March 28, 2015

March, 1932: Prescott Police Chief Demands Gun Control (and the Shocking Reason Why)


Prescott Police Chief Worth Rybon just dug a .22 caliber bullet out of a living room chair.  It had passed through a pane of glass from outside the house.  The Chief had had enough.

Mrs. Emma Franks, owner of the house, was relieved that she was not at home at the time.  Two Prescott women had already been shot in the head from such gun-"play".

It seems that when adolescents and young boys are given guns, they eventually just HAVE to shoot them at something!  Within city limits, this became a dangerous problem.



"The fact that nobody was at home when the bullet went through the window doesn't make a bit of difference," the Chief exclaimed. "Somebody might have been sitting in that chair and been killed," he said in the March 7th, 1932 edition of the Prescott Evening Courier (pg 5 col 5).




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Chief Rybon still had time to make an announcement in the evening paper:  "Beginning right now, I'm going to confiscate every rifle I come across being carried around by the young boys of Prescott," he declared, and it did not matter whether the boys had the consent of their parents or not.

After all, this wasn't the only dangerous incident that caused the Chief to make his pronouncement.  "Only a few months ago," the paper reported, "a Prescott woman was shot in the head by a boy playing with a rifle on the vacant lot next door.  Fortunately, the bullet did not cause death."




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The Courier pointed out that there had been several "instances in the last few years of promiscuous rifle shooting by youngsters within the city limits."

Among these cases was "that of (another) young woman who was shot in the head; the bullet lodging in her brain.  To this day it is a mystery who was responsible."

Police Chief Rybon was "visibly determined to act on his threat" and his measures on March 7th, 1932 undoubtedly made Prescott a safer place to live.

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ALSO BY Drew Desmond: