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The Unlikely First Lady to Have a Pistol License and Why She Decided to Carry


"...if the necessity arose, I do know how to use a pistol…"

Eleanor Roosevelt's pistol license. (Image source: Twitter)

Franklin D. Roosevelt is considered a pioneer of gun control, passing legislation during his presidency that "imposed a tax on the making and transfer of firearms defined by the (National Firearms Act of 1934)." In light of that, it might come as a surprise to some that his own wife possessed a license to carry.

At 72 years old, Eleanor Roosevelt was granted a pistol license in New York. And now you can see it:

Eleanor Roosevelt Pistol License Eleanor Roosevelt's pistol license. (Image source: Twitter)

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According to the American Gun Culture Report, a pro-firearm ownership website, the former first lady was trained and encouraged to carry a gun as early as her husband's governorship in New York.

[sharequote align="center"]"...if the necessity arose, I do know how to use a pistol…"[/sharequote]

"Someone had evidently forgotten to mention what I actually said, namely, that when I motored and was driving my own car by myself, that the Secret Service had asked me to carry a pistol and that I did it and had learned how to use it!" Mrs. Roosevelt wrote, according to a "My Day" journal entry dated March 13, 1937, archived by the FDR museum.

eleanor shooting pistol Eleanor Roosevelt shooting a pistol at Chazy Lake, New York, in 1934. (Image source: FDR museum)

"I do not mean by this of course, that I am an expert shot, I only wish I were, and if inheritance has anything to do with it, I ought to be for my father could hold his own even in the west in those early days when my uncle, Theodore Roosevelt, had a ranch in the Dakotas," she continued. "These things do not however, go by inheritance and my opportunities for shooting have been few and far between, but if the necessity arose, I do know how to use a pistol…"



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