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Loosely Literal: The Chekhov Gun Act

Posted on Fri, Jun 24 2016 9:00 am by Sally Franson



2nd Session
H. R. 5176
June 24, 2016 

To promote the use of firearms in contemporary American literature, to enhance and augment the presence of firearms in canonical American literature, and whatever else the National Rifle Association (“NRA”) wants to do when they need a break from shooting Firearms (“Freedom Sticks”), 

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled!

Title I - Promoting the usage of Freedom Sticks in contemporary American literature

Section 101 Promoting Defined

In this section, “promoting” means the vitally encouraging Authors (“Targets”) to use more Freedom Sticks in their literature, seeing as Freedom Sticks are so vital to the United States that controlling them even a teensy bit (!) would have a debilitating impact on all aspects of culture and society, save for those aspects that are always, whoops, getting killed by them (women, children, LGBTQIA+, Muslims, etc.).

Section 102  Strategies

We the Congress are, hello, very cautious about getting in the NRA’s way, but in the break room we tossed around a few ideas about how this promotion might occur: setting up a research institute (“Puns & Guns”), mass mailing assault rifles to the Academy of American Poets, requiring that public universities serve bullets at department meetings alongside the usual platters of ham ‘n cheese.

Title II - Enhancing the presence and augmenting the usage of Freedom Sticks in prepublished American literature

Section 201. Enhancing presence

The Executive Vice President (“EVP”) of the NRA is hereby authorized to throw a gun or eleven into literature of the United States currently described by the EVP as “way too gunless.” Such enhancements may use the following methods, though are not limited to these methods:

    1. Adding Freedom Sticks to the wardrobes of previously unarmed fictive persons, e.g. “He wore a white shirt, a striped tie, and a charcoal-gray summer suit, [and a big gun], and he was still terrifically handsome.” -- Philip Roth, American Pastoral

    2. Adding to expressions of desire, e.g. “She longed for porch friendship, for the sticky, hot sensation of familiar female legs thrown over hers in companionship. She pined for the girlness of it all, the unplanned, improvisational laziness. [She also super pined for a gun.]” -- Rebecca Wells, Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood

Section 202. Augmenting usage

The Executive Vice President of the NRA is authorized to add a bunch of gun violence to literature of the United States which he personally feels is “boring” and “needs a stinkin’ reminder of our God-given 2nd Amendment rights.” Such augmentations may use the following methods, though are not limited to these methods:

    1. Adding Freedom Sticks to simmering-but-not-boiling conflicts, e.g. “Mel opened the gin and went around the table with the bottle. "Here, you guys," he said. "Let's have a toast. I want to propose a toast. A toast to love. To true love," Mel said. We touched glasses. "To love." we said. [But then I cried, “That’s bullshit!” I pulled my revolver out of my pants and shot everyone.]” -- Raymond Carver, “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love”

    2. Adding lone gunmen to quiet stories of small-town life, e.g. “I’m writing this in part to tell you that if you ever wonder what you’ve done in your have been God’s grace to me, a miracle, something more than a miracle. You may not remember me very well at all, and it may seem to you no great thing to to have been the good child of an old man in a shabby little town you will no doubt leave behind. If only I had the words to tell you. [Ahhhhhhhh tell you later no time now Jesus Christ there’s a lone gunman in my house!]” -- Marilynne Robinson, Gilead

Section 203. Amendment to the Copyright Act of 1976

Congress shall not, in the words of the NRA, “worry too much” about copyright stuff when making the preceding changes (Sec. 201, 202), seeing as most of the Targets are too poor or too dead to put up a big fuss. However, in the case of such big fuss, the NRA may

    1. Offer them a free gun!

    2. Shoot them, hopefully non-fatally, but we the Congress understand there’s a lot of gray area in these situations

Title III - Removing Obstacles for the National Rifle Association

Section 301 Amendment to the National Endowment for the Arts

All funding for the National Endowment for the Arts must be vetted and approved by the NRA, who may choose to use the entirety of these funds to educate artists about guns, seeing as most of them have probably never held a gun in their life, the pansies

Section 302 Access to Records and Other Items

The NRA can basically look at whatever records and papers the Targets have to make sure they are on target, ha ha, pun intended, with this Act’s goals and aims; even stuff that’s clearly embarrassing and unnecessary, like those NSFW Tinder messages and the poems Targets wrote when they were real sad last January.

Passed the House of Representatives June 24, 2016, without a single gun held to anyone’s head.







Sally Franson received her MFA in creative writing from the University of Minnesota and was a 2012 GRPP Fellow. Her work has recently appeared in WitnessRoomelimae, and Bartleby Snopes, among others, and she was the winner of the Loft’s Fall Writing Contest in 2012. She is also a recipient of a 2014 Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grant. In addition to teaching and finishing her first book, Sally is a contributing writer toThe Fiddleback and Paper