Why Did Cops Stop Covering Up Their Guns?

The first photo is of the El Paso police from 1917 in front of their paddy wagon and the second is a modern SWAT Team.

As the first photo shows, it was once standard practice for police officers to wear long jackets to cover up their guns, apparently lest they offend civilians. The cop of the beat in just about any Hollywood movie in the 1930s dressed similarly. Apparently, this was a vestige of an anti-militarist tradition. Now, of course, the police seem to proudly brandish their guns in public at every opportunity.

Does anyone know any of research on when and why the shift from the old tradition of covering up guns? Who pushed the change and who, if anyone, opposed it?

David T. Beito is a Research Fellow at the Independent Institute, retired professor of history at the University of Alabama, and author of The New Deal’s War on the Bill of Rights: The Untold Story of FDR’s Concentration Camps, Censorship, and Mass Surveillance.
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