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Batman and Guns

I found this great article outlining Batman's relationship with guns throughout the ages. As we all know today, Batman and guns do not mix. This was not always the case. Read on.
One of the more famous elements of Batman's mystique has always been his refusal to use guns. Of course, those of us familiar with the early stories know that this was not always the case, and over the years the writers, artists and editors have frequently forgotten this key aspect of the character.

First up is Detective #32. This story is basically a take-off of the movie "Dracula". Bruce Wayne's girlfriend, Julie Madison, is under the spell of a vampire. Batman trails the vampire and its female assistant to their castle and shoots them each with a silver bullet:

The first time Batman was shown with a gun on the cover of a magazine is supposedly this image from Detective #33:

At least, it's usually considered a gun; to my eye it looks more like a knife on his belt. Detective #33 was also the first comic to present the now-familiar origin of the Batman:

So the phobia against weapons is certainly understandable. But in the story, Batman uses a gun (apparently the one on his belt) to shoot at some "ray" machines:

And the ending of the story has a startling panel:

Batman did appear with guns on two World War II covers:

Clearly special cases, although the first one does show him firing a gun.

From Detective #35 comes the most extreme panel of Batman with a gun in the first 40+ years:

You can sense that's just a little bit too far, but this was the second superhero of all time, and the code of conduct that superheroes didn't kill hadn't been developed. Oddly, the splash shown above does not appear in the story and Batman does nothing else with a gun in this issue.

Batman used a gun in Detective #36, but it was to summon the police to pick up some thugs he had kayoed.

However, it is not explained where the gun came from.

The next major incident involving Batman and guns came in Batman #1. Hugo Strange had made monsters out of men by giving them a growth hormone. Batman tracks down the truck the monsters are riding in and:

Reportedly it was this sequence that resulted in an editorial edict against Batman killing. Both Batman and Robin had been fairly casual about tossing crooks off large buildings to their apparent deaths, and in a notorious sequence Batman had toppled an idol on some Chinese thugs in Detective #39. The sequence in Batman #1 was to be the last time that Batman intentionally killed someone, although it was far from the last time he used a gun.

The next time he used a gun, it was to wing a machine-gunner:

Get the editor's note: "The Batman never carries nor kills with a gun!" But he's happy to pick one up and cap a few rounds. ;)

In Batman #7, our hero was finally accepted by Commissioner Gordon, who gives an impassioned speech including mention of the gun ban:

Maybe the oddest bit with Batman and guns comes in Batman #21. A cattle rustler has kayoed Batman and fed him loco weed. When Robin and the local sheriff revive him, he steals a gun from the latter and:

For most of the next several decades, the only times Batman used a gun was for shooting something other than a person:

In Detective #65, Batman shows that whatever his opinion of firearms, he's still a crack shot:

However, in Detective #260's The Mystery of the Space Olympics, Batman is surprised when he shoots well to win a competition:

Here's an odd panel from World's Finest #39, where a mystery writer thinks he's deduced Batman's secret identity and confronts Bruce at his home. Why would a man whose aversion to guns is nearly phobic, have a brace of pistols mounted on the wall?

In Batman #55, Bruce Wayne and Commissioner Gordon are captured by mobsters, but they manage to turn the tables here:

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