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March 15, 2013
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Letter: How our country has changed in 50 years

Our country has changed

On a fall day in 1965 at North Douglas High School in Drain, I stood next to my locker with my friend, Steve. I noticed the principal walking very swiftly in our direction. When he arrived, I can still remember his words, “You boys are to leave your guns in your lockers until school is out, do you understand?”

Of course, our answer was, “Yes, sir.” At least we knew where we stood. It was acceptable to have our guns in school, as long as they were kept in the lockers. We didn’t bring them to school to shoot anyone, we brought them for hunting. Some of us had planned a deer hunting trip after school and it seemed convenient to leave the guns in our lockers.

Today, I work at Roseburg Gun Shop. A few days ago, a man came in with an interesting story. He said in 1960 he ordered a 20mm cannon through the mail. A 20mm cannon; this man had my full attention. My first question was, “Why?”

The customer said he had some stumps to clear out and was looking for an easy way to get the job done. He saw an advertisement for the cannon that said it would even take out stumps. He told me that was all he needed to hear. A few days later, a U.S. Postal truck came up his driveway with the barrel of this cannon pointing out the window. “The best stump digger I ever had,” he said.

In the 1960s, there was no paperwork to fill out to buy a gun; firearms could be ordered through the mail or even purchased at the local hardware store. Our country has changed a lot from that day when I stood next my locker with Steve.

Jerry Applegarth

Roseburg


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The News-Review Updated May 29, 2013 08:38AM Published Mar 15, 2013 06:14PM Copyright 2013 The News-Review. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.