My father did not permit me to have a toy gun of any kind. Nothing, nada. He was absolutely the quintessential anti gun liberal. Remember, this was the 1950’s. This was the man who wrote speeches for Henry Wallace in 1948 (deposed as a presidential candidate because he was too progressive for the democratic power brokers).

Of course, as a child I found ways to have cap pistols. Everybody had cowboy outfits and matching guns and holsters, except me. Even when I didn’t have a gun, caps were great. They smelled really cool and they made sparks and a terrific sound. There were small ones and larger ones with commensurate sounds and smells.

My dad was consistent. He also forbade corporal punishment in his house. I was only struck once, by my mother. Dad was away on business. I called him right up in California and you could hear him shouting on the phone from across the apartment.

It was, however, not until the early 70’s that I owned a real weapon. It was a .22 caliber rifle for which I had the easily obtained NYC permit. I followed all the rules. When transporting the weapon, it was not loaded and the ammunition was carried in a locked box.

While target practice was fun, and I was pretty good, I was most amused at my ability to clear a subway car just by walking on with my rifle case. I don’t know if I felt powerful, but I was young.

All of my shooting within the City’s confines was at an indoor range downtown (22nd street?). Memories of the sounds and the smells return as I write. Although there were plenty of handguns at the range, I didn’t handle one then and I have in fact never held one.

I was not discreet about my rifle ownership. If you visited my apartment at 215, you would find the .22 standing in a corner. I probably kept it loaded because I thought I was cool. But I never shot anything but a target at the range or a target hanging on a tree.

I sold it to a young friend back then but I admit to periodically having the desire to purchase a firearm again particularly when there is a rash of antisemetic or other rascist attacks and my fear level rises. I will download the permit application and start to fill it out and then come to my senses. Though the purpose of my ownership would be purely defensive it seems to me that the potential for bad outcomes is greater than the potential for good ones.

As the national debate rages my support goes to Moms Demand Action and those who would stand up and be counted for control of what weapons are available and to whom.

One thought on “.22

  1. I was on the Stuyvesant rifle team, hanging in my closet is my Stuyvesant jacket with big S sewn on the front a rifle embroidered on the letter.
    We had team practice at the armory on 22nd Street the night of the black out November 9, 1965.
    My fellow team member (possibly Steve Beck) and I lived in Jackson Heights and were faced with hitchhiking to queens carrying our rifles in case over our shoulders.


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