Baby Boom Period Headlines 1946-1964    •    By Greg    •    The Gun Blog

Major News Headlines about Handguns and Firearms (1946-1964)

These headlines reflect the evolving landscape of firearm ownership, regulation, and the societal impacts of gun violence from 1946 to 1964. The period was marked by a mix of post-war adjustments, legal challenges, and high-profile incidents that shaped the national discourse on firearms in America.

1946: Post-War Firearm Surge

"Surplus Firearms Flood Market Following WWII"
The end of World War II saw a massive influx of surplus firearms entering the civilian market. Military rifles, handguns, and other equipment were sold at a fraction of their original cost, leading to a significant increase in firearm ownership among civilians.
Source: "The War Surplus Act of 1944," United States Department of War, 1946.
Reference: "Firearms Market Post-WWII," American Rifleman, 1946.

1949: The Sullivan Act Challenge

"Supreme Court Upholds New York's Sullivan Act"
In a landmark decision, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld New York's Sullivan Act, which required permits for firearm possession. This ruling set a precedent for state-level gun control laws and was a pivotal moment in the ongoing debate over the Second Amendment.
Source: "New York v. Sullivan Act Decision," United States Supreme Court, 1949.
Reference: Gun Control in the United States: A Historical Survey, by Robert J. Spitzer, 1995.

1950: Korean War Influence

"American Soldiers Equip with Advanced Firearms in Korea"
The Korean War showcased the use of advanced firearms technology by American forces. Innovations in automatic weapons and rifles were widely reported, influencing both military and civilian firearm markets.
Source: "Korean War Firearms Technology," Military History Journal, 1950.
Reference: "Weaponry of the Korean War," The Journal of Military Ordnance, 1951.

1954: Supreme Court and Gun Control

"Supreme Court Reviews Federal Firearms Act"
The U.S. Supreme Court reviewed cases related to the Federal Firearms Act of 1938, reaffirming the government's ability to regulate interstate firearm sales. This decision was a critical moment in the federal oversight of firearm distribution.
Source: "Federal Firearms Act Review," United States Supreme Court, 1954.
Reference: The Federal Firearms Act: Legislative History and Judicial Interpretation, by Leonard W. Levy, 1960.

1957: The Assassination of Albert Patterson

"Political Violence Strikes Alabama: Albert Patterson Assassinated"
Albert Patterson, an anti-corruption crusader running for Alabama Attorney General, was assassinated with a handgun. His death underscored the lethal intersection of politics and firearms in the American South during the civil rights era.
Source: "Albert Patterson Assassination," The Montgomery Advertiser, 1957.
Reference: The Politics of Violence: The Case of Albert Patterson, by William F. Winter, 1965.

1959: Alaska and Hawaii Statehood

"New States Bring Unique Firearm Laws"
With Alaska and Hawaii achieving statehood, both states introduced distinctive firearm regulations. This transition period saw extensive discussions on how these new states would align with federal firearm policies.
Source: "Firearm Regulations in New States," Juneau Empire, 1959.
Reference: "Statehood and Firearm Legislation," Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 1959.

1963: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy

"Tragedy in Dallas: President Kennedy Assassinated"
On November 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas, by Lee Harvey Oswald using a Mannlicher-Carcano rifle. This event shocked the nation and led to increased scrutiny and subsequent reforms in firearm regulations and presidential security measures.
Source: "Assassination of John F. Kennedy," Dallas Morning News, 1963.
Reference: The Kennedy Assassination: 24 Hours After, by Steven M. Gillon, 2009.

1964: Gun Control Act Introduction

"Congress Debates Gun Control Act"
Following the JFK assassination and rising gun violence, Congress began debating a Gun Control Act, which did not come about until four years later in 1968, in the aftermath of the Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King shootings.
Source: "Congressional Record: Gun Control Act Debates," U.S. Congress, 1964.
Reference: Gun Control in the United States: A Historical Survey, by Robert J. Spitzer, 1995.

The Baby Boom was driven by several factors, including economic prosperity, advances in healthcare, and a sense of optimism and stability following the war. Soldiers returning home were eager to start families, and the period saw a rise in marriage rates and the establishment of suburban communities, which became symbols of the American Dream.

Here are just a few examples from my Baby Boom Period Collection.

1946 S&W Showcase K-22
1946 S&W Showcase K-22
This was the first production K-22 Masterpiece completed in 1946... and was used by the factory to showcase their K-22 line of revolvers.

This gun was placed in the Sales Manager's office show case at the Smith & Wesson factory on February 4, 1947. While held by the factory in the show case, it was updated with new features as they were developed, such as the target hammer, target trigger and special grips.

1955 Colt Woodsman Match Target
1955 Colt Woodsman Match Target Series III
The third and final series of the Colt Woodsman, produced from 1955 to 1977, represented the culmination of decades of design evolution and user feedback.

My father was 18 years-old when this gun was born in 1955. He says that $85 was pricey for a handgun in 1955, then went into a story about his Savage Single-Shot .410 shotgun that he paid $24 for. In today's dollars, $85 would be approximately $960, however, the value of this gun outpaced inflation and the value of the dollar.

1949 Savage .250-3000 Model 99EG
1949 Savage .250-3000 Model 99EG
My All-Time Favorite Rifle is an Oddball... this 1949 Savage .250-3000 Model 99 Hammerless Lever Action Rifle

There is a great deal of satisfaction when you wait patiently in search of just the right firearm you want to acquire and it finally comes along and you get it. I have always been a big fan of high quality wood on long guns and this particular gun exceeded my expectations.

1960 Winchester Model 42
1960 Winchester Model 42
My Re-Conditioned Gun

The Winchester Model 42 is one of the easiest guns to fall in love with that I've ran across in my endeavors. If you find a very high condition gun, there is a good chance it has been reconditioned or restored. It's easy to see why people would want to preserve these guns and see them at their best, especially with prices ranging from $2,000 to $40,000.

1960 Smith & Wesson Model 10
1960 Smith & Wesson Model 10
The Most Popular Handgun of the 20th Century

In 1957, Smith & Wesson adopted the convention of using numeric designations to distinguish their various models of handguns, and the M&P was renamed the Model 10. My S&W Letter arrived, and it says my gun shipped to Tampa, Florida on January 13, 1960.

Colt 1961 Kansas Centennial Single Action .22
Colt 1961 Kansas Centennial Single Action .22
My least valuable gun is also my most valuable gun. It was a gift from my deceased brother.

The commemorative was only offered through Kansas dealers. The first revolver in this series was presented to the Governor of Kansas in the year of the Centennial. Colt stopped designating guns as a Colt Commemorative in the mid-1980s.

1962 Colt Python with hollow underlug
1962 Colt Python .357 Magnum
The Colt Python was introduced in 1955 as Colt's top-of-the-line model. The gun pictured here was made in 1962.

The underlug of these guns were hollow until 1964. Some will say the change to solid underlug was an enhancement. It was a cost-saving measure, pure and simple.

1963 Colt Custom Auto Shotgun
1963 Colt Custom Auto Shotgun
5,000 Manufactured 1962-1966 by Luigi Franchi for Colt

My gun pictured here, is chambered for 3" shells and has a 30" full choke barrel with solid rib. It also has the higher grade walnut, the Gold Colt Medallion on the grip of the stock and engraving scenes of dogs and pheasants on the right side and dogs and a rabbit on the left side.

1962 Colt Gold Cup National Match
1962 Colt Gold Cup National Match
In 1957, Colt launched the Gold Cup National Match, further refining the National Match's design.

According to the Colt Archive, this gun was shipped on February 4, 1963 as part of a 3 gun shipment to John Jovino Gun Shop of New York City.

Cold War: An Illustrated History, 1945-1991

A companion volume to the twenty-four-part documentary on the history of the Cold War ranges from the fall of Germany at the end of the Second World War to the fall of the Berlin Wall and dissolution of the Soviet Union. TV tie-in.

Editorial Reviews

Beautifully designed and illustrated with hundreds of photographs, this companion volume to the CNN documentary series begins with the roots of the cold war: the military intervention by six nations (including the United States) in the Bolshevik's 1917 Russian Revolution. The book then takes on the cold war proper, from the post-WWII rise of the Iron Curtain to the collapse of the Berlin Wall and the Soviet government in the early '90s.

Cold War: An Illustrated History, 1945-1991
Cold War (1945-1991)

"For forty-five years," the authors write, "the peoples of the world held their breath," through missile crises, policies of "mutual assured destruction," the Vietnam War, and the uneasy steps toward détente and full peace highlighted by Richard Nixon's meetings with Brezhnev and by Mikhail Gorbachev's meetings with Ronald Reagan and George Bush. Special sections highlight the role of spies in the cold war, as well as the films and literature of the era. This is a copiously detailed account of the major historical force of the latter half of the 20th century that would make an excellent reference book for any household.

Libraries that see heavy demand for tie-in volumes when PBS and BBC historical documentaries hit the air should expect interest in this lavishly illustrated history of the cold war, which accompanies a 24-episode series that CNN will broadcast this fall. The British producers are credited as the book's authors; they acknowledge the aid of "an international panel of distinguished historians."

The text incorporates some recent scholarship based on newly available Soviet and U.S. documents; it opens with a description of the U.S.S.R.'s history from 1917 to 1945, then traces the sources and consequences of East-West confrontation from the late 1940s through the fall of the Berlin Wall. The hundreds of photos and other illustrations will bring back vivid memories for those who lived through those decades, but the volume may be most valuable for readers too young to remember armed struggles in Berlin, Korea, Cuba, and Vietnam or catchphrases like Iron Curtain, de tente, and mutually assured destruction. Mary Carroll


My MOS when I served in the United States Army was 76Y. For you non-military readers, the Military Occupational Specialty of 76 Yankee means that I was a Unit Armorer. While on REFORGER 85, I trained with German Paratroopers and qualified as "Expert" with the German G-3 rifle, the Israeli Uzi 9mm sub-machinegun and the 9mm handgun.