.45 ACP is a type of handgun bullet. It was designed in 1904 by John Browning for the new Colt pistol adapted by US Army in 1911. It proved itself possessing a very high stopping power during World War I and is a very popular high caliber handgun ammunition in America ever since. The reason for this is a very simple one. The stopping power is an ability of bullet to stop a big man with bayonet running towards you from driving this bayonet through your guts. A different bullet may kill the man, but would not stop him and his bayonet. .45 ACP would reliably do this stopping trick so your guts will be just fine.
Last week I encountered a situation that I did not encounter for the last 23 years ever since I immigrated to America from the Soviet Union – the widely used popular commodity product manufactured for more then a century disappeared from the shelves of the stores. This product is .45 ACP bullets. The shop assistant happily informed me that it is just a temporary inconvenience caused by dramatically increased sales of guns and ammunition so supplier cannot keep up with the demand He had no doubt that eventfully they will catch up and everything will be back to normal.
So while media of all kinds is discussing fine points of American gun culture, the regular members of this culture are buying ammunition in huge quantities despite the fact that it is not cheap even for dwellers of American suburbs with jobs and/or small businesses.
The media discussion is very often concentrating around self-defense issues with only sporadic reference to American tradition of being armed against tyrannical government. In reality the violent crime is down and in Suburbia it is practically non-existent. The government is obviously growing like cancer tumor, but we still seem to be quite a bit away from setting up concentration camps for dissidents, the situation that would call for use of guns and ammunition.
I think that the piece that is missing in this discussion is a symbolic value of a gun as tool of power. In any encounter of a person with the gun with person without gun, the person with gun is powerful, while person without gun is powerless. When I was growing up in USSR after WWII it was a usual thing in movies of, unknown to Americans genre of industrial drama, to see a powerful person like plan manager or even scientist with a gun, usually in his desk. Contrary to the rules of Russian school of dramatic art it would be never used, but it always had the same deep meaning – this guy allowed to have a gun so he must be important and powerful.
Meanwhile in real life to have unauthorized gun would be a crime punishable by long prison term. Even veterans of war who had guns given to them as award for some heroic action with their name and description of action inscribed on the gun (popular way to reward an officer without going through bureaucratic nightmare of getting him a decoration) were strongly recommended to give their guns to government for “safekeeping”. As usual it was an offer that nobody could refuse.
It short, I believe we should look at gun control battles for what they really are – a struggle of politicians and bureaucrats to deprive Americans of these symbols of power in hope that it would help them to break resistance to their political agenda.
I think politicians and bureaucrats should be very careful and remember old flags of American Revolution depicturing snake and “Don’t step on me” slogan. Recently these flags start flying again. Just keep in mind that when you are stepping on the people, nobody knows when and if they start using the stopping power of .45ACP. One thing is for sure – you cannot have a big government without stepping on the people.