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In the United States, allowing citizens own guns changed the course of history in Missouri.

In 1861 the new Missouri Governor, Clairborne Jackson, had promised Missouri to Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederacy. While Jackson was plotting to split Missouri from the Union, Frank Blair, a United States Congressman, formed the local German population into the Home Guard by arming and drilling them. After a Confederate attack on FortSumpter on April 15, 1861, Jackson headed for St. Louis under the assumption that if he could take St. Louis, the rest of the state would go South.

Jackson’s plan was to capture the arsenal in St. Louis by surprise assault. General Frost, the leader of the Governors troops, would camp the Missouri soldiers outside the arsenal as part of an annual drill. When no one was expecting it, he would capture the arsenal. However, when Frost arrived he found the German Home Guard, commanded by Capt. Nathanial Lyon, occupying the hills. At this time, the St. Louis Police Department was controlled by the Governor. Frost enlisted the chief of police to have the federal troops removed as trespassers. Lyon, knowing exactly what the Governor and Frost were up to, threatened the police chief who then backed off.

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