This chapter examines the history of gun ownership and gun control in the U.S. It explains that in colonial America and during the early republican period, citizens were required by the colonial governments to arm themselves and form citizen militias. The arming of citizens in turn gave birth to a new and strongly held vision of civic responsibility and the colonial governments recognized that guns in the wrong hands could present dangers to the larger imperialist project. Thus, the government started to regulate existing gun ownership and use. The colonial governments also used laws relating to guns to help structure and maintain and patriarchal social structures.
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