No old town could do without a gunsmith of sorts. Either you bought a firearm at the general store or you went to the gunsmith to have one repaired or built just for you. Even though these small communities were more civilized then the general area, there was still a need to hunt for food, kill a predator or deter a coyote from stealing your calf. Firearms were used for robberies or cattle and horse rustling too. Both men and women were proficient in handling rifles for hunting and side arms for personal defense.
Living inside city limits did not require much personal preparedness. Established law enforcement was readily available and there were social and often town rules for what could be carried and where. “Civilized” people didn’t have as much need to carry firearms.
War times were a different matter. Gunsmiths were employed in many factories across the country. they were put to work creating the riffles and side arms used during combat.
Gunsmiths today belong to a certain craft that produces beautiful and useful works of art. Custom building a firearm to suit its owner.