Although Eleanor told the fascinated press, when she first got the weapon, that she was a “fairly good shot,” a New York Times reporter at the 1972 dedication of the Eleanor Roosevelt Wings of the FDR Library interviewed several of Eleanor’s friends who said that she carried the permit, but not the pistol.
Today’s media would be apoplectic if Michelle Obama, or any First Lady, owned, let alone carried a gun. Yet, in 1957, Eleanor Roosevelt was famously licensed to carry a gun in one of the most anti-gun states in The Union. In so many ways, Eleanor Roosevelt was a poster child for liberalism and women’s independence. Insisting on unfettered freedom to move about as she pleased. She refused to be driven around by the Secret Service, insisting on driving her own car. She didn’t even want to take an agent with her. The “compromise” to put the Secret Service at ease was Mrs. Roosevelt carrying a gun. I suspect the current First Lady would throw a no-shit-fit if someone suggested she drive her own car or carry a gun for her own protection. In fact, the current President and First Lady would rather none of us have the right to own, let alone carry a gun.
Of course, the irony here is Mrs. Roosevelt’s husband, Franklin D. Roosevelt is the father of modern gun control and the first federal gun control law. Roosevelt wanted to tax and register ALL firearms. At the time, Congress was actually concerned with protecting the rights of citizens to protect themselves. Especially those in rural communities with little in the way of police presence. And so, what became the Gun Control Act of 1934 was actually watered down from what Roosevelt, many Democrats, and quite a few Republicans wanted at the time. Shockingly, even the NRA didn’t offer much in the way of opposition at the time either.