When I was a kid in the Sixties the idea that normal people had guns was something I could never imagine.
Guns were the strange weapons that secret agents whipped out or cowboys spun round and blew. They were on the telly. Britain was a gunless place really.
OK we had toy guns. In fact our house was full of them. Water pistols. Cap guns. Cowboy guns. Plastic rifles. Sekidens and those pellets. Secret Sam and my beloved Johnny Seven. My brothers and I waged war on each other with all these toys!
But again they were all fictional. Toys. They weren't real.
So to were the guns in British rock music as I became a teen. Bowie sang about ray guns and Free about love guns but I never imagined that these artists had guns at home.
That changed when I discovered Lynyrd Skynyrd in the early Seventies. Suddenly entire songs were about real guns and bullets. Saturday Night Special. Gimme Back My Bullets. Gimme Three Steps. All bristling with pistols. These guys sounded like they had guns at home!
At the time my rocker tendencies tuned into Skynyrd's riffs and solo's and their messages of being free as a bird and a simple man and its only later that the whole gun thing dawned on me. These guys were rockers with guns and even more confusing for a teen flower person they appeared to be violent hippies!
I saw Skynyrd live at Lancaster Uni sometime in the early 70's. Ronnie Van Zant bare footed and all. The spat between them and Neil Young amused me and like Skynyrd's guns, any more sinister meaning went over my head.
A couple of years later half of Skynyrd were dead. Victims of a plane crash. I cried as did my best mate Pete.
50 years later I miss everything about my childhood and youth. I still listen to Skynyrd and even now feel odd about their guns.
Gimme a Sekiden with a box of silver pellets and I could rock and roll.