Ballistic Honors Presidents’ Day
Let’s be honest, if it weren’t for firearms, our country would likely still be under British rule or speaking German. This Presidents’ Day, we feel it’s worth calling out a few of our past presidents who have identified as avid hunters and shooters as well as dedicated protectors of the Second Amendment.
According to historical records, General George Washington was quite the gun collector for the time. I mean, you’d have to be if the country you were trying to help form was under British occupation. It has been recorded that Washington’s favorite sidearms were a pair of Hawkins flintlock pistols, which are currently on display at the West Point Museum.
“A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercises, I advise the gun. While this gives moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise and independence to the mind. Games played with the ball, and others of that nature, are too violent for the body and stamp no character on the mind. Let your gun therefore be your constant companion of your walks.” – Thomas Jefferson to his nephew, Peter Carr.
I think it goes without saying that if your uncle helped build a nation he’d be highly inclined to suggest you stay strapped at all times.
Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt
One of the most renowned presidential gun enthusiasts was Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt, a skilled marksman and outdoorsman who enjoyed hunting big game. Roosevelt owned many guns throughout his lifetime, but his favorite was a custom-made Winchester Model 1895 lever-action rifle, chambered in .405 Winchester. He called this rifle his “Big Medicine” and used it on many of his hunts.
Harry S. Truman
As a good ‘ol boy from Missouri, it’s no surprise that Harry S. Truman was a known gun enthusiast, hunter, and quite a skilled marksman. He often used his hunting trips as a way to connect with constituents and promote his image as “a man of the people.” Prior to becoming President, Truman had served as a captain of artillery in WWI, fighting in France in 1918. When he returned home as a Reservist, he was allowed to keep the his issued sidearms; a Colt .45 1917 revovler and a Colt .45 1911.
Dwight “Ike” Eisenhower
Another president who enjoyed some good ol’ fashioned hunting was Dwight “Ike” Eisenhower. Ike was an avid bird hunter and his favorite shotgun was a 20-gauge Winchester Model 21 shotgun. To help him relax in his downtime, Eisenhower had a skeet range built at Camp David.
Ronald Reagan was also a well-known supporter of the Second Amendment. One of his favorite guns was the six-shot Colt Single Action Army revolver and he reportedly enjoyed shooting guns at his ranch in Santa Barbara, California. In addition to his personal enjoyment of firearms, the Gipper also recognized the importance of gun ownership for self-defense and the protection of personal freedoms. During his presidency, he signed the Firearm Owners Protection Act in 1986, which protected the rights of gun owners and dealers while also regulating certain aspects of firearms sales and ownership.
George H.W. Bush & George W. Bush
As Texas residents, it’s practically a given that Bush 41 and Bush 43 should appear on this list. Both Bushes have a history of taking part in shooting sports as well as quail hunting on their property in Texas. While a supporter of gun ownership but not incendiary rhetoric, George H.W. Bush made waves in the firearm community when he publicly canceled his NRA Life Membership after the Association’s leader, Wayne LaPierre, referred to federal agents as “jack-booted thugs.”
While in office, George W. Bush, signed the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act into law, which protected gun manufacturers and dealers from lawsuits arising from the criminal misuse of firearms.
In recent years, firearm ownership has become a touchy subject in the American political landscape and it seems like the holder of the most powerful office in the free world must be forced to pick a side for the sake of winning elections. Presidents come and go, but at least we the people can bet on the Second Amendment staying put. While it’s unlikely that our current president will be pictured harvesting a whitetail or popping off a few rounds of .45 ACP, we can always look forward to the day when our next president will.