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Elvis always loved firearms, a fascination most kids have playing cops and robbers or
cowboys and Indians. It started very early in his life. He was in the ROTC, the Reserve
Officer Training Corps program in high school. In 1956, he was given a .410 gauge
Winchester shotgun for skeet shooting by a friend in Biloxi. While in the Army, he
earned Sharpshooter badges for the .45 caliber pistol and M1 rifle, as well as a Marksman
badge for the M2 carbine. Add to this the fact that he was from the South, where guns are
an integral part of the culture.

In the early years at Graceland, he was known to keep a Colt .45 automatic for
protection. There, he set up a shooting gallery there for target practice. He regularly
carried a gun (or guns) throughout the rest of his life, and encouraged the members of
his entourage to arm themselves. From 1964, his official appointment as a Shelby
County Deputy Sheriff made it legal for Elvis to carry arms. By the late 1960s, he was
often armed even while on stage.

His interest became an obsession in the early 1970s. During this period, he stepped up his
purchasing of guns, sometimes buying dozens at a time. He kept some and gave others
to friends and even strangers. This mania may be traced to the assassinations of Robert F.
Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968; the Manson murders which happened not far
from his home in Los Angeles in 1969; and the death threats he received in Las Vegas in
1970. The latter really got to him. Joe Carr from the FECC fan site noted: “It’s no
coincidence that he stopped riding horses around this time on the Graceland lawn and never
again did he walk through the audience in Vegas, while his obsession with firearms grew
even bigger. Nor did he meet fans at the gate of his homes as he did in the late 1960s.”
Many people, wealthy and otherwise, have gun collections, particularly ex-military. It is by
no means “weird”. Elvis was rich enough to satisfy his every whim. He also felt he
needed protection.

This book only deals with a fraction of the 300 or so of the firearms and weapons which
he collected or bought as presents, quite a few of which have sold at auction since he
passed away.

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Weight 0.500 kg