"By calling attention to a well-regulated militia for the security of the Nation, and the right of each citizen to keep and bear arms, our founding fathers recognized the essentially civilian nature of our economy. Although it is extremely unlikely that the fear of governmental tyranny, which gave rise to the 2nd amendment, will ever be a major danger to our Nation, the amendment still remains an important declaration of our basic military-civilian relationship, in which every citizen must be ready to participate in the defense of his country. For that reason I believe the 2nd Amendment will always be important."
JOHN F. KENNEDY
This gold-plated AR-15 was presented to President Kennedy by Colt Firearms. - From R. L. Wilson's The Colt Heritage
Colt manufactured this custom New Frontier Colt for President John F. Kennedy with a serial number of PT-109. The 35th President never received his revolver as a result of his tragic assassination in 1963.
RICHARD M. NIXON
In their December 21, 1970 meeting, Elvis Presley gave Nixon a commemorative World War II Colt .45 . . . and requested to be made "Federal Agent at Large" in the war against drugs.
Colt Presentation Single-Action Army Colt crafted this elegant Presentation grade single-action army for Nixon in 1972. It was never presented though as a result of the Watergate Scandal. The serial number is RMN No. 1
-Image Courtesy the Autry Museum
"You won't get gun control by disarming law-abiding citizens. There's only one way to get real gun-control; disarm the thugs and the criminals. Lock them up and if you don't actually throw away the key, at least lose it for a long time . . . it's a nasty truth, but those who seek to inflict harm are not fazed by gun controllers. I happen to know this from personal experience."
Colt Presentation Single-Action Army Manufactured in 1984 with the serial number RR-1, this elegant Colt Single-Action Army was crafted for our nation's 40th president. Like Nixon's Single-Action Army, the presentation of this revolver never happened.- Image Courtesy the Autry Museum
Nancy Reagan carried a firearm all the time. Nobody was going to shoot her husband again.
Marquis de Lafayette, a young French soldier who volunteered to fight for the United States, gave Washington this pair of saddle pistols with barrels made of Damascus steel. Washington reportedly carried these sidearms at Valley Forge, Monmouth, Yorktown and during the Whiskey Rebellion as President. Washington maintained possession of the pistols until his death in 1799. Andrew Jackson owned them for a spell, until bequeathing them back to the Lafayette family.
-Image courtesy of Christies
"Laws that forbid the carrying of arms . . . disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes . . . such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man. - Thomas Jefferson, 1764
This flintlock pocket pistol reportedly belonged to our nation's third president.
JAMES MADISON / JAMES MONROE
James Madison was presented with this pair of fully functioning pistols by South American General Ignacio Alvarez, reportedly crafted from meteorite iron found in the Campo del Cielo crater in Argentina. Alvarez' words were accepted as fact until nearly 200 years later when science took a closer look and determined the pistols weren't made from meteoric iron. After Madison's passing, James Monroe took possession of the guns.
-Image courtesy of www.redorbit.com
"Old Hickory" dueled it out with more than one opponent with pistols, including an incident in which he was dueling Charles Dickinson. Dickinson shot first, hitting Jackson in the chest. Jackson then took aim and pulled the trigger only to be greeted with a misfire, which according to dueling rules counts as a shot. Jackson pulled the hammer back again and pulled the trigger, and killed Dickinson with his second effort. Jackson then returned to his office and worked at his desk the rest of the day before seeking medical aid; he lived another nineteen years with the lead ball in his chest. Andrew Jackson also helped Colt Firearms get noticed after giving his stamp of approval to the newly designed revolver.
The above percussion pistol was reportedly owned by Jackson and was made circa 1830.
MARTIN VAN BUREN
Senate Pistols: when Martin Van Buren presided over the senate as Vice President, he wore a pair of pistols for security measures. Imagine a Vice-President trying to get away with that today.
RUTHERFORD B. HAYES
The 19th President of the United States carried this Smith & Wesson .32 Caliber revolver during the Civil War. This gun is in the Hayes Museum in Fremont, OH.
This Colt 8-gauge shotgun was owned by our 22nd president, Grover Cleveland. The engraved double barrel is believed to be the only eight gauge in existence.-Image courtesy of the National Firearm Museum
This Smith & Wesson New Model No. 3 revolver is attributed by Smith & Wesson factory records to future U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt. He most likely took delivery of this gun just prior to training his Rough Riders at San Antonio, Texas. -Image courtesy of the National Firearm Museum
This Colt Revolver was recovered from the sunken USS Maine and subsequently carried in combat by Lt. Colonel Theodore Roosevelt during the Spanish American War. He used this weapon during his Medal of Honor engagement.
According to Roosevelt family tradition this handsome Fabrique Nationale Model 1900 semi-automatic pistol automatic pistol was Teddy Roosevelt's nightstand gun while in the Whitehouse.
-Image courtesy of the National Firearm Museum
The First Lady of firearms, Teddy's cousin-in-law Eleanor was very handy with a sidearm. She often carried a S&W .38 Special Revolver. -Image courtesy Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum
HARRY S. TRUMAN
Harry S. Truman was presented this Colt M1911 and Colt Officers Model .22 LR in 1947 by Colt President Graham H. Anthony.
DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER
This U.S. Colt Model 1911A1 semi automatic pistol was given by General Dwight D. Eisenhower to Admiral Sir A. B. Cunningham, Royal Navy, during the November 1942 Allied invasion of North Africa.
While serving as the Supreme Allied Commander during World War II, Eisenhower's preferred sidearm was a Colt Detective Special.
- National Firearms Museum