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A Firearms History Timeline

by Larry Arnold This is a timeline of events related to the development and use of firearms.
Date 1200 1200s 1214-1292 1240 1248 1300 1346 1400 1430 1440s 1500 1500s Circa 1500 Late 1500s 1503 Circa 1517 1526 Circa 1580 1600 1600s Circa 1600 1639 1700 1750 1750 1758-1836 1760s 1761-1883 1763 1775 1775 4-19-1775 9-9-1776 1777 1786-1868 The 13th Century. Gunpowder (black powder) is reputed to be invented by the Chinese. Roger Bacon. An early English experimenter with black powder. The Battle of Ain Jalut, first recorded use of cannon. Roger Bacon describes the composition of black powder. The 14th Century. Gunpowder manufactured in the Tower of London. The 15th Century. The culverin, a two-man hand-held cannon, fielded by the French. The Janissary corps of the Ottoman army were using matchlock arms. The 16th Century. The Damascus barrel developed in the Near East. The button lock was the first improvement on the match lock, and the first "trigger." Spring air guns were invented. Spain uses the "pike and shot" formation in the Battle of Cerignola, the first battle won by gunpowder-based small arms. The wheellock was invented in Nuremburg. Fabbrica D'Armi Pietro Beretta S.p.A is formed in Italy. Oldest continuously operating manufacturer in the world. The Snaphaunce flintlocks were developed. The 17th Century. The blunderbus was introduced. The dog lock, which featured a safety to secure the half cock position, was developed. Rhode Island colony passed law limiting deer season. The 18th Century. Contriner of Vienna designed a 15 shot compressed air gun. The first Kentucky rifles were manufactured on the American frontier. Ezekiel Baker. English gunsmith who produced the Baker rifle. The "Brown Bess" British musket was standardized. Nicholas Noel Boutet. A famous French gunsmith known for his artistic decoration of firearms. Eli Whitney founded the Whitney Arms Company, which applied mass production techniques to rifle manufacture. Committees of Safety began providing arms to American patriots. John Wilkinson builds the first true boring machine, making bored rifle barrels possible. British Redcoats and Minutemen at Concord, Massachusetts fire the "shot heard 'round the world." The first rifles were issued with the mark "U.S." Springfield Armory founded as the first U.S. federal armory to manufacture firearms. Henry Deringer, Jr. He developed the short-barreled, powerful pistol which became the "Derringer." Note the shift in spelling. The First Militia Act gave the U.S. President authority to call on the states' militias. The Second Militia Act provided for organizing state militias. Event

Early 1600s Pneumatic air guns introduced.

12-15-1791 The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution adopted to protect the right to keep and bear arms. 5-2-1792 5-8-1792

Samuel Colt patented the Colt revolver in the U. He invented the rifling system for the Martini-Henry Rifle. Tyler Henry patented the . (Not the Revolutionary War Allen) Robert Adams. which allowed several cartridges to be loaded in a firearm so that the ignition of one set off the next. Daniel Baird Wesson and Horace Smith manufacture the Volcanic Action Repeating Pistol. B. The Hall rifle was patented. James Henry Burton. Dimick. American gunmaker best known for perfecting the Minie ball. Ambrose Everett Burnside invented the Burnside breechloading percussion rifle. Invented the Mauser action. Edward Maynard introduced a cartridge consisting of a brass tube with powder and bullet. made his first rifle.S. Army officer and arms maker who invented the Berdan primer and perfected a method of drawing brass to make the first centerfire cartridge. Slide-action repeater produced by Jonathan Browning in Quincy. Peter Paul Mauser. Edward M. The design led to the Smith & Wesson cartridge revolver. Bennett and Frederick Haviland patent their breechloading rifle. Event c1800-1893 Hiram Berdan. 1802 1805-1879 1808-1871 1809-1870 1811 1811-1873 1813 1814-1862 1816 1819-1894 1822 1823-1894 1823-1898 1831 1833-1905 1834 1835 1836 1837 1838 1838 1838-1914 1840 1851 1851 1852 1852 1853 1854 1854 1855 1855 1855-1926 1856 1856 1859 1860 The Baker flintlock rifle introduced in England.44 Henry Rifle. including the Browning Automatic Rifle and the Browning machine-gun. the first practical pistol with self-contained ammunition. Horace E. Samuel Colt patented the Colt revolver in England. The English gunmakers 5 shot self cocking revolver competed with the more famous Colt. Boxer. The first Colt revolvers were manufactured. The Prussian Army adopted the Dreyse needle gun. Frederick Haviland and Epentus A. Eliphalet Remington. the first practical pistol with self-contained ammunition. Jonathan Browning. Christian Sharps founded the Sharps Rifle Manufacturing Company. He was the inventor of more successful firearms than any other American. Chambers patented the Chambers system. George Elgin patented the Elgin cutlass pistol. American gunmaker noted for guns used in the Old West. Epentus A. It is considered the first successful breechloader. In the 1860s invented the Boxer primer.S. Antoine Alphonse Chassepot. Jr. an early "automatic. Joseph G. French gunmaker known for inventing the Chassepot needle gun. a Civil War Confederate revolver with a shotgun barrel. Christian Sharps invented the disk primer. patented by Jean Alexander Francois LeMat. A gunmaker. Dr. an American gunmaker and father of John Moses Browning. Alexander Henry. . Smith & Wesson produced the first complete rimfire cartridge. The percussion cap was patented in the U." Samuel Colt. established his gunsmihing shop in Ogden Utah. John Moses Browning. The tube had a hole in the side where the powder was ignited. American firearm designer and manufacturer best known for the Colt revolver. Ethan Allen. The Royal Enfield Manufactury of Great Britain began production of Enfield rifles and carbines. Rollin White patented a revolver with chambers bored end-to-end through the cylinder. father of John Moses Browning. Illinois. the first revolver with the cylinder revolved and locked by cocking the hammer. the beginning of the Remington Arms Company. he was famous for pepperbox pistols.Date 1800 The 19th Century. Bennett patent their breechloading rifle. Sir Henry Bessimer invented Bessimer steel. Jonathan Browning. The LeMat. Daniel Baird Wesson and Horace Smith manufacture the Volcanic Action Repeating Pistol.

S. Inc. Inc. a breech loading.S." J. C.5 mm black powder Revolver. The Colt House Pistol was the first revolver designed for cartridges. The Colt Single Action Army revolver. Swedish cavalry adopted Mauser 1894 small ring carbine in 6. Anson forend. First NRA shooting match held at Creedmoor. Harrington & Richardson. . (. First shots fired at the NRA's first shooting range at Creedmoor. Fabrique Nationale d'Armes de Guerre established in 1889 in Herstal.Date 1860 1860-1926 1861 1861 1865 1866 1868 1868 1869 1869 1869 1870 1871 1871 1872 1873-1940 4-25-1873 6-21-1873 1874 1874 3-27-1876 1877 10-7-1879 1880 1886 1-4-1886 1887 1887 1889 1890 1890 1891 9-1-1891 9-5-1892 1893 1894 1894 1894 1895 Event Oliver F. established by Gilbert Harrington and William Richardson. used to fasten double barrel shotgun barrels. The French Army adopted the Chassepot rifle."Celluloid. Presser v. It has since been reintroduced to the Colt line. Air hardened steel developed by Robert F. Hiram Berdan became Colonel of the 1st United States Sharpshooters. Marcellus Hartley and Col. The Model 1887 lever action. Arthur W. The Italian Army adopted the Mannlicher-Carcano. Winchester started the New Haven Arms Company. an American inventor. reaffirming the Cruikshank decision that the Second Amendment acts as a limitation upon only the federal government. John Browning designed the Model 1894 lever action rifle for Winchester. patented an automatic pistol. The French military adopted the Berthier bolt action rifle.H. Harrington & Richardson. . military issues the U. Illinois decided. Clay pigeon targets patented in the U. Ballard patented the breechloading Ballard rifle. Allen. Belgium Hugo Borchardt. At one time it was the biggest arms manufacturer in the world. first sporting cartridge designed expressly for smokeless powder. Annie Oakley Butler. Marlin founded Marlin Firearms Company in New Haven Connecticut. John Wesley Hyatt patented a nitrocellulose plastic. U. First NRA shooting match held at Sea Girt Range." The Colt Lightning was the first practical double action revolver. which later became the Winchester Repeating Arms Company. The Iver Johnson Arms and Cycle Works was founded in Worcester. Cruikshank decided. established by Gilbert Harrington and William Richardson. the first Italian smokeless powder rifle. Henry Berdan developed the first centerfire cartridge.30 W. ruling that the Second Amendment "has no other effect than to restrict the powers of the national government. Charles Parker manufactured the first Parker shotguns. and Europe with the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show. developed a successful self-loading pistol with a toggle bolt.5x55mm. also known as the "Peacemaker" was in initial production. A famous rifle shot who appeared in the U.S. Col.M.30-30 Winchester. Theodore Bergmann. a German inventor. John Browning patented his first firearm.S. by George Likowsky. United States v.C. a single-shot falling-block rifle.S. developed by William Anson. the forerunner of the Luger. bolt action needle gun. Last NRA shooting match held at Creedmoor. the first truly successful repeating shotgun. Stevens Arms and Tool Company. 11-17-1871 The National Rifle Association was chartered in New York. designed by John Browning for Winchester Arms. Joshua Stevens incorporated the J. Mushet. More have been produced than any centerfire sporting rifle in history. New York. Swedish defence adopted Nagants 7. Savage incorporated the Savage Arms Company.F. Massachusetts. New Jersey. Rifle Model 1865 using the cam lock designed by E. Henry Berdan and Marcellus Hartley developed the first centerfire cartridge.

adopted by the U. Elizabeth Topperwein becomes the first woman to enter an official NRA shooting match. Col. The Interstate Association formed to regulate trap shooting. Ohio. or American Enfield. Production rights for the Cutts compensator were bought by the Lyman Gun Sight Company from the inventor. Aldo Leopold became the first professor of game management. The Browning Automatic Rifle. National Firearms Act regulated machineguns. designed by John Browning. (Ma Deuce). U. designed by John Browning.S.S.S. The Model 1911 in .50 Caliber Machine Gun. J. The comparison microscope was first used in firearms identification. the first truly successful pump shotgun. The . Seth Gordon wrote the Code of Outdoor Ethics for the Isaac Walton League. Migratory Bird Hunting Stamp Act passed. The Browning Automatic 5. Last NRA national matches held at Sea Girt. Migratory Bird Conservation Act passed. The Beretta 9mm became the official handgun of the Italian military. which is less erosive on barrels.32 caliber Austrian Scharzlose was introduced. Mrs. designed by John Browning for Winchester Arms. It remains in service. military adopts . The U. was the first successful semi-automatic shotgun. the longest serving firearm iin history. The Colt . Browning pistol Model 1903 adopted by Swedish defence in 9mm long. entered U. It is the only commercially produced blow forward action. Garand developed the M-1 semiautomatic rifle. First NRA Junior matches held at Sea Girt Range. designed by John Browning. The Browning . Theodore Roosevelt made the biological survey a bureau. First known release of exotics. Cutts. nilgai antelope.30-06 cartridge for use in M1903 Springfield rifle. military service. Swedish defence adopted Mauser 1894 small ring rifle in 6. John C. New Hampshire Concealed Carry law passes. . The 20th Century. military.S. was one of the first successful gas operated machine guns. The first organized trapshooting tournaments were held. designed by John Browning. The Colt-Browning M1895. military.303 Lee-Enfield rifle. Model 1903. and received a National Marksmans Reserve medal. First NRA national matches held at Camp Perry.S. The Springfield Rifle. adopted by the U. and short-barreled rifles and shotguns.Date 1895 1895 1895 1895 1896 1897 1898 1900 1900 6-12-1900 1902 1903 1904 1906 8-27-1906 9-5-1906 9-5-1906 1907 8-19-1907 1908 1908 1911 1917 1918 1919 1921 1921 1923 Apr. (Potato digger) machine gun by John Browning. in Texas. Rifle. Event Enfield rifling adopted for the British . The 1902 Colt Military Automatic Pistol was used by the U. Congress passed law prohibiting shipping wild game across state lines. Lathis pistol was adopted by the Finish army and mfg at Valmeth. produced as a modification of the British rifle to allow use of American ammunition. Western Cartridge Company manufactured ball powder. Model 1917. Richard M. 1925 1928 1929 1929 1929 1930 1933 1933 1934 1934 6-26-1934 1935 1936 North Dakota required hunters to buy licenses. Became the American Trapshooting Association.S. Navy while waiting for the Model 1911.5x55. The Enfield revolver adopted as the official pistol of the British Army. military.S. The Model 1897. silencers. The first trap throwing of clay pigeons took place in New York.45 ACP.45 automatic was modified and became the Model 1911 A1. adopted by the U. American Ordinance Association founded.

Rhode Island hunter education program became mandatory. and limiting importation of "non-sporting" guns. Holless Wilbur Allen. American Single Shot Rifle Association founded. Fish and Wildlife Service formed. New York starts first mandatory hunter safety program.5x55. . Connecticut hunter education program became mandatory. Washington Concealed Carry law passes. Navy Arms Company founded to manufacture replica arms. limiting interstate firearm sales. California hunter education program became mandatory. Dingell-Johnson Act passed to produce funds for fisheries management. Miller decided upholding the National Firearms Act. Swedish army adopted Ljungman automatic rifle in 6.S. Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act prohibited interstate trade in handguns and increased the minimum age to 21 for buying handguns. ruling that the Fifth Amendment exempts felons and other prohibited possessors from any U. United States v. Army. 1956 1957 1957 1958 1958 1959 1961 1962 1963 1966 6-23-1966 8-1-1996 1-29-1968 6-19-1968 U. Pittman-Robertson Federal Aid Restoration Act passed to provide funds for wildlife management by taxing firearms and ammunition. Jr.38 adopted by Swedish army. The Army Marksmanship Unit was formed. denying ownership by felons and others. United States decided. Walter P. Connecticut Handgun Review Board created to control arbitrary concealed carry denials. Lathis pistol was adopted by the Swedish defence and manufacturing started in Husqvarna factories. New Hampshire hunter education program became mandatory. 1969 1969 1969 1970 National Environmental Protection Act passed. Hunter Education started in a Kentucky statewide youth program. Arizona hunter education program became mandatory. 10-22-1968 Gun Control Act of 1968 signed into law. 10-22-1968 Gun Control Act of 1968 signed into law. The first M-16 Rifles were delivered to the U. Russian military adopts the AK-47. Alabama Concealed Carry law passes. NRA began providing a temporary supply of hunter safety instructors. designed by John C. Event US Military adopts self-loading M-1 Rifle. requiring serial numbers. The first to use stainless steel in replicas. denying ownership by felons and others. Swedish army adopted Mauser 1898 in 8x63mm. South Dakota hunter education program became mandatory. Oregon hunter education program became mandatory. ruling that a short-barrelled shotgun is not a militia weapon. gun registration scheme. Washington hunter education program became mandatory. wounds 31 Haynes v. requiring serial numbers.S. and limiting importation of "non-sporting" guns. Garand at Springfield Armory. Endangered Species Act passed. Pennsylvania hunter education program became mandatory. The first replica black powder firearms were manufactured by Turner Kirkland of Dixie Gun Works. Montana hunter education program became mandatory.S. Russian Military adopts Sergei Gavrilovich Simonov's SKS rifle as the SKS-45. limiting interstate firearm sales.Date 1936 1936 1-9-1936 1937 1939 5-15-1939 1940 1940 1942 1945 1946 1946 1947 1948 1949 1950 1954 1955 1955 1956 1956 Mar. applies for patent on the compound bow University of Texas student kills 16. 10% tax on handguns was added to Pittman-Robertson funding.

Michigan hunter education program became mandatory. Wyoming hunter education program became mandatory. Mississippi hunter education program became mandatory. Wisconsin hunter education program became mandatory. South Dakota Concealed Carry law passes. Louisiana hunter education program became mandatory. Remington introduced the Accelerator cartridge. North Dakota hunter education program became mandatory. Arkansas hunter education program became mandatory. Delaware hunter education program became mandatory. The first Olympic 10K biathlon and 30K relay biathlon. Environmental Protection Agency founded. Jackson City Police and Mississippi Highway Patrol officers opened fire on a group of somewhat violent student protesters. North Dakota Concealed Carry law passes. Oklahoma hunter education program became mandatory. American Shooting Coaches Association formed. Florida Concealed Carry law becomes effective. Tennessee hunter education program became mandatory. killing two students and injuring twelve. 11% tax on archery equipment added to Pittman-Robertson funding. Four students were killed and nine wounded by National Guard troops called in to quell anti-war protests At Jackson State College. Texas hunter education program became mandatory. providing for "safe passage" through gun control jurisdictions and prohibiting national gun registration.Date 1970 1970 1970 5-4-1970 5-14-1970 1971 1971 1972 1972 1972 1973 1973 1975 1976 1976 1976 1976 1977 1978 1979 1979 1979 1980 1980 1983 1984 1984 Fall 1984 1985 1985 1985 1985 1985 1985 1986 1986 5-19-1986 1987 1988 1988 1988 1988 1989 1989 Event Colorado hunter education program became mandatory. Georgia hunter education program became mandatory. Indiana Concealed Carry law passes. Maine concealed Carry law passes. Firearm Owners Protection Act passed. Illinois hunter education program became mandatory. Maryland hunter education program became mandatory. Georgia passes concealed carry law that becomes the model for Florida. Kansas hunter education program became mandatory. Oregon Concealed Carry law passes. became the International Shooting Coaches Association. Ohio hunter education program became mandatory. Nebraska hunter education program became mandatory. Maine hunter education program became mandatory. Connecticut Valley Arms manufactures a replica black powder firearm. Iowa hunter education program became mandatory. Vermont hunter education program became mandatory. using a sabot to shoot a small caliber high-velocity bullet. Nevada hunter education program became mandatory. Virginia hunter education program became mandatory. New Jersey hunter education program became mandatory. . New Mexico hunter education program became mandatory. Pennsylvania Concealed Carry law passes (except for Philadelphia). Idaho hunter education program became mandatory. Missouri hunter education program became mandatory.

4-20-1999 2000 1-1-2000 7-1-2001 5-17-2002 2003 6-11-2003 Two Columbine High School students kill 12 students and one teacher. and limiting magazines to 10 rounds. Virginia Concealed Carry law passes. United States was decided. Domestic Violence Offender Gun Ban (Lautenberg Amendment) went into effect. Arkansas Concealed Carry law passes. Minnesota concealed carry law passed. 1994 1994 1994 1994 2-28-1994 9-13-1994 1995 1995 1995 1995 1995 1995 1995 4-26-1995 9-1-1995 1-1-1996 1996 1996 1996 1996 9-30-1997 6-27-1997 Alaska Concealed Carry law passes. North Carolina hunter education program became mandatory. West Virginia Concealed Carry law passes again. 1991 1991 1991 1991 Florida hunter education program became mandatory. prohibiting firearms possession by persons convicted of domestic violence misdemeanors or under protective orders. South Carolina Concealed Carry law passes. The . Alaska no-license carry passed. Arizona Concealed Carry law passes.40 S&W cartridge introduced. Louisiana Concealed Carry law passes. Philidelphia brought under Pennsylvania Concealed Carry law. Later found unconstitutional. Utah Concealed Carry law passes. having been struck down by the state Supreme Court. creating a definition of "assault weapon. national background check system for firearms. Event Hawaii hunter education program became mandatory. creating a U. . 11-29-1990 The Gun-Free School Zones Act enacted. 11-30-1998 The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act 5-day waiting period on handguns expired as the National Instant Check System came online. Kentucky hunter education program became mandatory. North Carolina Concealed Carry law passes. holding that the Gun-Free School Zones Act was unconstitutional. California handgun testing law went into effect Michigan concealed carry law becomes effective. ruling that the Brady Law requirement for local law enforcement to run background checks for gun purchases was unconstitutional. The Federal Assault Weapons Ban passed. Colorado concealed carry law becomes effective. Montana Concealed Carry law passes. Nevada Concealed Carry law passes. Tennessee Concealed Carry law passes.S. Idaho Concealed Carry law passes. Lopez decided." banning new sales for 10 years. Texas begins CHL training. and instituting a 5-day waiting period on handguns. Texas Concealed Carry law becomes effective. Mississippi Concealed Carry law passes. wound 23 The 21st Century. Wyoming Concealed Carry law passes.S. United States v. Oklahoma Concealed Carry law passes. The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act went into effect. 11-30-1993 President Bill Clinton signed the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act creating a U. using the Commerce Clause to ban guns in and around schools.Date 1989 1990 1990 1990 1990 West Virginia Concealed Carry law passes. Kentucky Concealed Carry law passes. Printz v. national background check system for firearms.

Nebraska concealed carry law passed. Chicago Arizona no-license carry in effect Wyoming no-license carry in effect Wisconsin shall-issue concealed carry law in effect 12-16-2009 Congress passed law requiring Amtrak to allow firearms to be checked in baggage. National Parks and National Wildlife Refuges. kills 5 girls and wounds five Kansas concealed carry law becomes effective. 2007 3-18-2008 6-27-2008 5-22-2009 Ohio concealed carry law passed.C. Iowa concealed carry law passed. Congress passed law allowing firearms in U. National Parks and National Wildlife Refuges. . © 2011.S. D.Date 10-11-2003 Missouri concealed carry law becomes effective. as permitted by state laws. Chicago Supreme Court incorporates Second Amendment against the states in McDonald v. Active killer invades West Nickel Mines School. as permitted by state laws. D. 2004 9-13-2004 2006 4-5-2006 10-2-2006 1-1-2007 4-16-2007 May. Page updated 11/11/2011 . Larry Arnold.C. Oral arguments before the Supreme Court in McDonald v. Virginia Tech student kills 32 Chris Brown starts Students for Concealed Carry on Campus Oral arguments before the Supreme Court in Heller v. 2-22-2010 3-2-2010 6-28-2010 7-29-2010 7-1-2011 11-1-2011 12-15-2010 Wicker Amendment allows Amtrak passengers to check their firearms Talon Enterprises. Event 11-26-2003 New Mexico concealed carry law becomes effective. Supreme Court defines Second Amendment as an individual right in Heller v. The Federal Assault Weapons Ban expired.S. Firearms allowed in U.