The setting for this book is (mostly) Civil War era California:
"As far as I can tell, the Yankee’s idea of freedom is his right to carry a pistol with which he may shoot strangers in the street."
On a previous page, the same character had remarked:
"Surely there’s been enough blood shed in this poor country. Wouldn’t you like to live in a city where you could walk down the streets without fear of being shot? I can assure you, in her native land your mother had no need to wear a pistol. Order and safety and the rule of law, that’s the blessing of a modern empire."
By the way, this book was first published back in 2000.