March 31 was another beautiful morning in the Arizona desert, 8:30 a.m. and already about 65 degrees with only an occasional wisp of cloud in the sky. It was a morning indistinguishable from most others. This was all about to change.
The group at the firing pit consisted of doctors, lawyers, blue-collar workers, white-collar workers, no-collar workers. There were retired teachers, mothers, fathers, daughters, sons and grandkids and even one woman who proudly wore her pink ball cap that read: "Shoot like a girl… if you can."
Reflections off flying brass at what has become a Tucson tradition have reportedly been seen from the Space Shuttle. NASA did not return our calls seeking confirmation by press time.
They were all there for one thing—to shoot machine guns. There was a machine gun for every appetite. Yepper, full-auto bliss. Everything from full-auto pistols the size of a 1911 to belt-fed .50-caliber machine guns on tripods, the venerable 'Ma' deuce.
The 75 to 100 folks were all waiting to take their turn to rock and roll. Most had shot fully automatic firearms before; some hadn't. If you saw something that caught your fancy, you only had to ask and someone would be happy to educate you on the finer points of safe handling and operation. Then you got to try it out.
All that's missing was a suitable target and someone to be the conductor to lead the symphony of full-auto firepower.
The conductor was Walter Puczkowsky—a Marine's Marine. As purveyor of C&T Enterprises, a Tucson gun shop that specializes in NFA firearms, he had all the goodies to put smiles on even the most discerning shooting enthusiast.
Suddenly, from out of a cloud of dust and on top of a flatbed tow truck came the sacrificial target, in the form of an old, tan Cadillac. The Caddy was hauled to its designated destination, before the firing squad.
Once the range was cleared and the, "We're going hot in two minutes!" order was given, people settled in behind their favorite full-auto de jour and Walt began educating those who had not fired full-autos before.
One such member of the class was my friend, Caroline. Walt kept a close eye—making sure she handled the weapon safely. After she had emptied the magazine there was glow about her that made me wonder if she was looking for a cigarette to smoke, even though she doesn't smoke.
Walt allowed all those who wanted to shoot to do so. Some of those included some young teen boys and girls. There was a grin on their face that you couldn't pry off with a crowbar. Gee, I wonder what they were talking about when they went back to school Monday.