For the record, I am opposed to Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as a national holiday in the month of January or, for that matter, any other month. It isn’t that I oppose a national holiday celebrating the legacy of America’s greatest civil rights leader. I just don’t believe that King was our greatest civil rights leader. I believe that distinction belongs to John Browning.
Since John Moses Browning was born on January 23rd, 1855, it will be easy to make the transition from a Martin King to a John Browning national holiday. And it will be educational, too. Many gun owners are unaware that Browning sold 44 guns to Winchester including the Model 94 level action repeater. Guns based on the Model 94 design and chambered in 30-30 have probably killed more deer in North America than any other model before or since.
Few Colt owners have had a chance to shoot the .30 and .50 caliber machine guns or 37-mm aircraft cannon. But all of those lucky enough to own Colts including the .45 Caliber and Woodsman models are benefiting from a basic design coming from the greatest genius the firearms industry has ever known.
Today’s “civil rights” movement has become a disgrace largely because it is based on the idea that people are entitled to things they did not earn through the fruits of their own labor. Instead, people are given things on the basis of what their ancestors suffered – all coming from those who did nothing wrong on the basis of what their ancestors did wrong.
But John Browning was a different kind of man. He refused to take anything he did not earn. He even refused an honorary degree from a university on the basis of that principle. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson could learn a lot from a man who practices what he preaches.
Dr. King was a success largely because he relied on the ideas of his predecessors. And, indeed, his reliance on the teachings of Jesus and Gandhi were responsible for stopping a lot of unnecessary bloodshed. But Browning was a true innovator. Indeed, when Winchester was insisting that his first shotguns should be of lever action design, Browning was pushing hard for the mass production of his pump action design.
Years later, his critics came around and the Model 93 pump shotgun was born. Most of the shotguns I have in my gun safes in the 21st Century are of this 19th Century design. He was even further ahead of the rest of the gun making world when he produced the first functioning auto loading shotgun. A full 54 years would pass before any other gun maker was able to produce an autoloader that actually worked.