pages. Kinsey Milhone, VI Warshawski, Miss Marple, Nancy Drew…She could name dozens of fictional female crime fighters -- but not one real-life woman detective.
That was until she picked up historian Erika Janik’s latest, “Pistols and Petticoats.” It’s the story of how women moved from crime solving in fiction to the real world.