First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt: 'I Carry a Pistol, and I'm a Fairly Good Shot'

First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt: 'I Carry a Pistol, and I'm a Fairly Good Shot'

Among the numerous exhibits at the FDR Library is one that shows First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt knew the benefits of female gun ownership. Her permit to carry a pistol, issued August 5, 1957, is on display.

A tweet sent by the US National Archives links to copies of the permit released to Slate Magazine last year. 

Slate published images of the permit, the back of which shows that Mrs. Roosevelt was given “permission” to buy a gun “pursuant to the provisions of Section 1897, Penal Law of the State of New York,” and was licensed to “possess” the firearm. The front of the permit clarifies the word “possess” by showing Mrs. Roosevelt was licensed “to carry.”

The permit was issued by Judge John R. Schwartz.

The book, “Casting Her Own Shadow: Eleanor Roosevelt and the Shaping of Postwar Liberalism,” quotes the Washington Herald’s Earl Miller as saying:

When ER became first lady, she refused Secret Service protection, insisting that she be able to travel as freely as possible. The agents complied with her wishes only after they discovered she knew how to shoot, and convincing her to carry a pistol when she drove alone. Intrigued by yet another example of ER’s independence, the press treated ER’s “packing” as front page news–especially after she nonchalantly remarked: “I carry a pistol, and I’m a fairly good shot.”

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