A long time ago, in the time of being a little kid, one of my older brothers had a gun.
It was a .22 and we thought it was pretty cool.
But it was made clear by Dad that this was a case of "look but don't touch" and accordingly the rifle (which was all registered and legit') and the couple of boxes of ammunition were safely secured away.
Having served during World War II I don't think Dad had too many qualms about his eldest lad owning a firearm.
One of my other brothers, who was but a youngster, reckoned a pistol would have cooler but you couldn't get pistols and they would have been useless in the pursuit of possums anyway.
So he built one.
He was an inventive lad and figured he had the foundations of a small pistol in the form of a little metal toy one.
It didn't actually fire anything or set little noisy caps off, but it had a barrel and the little hammer thing you pulled back.
It was tiny and chromed with a red handle...so it was very much a toy gun.
Until bro' began toying with it.
It was all sparked by one moment of neglect by the eldest of us with the .22.
He has left a couple of bullets out and they were on the small cabinet by his bed.
And voila...the .22 bullet fitted in the toy gun's barrel perfectly.
All he needed was a point on the hammer thing to ignite the explosive propellant within the shell.
So he set to work and we don't exactly know how, but he managed to create one.
I think there was the severed tip of a nail and glue involved.
So there it was.
A small toy gun with a .22 bullet lodged in the barrel.
What he then embarked on building was a "firing range" and that consisted of a large box packed with crumpled paper and cloth to act as a baffle...as he intended to test it in his room.
While his creative skills were well polished his naivete as to the potential results was overwhelming.
He grasped the handle, pushed it into the box, and pulled the trigger.
The noise was startling.
More a thud than a sharp crack but loud enough for Mum and Dad to hear...but we were generally noisy kids anyway so they brushed it off.
As did our brother...who brushed powder off his hand...which he was still lucky to have as the barrel had burst, spitting the thin steel into about five strips.
It went through all the packing and left a dent in the plastered wall.
I don't think he ever tried to fire a gun again.
Mind you, he would have been very much at home in the wild west state of Oklahoma which has instituted a very liberal (that's an understatement) set of guidelines for gun ownership.
Basically, there really aren't any.
The state legislation means any adult can own a firearm, without the requirement of a licence.
Furthermore, they are entitled to carry a firearm on them and again without any legal paperwork.
I don't think even Texas, the home of the big screen's wild west tales, is that lenient.
So yep, in Oklahoma you can go shopping with a pistol in your pocket or a rifle in the car and no one will blink an eye because it's highly likely they're doing the same.
While other states are more restrictive, it seems the governing crew in Oklahoma have taken aboard the Second Amendment with no strings attached.
Ratified in 1791, it states "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed".
Lot of firearms in America, always have been.
And there'll be a lot more now, and I bet old Trumpy will be bristling with excitement if the opportunity to make a journey to Oklahoma comes up.
Board and lodgings sir?
Smith and Wesson sir?
I daresay that given his childhood penchant for creating a pistol from a ten bob toy my elder brother could have risen to great heights in the political arena.
He'd be the state governor of Oklahoma by now.