In recent history, several companies have tried to sell pistol-mounted cameras to law enforcement. Their purpose being exactly the same as it was in the 1930s: Evidence and accountability. Just over a decade ago, for example, it was Legend Technologies and the PistolCam. In the last few years, it's been Centinel Solutions and the Shield Camera. Axon (formerly Taser) also has an optional camera attachment for some of its non-lethal taser weapons. Handfuls of these product were and still are used, mainly by small, specialist units, but they're nowhere near as prolific as the body cams now routinely employed by law enforcement agencies across the world.
There are several, common sense reasons as to why you would want to decouple camera and firearm. For one, by the time a gun is drawn, you've missed your chance to capture whatever led to the situation escalating to that point. Also, there are scenarios in which footage would be valuable despite an officer not needing to draw their gun at all. Body cams aren't a perfect solution, of course. Wearers are responsible for turning them on, for a start (though Axon is somewhat addressing that with an automated system), and there are cases where footage has been faked or otherwise tampered with after the fact.
There are also legitimate worries body cams could be used in the future for continuous surveillance, as if we needed any more of that in our lives already. But at least they're a better option than the 1930s cameras that took the idea of shooting on film perhaps a little too literally.
Technological innovation didn't begin with the development of the first integrated circuit in the 1950s. Backlog is a series exploring the era of possibilities: engineering feats that followed the industrial revolution, quirky concepts the future's rendered obsolete, and inventions that paved the way for some of the technology we use today.