Look Back: Gun debate was lively more than a century ago

Historical newspaper excerpts from the Wood County Historical Society

Concealed weapons

Public attention is everywhere being called to the prevailing and almost universal practice of carrying concealed deadly weapons, and Parkersburg may be set down as one of the places which needs attention in reference to this dangerous custom. The usual number of woundings and murders in all parts of the country of late calls forth a general desire for such actions as will abate the practice. Disputes which would end in a mere ebullition of temper, soon to pass and be forgotten, now often end in the crippling or killing of one or more persons because the disputants have knives or revolvers concealed on their persons. Several cases are mentioned in the late papers where mere boys have shot and in some instances killed their companions, often in a fit of childish anger and sometimes in mere playfulness. Of course if fathers and elder brothers set the example to the younger boys in the family, they must expect the example to be followed. And so it is; perhaps half the boys of larger growth in both town and country have in their pocket pistol or big bladed knife, and often flourish the one or the other upon the least provocation.

The reform of this evil must begin somewhere and home is the best place to begin it. Let every young Blucher be disarmed before he leaves the parental roof. Next, let the bearer of concealed weapons be reprimanded and if necessary punished in the school. If these remedies fail, then the law, the police, the courts, and healthy public opinion must be appealed to that the nuisance must be abated. It must be stopped; it has made life too cheap already.

The Parkersburg State Journal

Sept. 1, 1881

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A cutting scrape

Charles Dils and a man named Huston got into a fuss at Whitstead’s saloon Saturday night. Huston had an open knife in his hand which he used on Dils, with very little effect. He inflicted a slight cut on Dils, in his side.

The Parkersburg State Journal

Feb. 2, 1891

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Well to remember

He who carries a pistol henceforth in West Virginia without a license, is liable to go to the penitentiary. It makes no difference either, whether it is a stranger or a pilgrim, a man over from Marietta to get a drink, or a native seng digger.

The Parkersburg Daily State Journal

March 3, 1909

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Pistol law in effect

Below is given the full text of the new pistol law passed by the WV Legislature on February 16th [1909] and which becomes effective ninety days after passage. It contains some very stringent provisions and will bear close inspection. A man carrying a pistol in this state, after this law becomes effective, is in great danger of going to Moundsville. Even officials of the city and county will be compelled to give a heavier bond before they can carry pistols.

Excerpt from the Parkersburg Daily State Journal

April 2, 1909

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Bob Enoch is president of the Wood County Historical Society. Would you like to help preserve our past for future generations? The society offers informative monthly meetings and an interesting, 20-page quarterly newsletter. Dues are just $20/year. Send to: WCHPS, P.O. Box 565, Parkersburg, WV 26102.

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