He was the sheriff in Rifleman and with Chuck Connors was a symbol of good. But his job was to take away guns. So why is Lucas always carrying his rifle? Did the men go into the salon with side arms. Drunk and armed would have resulted in more deaths. I wonder if they had to check their guns for sanity in the bars.
Yet this is all based on a widely shared misunderstanding of the Wild West. Frontier towns — places like Tombstone, Deadwood, and Dodge — actually had the most restrictive gun control laws in the nation.
In fact, many of those same cities have far less burdensome gun control today then they did back in the 1800s.
Guns were obviously widespread on the frontier. Out in the untamed wilderness, you needed a gun to be safe from bandits, natives, and wildlife. In the cities and towns of the West, however, the law often prohibited people from toting their guns around. A visitor arriving in Wichita, Kansas in 1873, the heart of the Wild West era, would have seen signs declaring, “Leave Your Revolvers At Police Headquarters, and Get a Check.”
A check? That’s right. When you entered a frontier town, you were legally required to leave your guns at the stables on the outskirts of town or drop them off with the sheriff, who would give you a token in exchange. You checked your guns then like you’d check your overcoat today at a Boston restaurant in winter. Visitors were welcome, but their guns were not.