For our neighbors in Newport Beach at least, today is officially John Wayne Day:
Newport Beach council members voted 7-0 to recognize Wayne, one of the city’s most famous residents, with a John Wayne Day. Councilman Kevin Muldoon proposed the resolution, calling Wayne a “consummate American hero.”
I’ll be 52 in a month, and for my generation John Wayne is one of probably three main cinema figures that come to mind as role model for “good guy with a gun” though none of them had a perfect track record on guns. (For that matter, neither did Ronald Reagan or Donald Trump, but in my opinion Trump is the only one out of the bunch that genuinely grew to span the gap between Gun Cultures 1.0 and 2.0, probably thanks to Donald Jr. who has unimpeachable #2A credentials.)
The other two Hollywood celebs I had in mind are not Reagan and Trump but rather William Shatner and Harrison Ford. The real Harrison Ford is an extreme disappointment on #2A (though his piloting adventures score him a few points). I’ll give the real Shatner a pass based on his Canadian roots, plus every now and then it seems he might get it, even if it is just another role such as this:
It is hard to find anything of real substance on John Wayne’s gun rights views. (No, having a gun collection is not enough. Socialist Fudds-with-bucks have big collections.) The only real negative I know of is the movie Wayne produced (and starred in) early in his career, Angel and the Bad Man — which had a decidedly anti-gun message, but again, was early in his career, a long time ago, immediately after a very bloody war. Practically everything since then was very pro-American though the lack of specific gun activism gives me some pause and I wonder if he fell into the same trap Reagan did in trying to limit everyone’s gun rights out of fear of militant blacks.
Aside from politics, he did get involved in teaching gun safety — found this [though note in the intro John Wayne referred to the right to “keep and use” — could not bring himself to say “keep and bear” — that was the essence of Gun Culture 1.0 and thankfully things have changed radically today to the point of many states even getting rid of the permit requirement]:
So on balance, I would say Wayne “grew” as Trump did though of course there was no Gun Culture 2.0 to speak of until about the nineties or perhaps late eighties.
Finally, I note with some embarrassment that I remember “feeling” a bit like John Wayne (the movie version) when I first carried concealed over a dozen years ago, but I’m guessing that dissipates pretty quickly with most people. At least in my case, it quickly morphed to feeling like David Janssen in “The Fugitive” given how easy it is to become one.
The screen version of John Wayne is undoubtedly a #2A icon; so too, in all likelihood, was the real John Wayne.
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David R. Duringer, JD, LL.M, is a concealed firearm instructor and tax lawyer specializing in business and estate planning; licensed to practice law in the states of California and Washington. He is managing shareholder at Protective Law Corporation, serving Southern California from its Laguna Hills (Orange County) headquarters and satellite offices in San Diego County (Coronado and Carlsbad).
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