The PJ Tatler

Ronald Reagan: Pistol-Packin' Prez

Somehow, this doesn’t come as much of a surprise. Best-selling novelist Brad Meltzer reports:

I was in Secret Service headquarters when they told me about former President Ronald Reagan’s biggest secret. I write fiction for a living, but in my thrillers, I try to get the details right. So what better way to understand how a President lives for my newest thriller than by spending time with the Secret Service agents who spend so much time with him?

So there I was, on my tour of Secret Service headquarters. The agents had taken me into a small museum they have on the premises. It’s a room lined with photos of Presidents and archival exhibit cases filled with Secret Service artifacts. A newspaper with a “Kennedy Dead” headline. A replica of Lee Harvey Oswald’s rifle. The pistol used to try to kill President Gerald Ford. They even have the actual car door from the limo when Reagan was shot.

It was an eerie keepsake for sure. But not nearly as eerie as the next detail they told me. We were talking about Reagan and that day he was shot. Then one of the agents offered this secret: When Reagan was President, he carried his own gun. I couldn’t believe it. “It’s true,” they said. A .38. Reagan used to hide it in his briefcase and take it on Air Force One.

How awesome is that? I was fortunate enough to meet president Reagan in the White House, and I must say I never saw him print.

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