CHARLES WHITMAN may have been unusual in having a dozen guns at his disposal, but he was by no means unique. Americans have always been a gun-toting people. Guns enabled the first settlers to protect and feed themselves in a hostile land, made later colonists a nation of rifle men capable of winning their freedom in the American Revolution. The West was tamed with guns, and frontier justice became synonymous with them. From the nation's earliest days, the gun has been the delight of collectors and sportsmen. Today, the U.S. has the world's...

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