Eleanor Roosevelt had a permit to carry a handgun in New York state (though not in New York City, it should be noted). If you find yourself in a jurisdiction that forbids law-abiding citizens from packing heat, you might ask why she could carry but you cannot.
The good news is that guns laws have been racdically liberalized over the past three decades or so. As Grover Norquist noted a few months ago at OZY:
Thirty years ago, 80 percent of Americans supported stricter gun control laws. Certain guns were banned. Organizations formed and expected they would soon "ban handguns" in private hands. In 1987 Florida passed a "shall issue" concealed carry law that required local government to give any honest and sane adult a permit to carry a gun concealed on his/her person or in a purse or car. Today, 41 states have enacted such laws. In 2007 there were 4.5 million such permits. Today there are more than 11.1 million. Arizona, Vermont, Wyoming and Alaska do not even require permits to carry for their citizens. Five percent of the adult population has a concealed carry permit. One in 20. This drive has been fueled and validated by the fact that violent crime falls faster in states with concealed carry laws and even faster as more citizens avail themselves of that "new" right.
The crime rate per 100,00 people has declined as carry permits have increased. In 1987, for instance, the total crime rate was 5,550 and the violent crime rate was 610. In 2013, those numbers stood at 3,099 and 368.
In arming herself, Eleanor Roosevelt was ahead of the curve.
Image via the Twitter feed of historian Michael Beschloss.