....back right after this message from the National Rifle Association. (MUSIC)

TR: Being a performer, you feel---- vulnerable---- literally, a deer in the headlights ---- but all that changed for me when I started packing this Swiss-made .45-caliber automatic pistol on stage. Weighs three pounds, holds ten rounds ---- I like the jacketed hollow points --- and the configuration of the handle gives me good coverage of balcony or mezzanine. Thanks to my .45, stage fright is a thing of the past.


SS: As a Unitarian minister, I used to be nervous about standing up every Sunday morning at a pulpit that offered me very little protection from incoming ---- and then I found this .30 caliber Magnum repeater on a swivel mount on the pulpit ---- (I keep it covered with a lightweight green linen altar cloth.) The Red-Dot gun sight lets me find targets with amazing quickness, and the 26-inch barrel gives me pinpoint accuracy anywhere in the sanctuary, even in the choir loft.


TR (MR. ROGERS): Hello. Mr. Rogers here. "Fast Fred" they call me now. You know, most people who live here in the neighborhood I like just the way they are, but some of them I'm not so sure about. No, I'm not. So, when I slip out of my jacket and into my sweater, I also slip into a calfskin underarm holster that holds my Smith & Wesson 9 millimeter 11-shot semi-automatic pistol. It weighs only twenty-four ounces. Yes, it does. And that means that Mr. Rogers can be down flat on the floor and firing off rounds when you kids are still trying to get your guns off safety.


GK: People you'd never guess were gun owners are. Charlton Heston, president of the National Rifle Association.

TR (HESTON): The assault on our rights by big government continues with recent attempts to take weapons out of the hands of clergy and hosts of children's TV shows. What's next? Will we deny kindergarten teachers, marriage counselors, symphony musicians their Second Amendment rights? Will we attempt to legislate against legal firearms in the operating room? the library? the confessional?

GK: A message from the National Rifle Association, protecting your right to own not only rifles (SFX), but pistols (SFX), bazookas (SFX), mortars (SFX), rocket launchers (SFX), hand grenades (SFX), Patriot missiles (SFX), Stealth bombers (SILENCE), catapults (SFX), and cauldrons of boiling oil (POURING, SCREAM).

(c) 1998 by Garrison Keillor