Sunday, December 30, 2012

History of Dodge City - Gun Free Zone

Legends of America

Intending to restore order, one of the first things the new lawmen did was to initiate a "Deadline” north of the railroad yards on Front Street to keep the commercial part of the city quiet. On the north side, the city passed an ordinance that guns could not be worn or carried. On the south side of the "deadline”, those who supported the lawlessness continued to operate as usual, with a host of saloons, brothels, and frequent gunfights. The expression "Red Light District” was coined in Dodge City when the train masters took their red caboose lanterns with them when they visited the town’s brothels. The gun-toting rule was in effect around the clock and anyone wearing a gun was immediately jailed. Soon, Dodge City jail was filled.


  1. Mike,

    Note that Tombstone didn't prevent people from owning guns in that part of town. They prohibited going heeled.

    This law in Tombstone isn't something that would help argue that history shows acceptance of banning or licensing the possession of guns. It just shows that there was an acceptance that laws could be written to regulate the time, place, and manner of their carry and use. (Which is also consistent with how we apply the First Amendment.)

    This understanding wasn't all that uncommon in early America. Tennessee's constitution opens with a declaration of rights, the 26th provision of which states:
    "That the citizens of this State have a right to keep and to bear arms for their common defense; but the Legislature shall have power, by law, to regulate the wearing of arms with a view to prevent crime."

  2. Here's one of the reasons that gun makers produced lots of easily concealable pocket guns.

    1. That's one explanation, but there are other explanations that don't involve evading the law.

      E.g., I bought a Bersa .380 CC that fits nicely in my pocket back during law school. I got that gun because I had some friends that were getting nervous when we'd meet up off campus and they'd accidentally bump into my normal carry gun.

      The Bersa won't ever win an internet fight over what caliber to use for X situation, but it was a good gun that I could carry for when I was in bad parts of town, or for when people's un-leashed pitbulls got after me (thankfully I never had to shoot any since I could usually scare them by yelling), and it was concealable enough that I could carry it in a non-traditional place/way and nobody got spooked by accidentally discovering it.

  3. Hi Mike, good to see you in the Swift Roundup. Thanks for this paragraph and the link to more Dodge City history and Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson, Katie Elder, etc. I didn't know Masterson and Elder were historical! Let alone that Earp pioneered gun control.

  4. Thanks goes to democommie who sent me the link.