I found this beautiful Colt Firearms brochure from last year, promoting the one hundredth anniversary of the Colt .45 automatic model of 1911.
The last time I shot a gun was in 1968, at a rifle range in Germany, qualifying as a requirement for my job as a soldier in the U.S. Army. My memory is hazy on the event, except that with the M-14 rifle I did OK, but with the .Colt .45 1911 model I was pathetic, missing the target with every round. (To be fair to me, I'd never fired it before.)
Fast forward several years, and I'm working with many men who have guns, and actively buy, sell and trade guns. I got a reputation for being anti-gun, which was unfair. What I was really against was idiocy, which included grown men bringing large caliber guns to work, waving them around, acting like little boys playing with toy guns. One day I walked into the office and a fellow employee laughed and pointed a shotgun at me. (Coincidentally, that employee was later fired, and my boss was sure he was the type of person who would come back with that shotgun and shoot everyone. It didn't happen, thank god.) After several incidents of people around the nation being gunned down at work, my employer banned firearms from the premises, but by then it had stuck that I was "anti-gun."
I believe people should be able to own guns as long as the rounds fired can't stop an Army tank, and especially as long as they don't point a gun at me. I own a couple of guns, a .22 target pistol and a Colt single action .22 revolver, which my father bought in 1961 as a collectible. I still have it in the original box. Here's a picture:
Colt is an old company. It was 175 years old in 2011, founded in 1836 by Samuel Colt, who is featured in this little factoid from a 1948 crime comic book.
The brochure does a beautiful job picturing Colt's various firearms, and even includes 2011's version of the pistol my father bought 51 years ago, the single action. I notice it's no longer available in .22 caliber.
They have a page of history on the 1911 model. John Browning designed it and Colt built it. (Browning has a firearms museum fifty miles from me in Ogden, Utah. I visited it a few years ago.)
They have a page on the 2011 collectible versions of the famous automatic.
They also have a page touting a gun popular with criminals. The 1903 Pocket Hammerless, which was designed for Colt by John Browning. Apparently the 2011 Colt Firearms Company is proud of that small gun having gained its reputation by being carried by Al Capone, or used by Bonnie Parker to break Clyde Barrow out of jail. How many people got killed in juke joints on Saturday nights by the Pocket Hammerless isn't mentioned, but I'm sure it was more than a few. While I admire the Colt company for keeping itself in business for over 175 years, and appreciate the contributions they've made to American gun culture, I wonder about any company taking pride in helping criminals.
I probably don't need to go into any kind of rant about a gun's obvious design, which is to kill. I wanted to mention, though, how sexy guns are. All jokes about phallic symbols aside, a gun introduces a whole new level to sex appeal, especially in a babe's hand.
Colt .45 was a TV series from 1957-1960. It was like free advertising for Colt. It probably helped sales.