All in the Family, one of the most lauded comedy shows of all time. As with most All in the Family episodes, Archie Bunker (Carroll O’Connor) was the protagonist of the hit 1970s sitcom. As the series name implies, Archie was a family man—hardworking, gruff, charming, and bigoted in a way that wouldn’t fly on television today. However, underneath the laughs are serious topics Americans could relate to.
Gun control was one of the topics covered on the program and is still a contentious issue today. Archie gave a voice to many Americans who were frustrated with the times as a blue-collar American who grew up during the Great Depression.
In the first episode of season three, the patriarch of the All In The Family knew what he had to do when he saw a television editorial on gun regulation in the 1972 episode “Archie and the Editorial.” The hard-working American character got into a debate with his son-in-law, whom Archie frequently referred to as “Meathead.”
He told his left-leaning son-in-law, Mike, “It’s my God-given right to have a gun in the house,” in his trademark loudmouth, working-class New York accent. And after watching a TV editorial that calls for gun control limits, Archie agrees to participate in a live televised reply.
Carroll O’Connor as “Archie Bunker” argues with Rob Reiner as “Meathead”
The episode about gun control emphasized the distinction between Meathead and Archie. While Archie believes that if everyone had a gun, crime would decrease, Meathead does not support the Second Amendment. It was started when gun control came up while Archie and Meathead were watching the news and Archie wasn’t having any of it–making him lose his cool, the two then got into it.
Michael is commonly known as “Meathead,” was an educated liberal who lived with Archie and Edith because he couldn’t support himself on his own. Meanwhile Archie had very traditional values.
And few days later, Archie’s news debut came. He delivered a televised editorial response for the ages as Normal Lear’s patriarchal masterpiece, as with most All in the Family episodes. Speaking on behalf of the organization Guns For Everyone and appearing in a more professional manner, Archie slicked his hair down.
He was certain that he understood how to prevent guns individuals from boarding airplanes, a challenge that, by today’s standards, seems practically straightforward. Suggesting that that if every passenger on a plane had a pistol, hijackings might be prevented. It would be difficult for a terrorist to take over the plane if everyone was armed.
“All you gotta do is arm all your passengers,” Archie said. “And then your airlines, then they wouldn’t have to search the passengers on the ground no more, they just pass out the pistols at the beginning of the trip, and they pick ‘em up again at the end. Case closed.”
Carroll O’Connor as Archie Bunker with Jean Stapleton as Edith Bunker
Passengers on planes should “all pack heat,” Archie suggested in 1972, but only was met with laughter. However, it wasn’t until 29 years later, during 9/11, that this notion actually materialized in some manner. Business Insider claims that on 9/11, there were just 33 full-time air marshals in the United States, but that number increased to nearly 600 right away. With a focus on domestic flights, there were thousands of air marshals by 2005.
Archie added in his editorial, is gun regulation. Meathead rolled his eyes at this comment, but Archie was right about what the Soviet Union did after seizing power
“What action did the Communists take as soon as they seized power in Russia? The solution.”
The Council of People’s Commissar ordered Soviet residents to surrender their firearms on December 10, 1918. Failure to do so resulted in prompt legal action.
While the scene is comedic gold, what’s happening in America today as relevant as it was back then. The overall message is something all Americans can relate to. Perhaps the authors of the Second Amendment, the founding fathers, foresaw what oppressive governments would undertake to seize power.
Watch the video below for more details:
Sources: Taphaps, Hollywoodreporter, Mediapost, Businessinsider