Via email from “kb”, David Kopel has some interesting history to share in The American Indian foundation of American gun culture:
To encourage settlement, the Carolina colony (today, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia) induced immigration by offering immigrants freehold land ownership, along with strong guarantees of religious liberty. To receive the land grant, an immigrant had to bring six months worth of provisions to take care of his family while his farm was being cleared and cultivated. Also required: ‘‘provided always, that every man be armed with a good musket full bore, 10 pounds powder and 20 pounds of bullet.’’ (See “A Brief Description of the Province of Carolina” (London 1666), a pamphlet by proprietors encouraging immigration, reprinted in “9 English Historical Documents: American Colonial Documents to 1776,” David C. Douglas gen. ed., Merrill Jensen ed., 1955).
The Massachusetts Bay Colony ordered parents to arrange for arms training for all their children aged 10 or above, both boys and girls. Conscientious objectors were exempt.
So one effect of the Anglo-Indian encounter was to foster a culture of widespread household gun ownership and widespread arms carrying. This was very different from conditions back in England, where the government was certainly not ordering people to always carry guns to the weekly (and mandatory) Church of England services.
Arms carrying was often mandatory for travel outside of towns and for attendance at large public events, particularly church services. Then, as now, unarmed church services were favorite targets for attack, because there would be lots of people gathered in a small space.
The colonists’ new arms culture was profoundly influenced by Indian arms culture, which the colonists imitated in many respects. Perhaps this weekend you may practice precise riflery on a 200-yard range. Or you may take a defensive handgun class that trains you to make quick individual decisions under pressure. Whether or not you like American arms culture, you shouldn’t think of it as something that was brought across the Atlantic Ocean by European immigrants. It’s true that those immigrants brought the firearms. Yet those firearms were quickly integrated into an arms culture that had already existed in America for centuries and that would eventually become the arms culture of American of all races. That was the arms culture founded by the first Americans, the American Indians.