The end of an era of gun building is just around the corner. We will be discussing the history of early colonial firearms, as well as the modern automatic weapons we use today. Besides the history of guns, we will also be looking at the various laws passed by the New York State legislature to keep “ghost guns” out of the hands of law-abiding citizens.
Early colonial firearms
Early colonial firearms differed from one region to the next. In some regions, the hunter’s gun consisted of a ramrod, high-raised comb, and Roman nose butt, while in others it was a light gun with a smoothbore design. The long barrels provided the gunner with a wider sight radius.
Guns were used to hunt and provide food for early settlers. Many hunters were wealthy and could own elegant fowlers. However, the majority of Americans did not use firearms. They carried matchlock muskets or a German-made blunderbuss.
Hunting was an important part of American culture. The earliest settlers used a small piece of burning rope to ignite the gunpowder. When the gunpowder was wet, it was useless. It was also expensive.
As tree cover gave way to open land, the design of guns evolved. Hunters needed guns that were lighter. Using a longer barrel allowed a full powder charge to burn more efficiently. A typical hunter’s gun was about 60 inches in length and had a hammer cap and a flat/beveled lock.
Modern automatic weapons
The evolution of modern automatic weapons is the culmination of many years of development, and this is a big deal. As it turns out, the AK-47 is the ultimate example of this technology. It was born on the Eastern Front.
In a way, this new technology is a product of the Industrial Revolution. However, its origins go back to the Spanish-American War, and John Moses Browning was responsible for developing the best of what was to come.
By the time of World War I, American soldiers had developed a need for reliable and accurate sidearms. While they were still using muzzleloaders, they found that these relics were ineffective in close quarters.
A solution to this problem was to develop a semiautomatic rifle. While it is not as effective as a fully-automatic firearm, it was an improvement over bolt-action rifles.
One of the first semiautomatic rifles to be developed was the Stg. 44, or the “Assault Rifle” in German. This rifle was designed to allow soldiers to move faster, while still allowing them to be accurate.
St. Valentine’s Day Massacre
In 1929, seven men were murdered in Chicago in what would become known as the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. The event was part of an ongoing spat of brutal gun violence between two gangs. It was one of the most infamous mob hits of all time.
Al Capone, the gangster, claimed responsibility for the shooting. However, no evidence linking him to the crime was found. Instead, charges were dropped against another gunman.
An arsenal of weapons was confiscated. These included rifles, handguns, bulletproof vests, and sawed-off shotguns. Even so, it remains a mystery as to who actually committed the killings.
A lookout, Byron Bolton, thought he saw Moran on the morning of the massacre. But he was mistaken. Another man, Albert Weinshank, was the nightclub owner.
Three hours after the attack, Gusenberg was killed. He was a well-known local gangster and delivery driver for bootleg liquor. Although he believed that the men who approached his garage were police, he was shocked when a gunman opened fire.
New York State legislature cracks down on “ghost guns”
New York State’s legislature has stepped up its efforts to crack down on the sale of “ghost guns”, untraceable firearms that are easy to purchase without a background check. This comes as shootings have spiked in many cities around the country.
Ghost guns are assembled at home, usually from a kit. These guns are difficult to track and often end up in the hands of criminals. It’s not uncommon for people to buy untraceable guns on credit cards or to avoid background checks.
Gun trafficking has also been linked to an increase in shootings in New York. In the first four months of this year, law enforcement officials recovered 153 ghost guns. That’s a 351% increase over last year, according to the NYPD.
The New York Attorney General’s office has investigated 28 gun sellers. It discovered that a company named Polymer80 had sold guns to convicted felons and to people who had previously been convicted of crimes. They did not perform required background checks or put serial numbers on the products, the NYPD said.