The Making of a Gun Nut

Smith & Wesson M&P CO2 Pistol

When I was a kid I had a Daisy Pop Gun, which is like a neutered BB Gun. It didn’t shoot anything except little bursts of air that you could feel if you put your hand right in front of the barrel.

Daisy Pop Gun
Daisy Pop Gun

I really wanted a BB Gun, like some of my friends had. But I never got one.

I remember that I could jam the barrel into semi-hard mud, creating a little plug at the end. And when I pulled the trigger, the plug would pop out, and fall on the ground in front of me. A sad, impotent, projectile consolation.

Earlier this year, I tried shooting someone’s real Daisy BB Gun. I was pathetic. I couldn’t hit a plastic soda bottle 15 feet in front of me. Or 10 feet in front of me.

It was not only lack of skill resulting from a childhood deprived of a real BB gun. I’m right handed, but my left eye is dominant. To really hit targets, I’m going to have to aim with my left eye.

What I’d need, I decided, is a pistol. And without realizing it, I’d decided I was going to get me one.

Months passed. Then a couple of weeks ago, I searched online for BB pistols. I read a couple of reviews, and decided what I would get (if I were to get one) would be a Smith & Wesson M&P CO2 Pistol.

Smith & Wesson M&P CO2 Pistol
Smith & Wesson M&P CO2 Pistol

It had that right combination of good reviews and a cheap price — about $36. I figured I’d probably get all of my plinking out of my system in one plink-filled weekend. Then I’ll get bored of it.

But something happened.

I started to have fantasies about protecting my family. I’d imagine scenarios where I hear a noise in the house, and I’d reach for my Smith & Wesson in my nightstand. With my weapon drawn, I’d confront the intruder (who of course is wearing the intruder uniform: black pants, a black long-sleeve shirt, and a black ski cap). I know it’s a bluff — that it’s just a BB gun — but does he?

I’d say in a cool voice, “You need to leave.” And maybe I’d follow with, “Don’t make me use this” — because it would really sting; might even raise a welt.

I still want my weekend of plinking. But watching these heroic movies play in my mind, I realized: This is how gun nuts are made.

1 comment

  1. Anonymous Reply
    October 29, 2012 at 6:38 pm

    It's hard to picture you as a gun nut Ted. Personally, I don't think owning a gun or using a gun makes someone a nut. The Nugent/NRA-style gun nut is a different thing altogether. These people harbor an odd combination of anger and paranoia. The kid shooting a BB gun at a can doesn't have much to do with that psychosis.

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