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William S. Burroughs & His Love Affair with Firearms


After a shooting spree, they always want to take the guns away from the people who didn’t do it. I sure as hell wouldn’t want to live in a society where the only people allowed guns are the police and the military. -William Burroughs

William Seward Burroughs was most famously known as a key figure in the Beat Poet movement of the 1960’s. His work stands out as brilliant American writing with a strange but elegant voice responsible for fathering the face of counterculture. A seemingly reserved man, Burroughs channeled enigmatic prose through morphine-enduced tales both autobiographic and fictional.

His life was profoundly affected by the death of his wife and mother to his son, Joan Vollmer. She died tragically while perfoming a drunken game of ‘William Tell’ with Burroughs in which his gun missed the target, killing her instantly. He was detained by police in Mexico City but was released shortly after the incident was filed as a culpable homicide. This piece of his life proved to be the heaviest weight he carried through his seasoned career as the father of junk culture.

Mr. Burroughs was not only known for shooting heroin, he was also known for a healthy love affair with firearms. As a coveted collector of shotguns, rifles, pistols and revolvers, Billy Burroughs was a man who knew his way around all things that go BANG!

Here he is seen below demonstrating a proper draw from concealed carry:


Burroughs was not your typical ‘gun nut’ to say the least. As an artist, William’s creative side evoked him not only to write but to paint as well, which he often did with a shotgun. PBS did a number of segments on Burroughs also detailing the conception of his ‘Shotgun Art’. You can watch that video segment here.

Below he is seen with a 12 gauge shotgun standing in between two of his paintings:


For more on William S. Burroughs, have a look at the independent documentary film “A Man Within” by visiting

Graham C. Gibbs
Here's an old soul, a heart that belongs in the Dust Bowl era and a brain wave on the beating pulse of current art, technology & culture.