Pistol-packing lawmaker deserves a high-caliber nickname

How will Sen. Donne 'Dangerously' Trotter explain his opposition to concealed-carry laws now?

What's worse for a distinguished, pro-gun-control Chicago politician who sports a cool goatee and an always-natty wardrobe:

Being charged with a felony after allegedly trying to carry a .25-caliber Beretta handgun onto a Chicago plane bound for Washington?

Or to suffer as readers and radio talk show callers showered him Thursday with endearing — sometimes snarky — nicknames?

For state Sen. Donne "Tiny Pistol" Trotter, the longtime Chicago Democrat and candidate to replace former U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., it can't be the criminal charge. It's got to be the sting of the snarky nicknames, which began after news broke that he'd been nabbed at O'Hare International Airport the day before with a James Bond 007-type gun in his garment bag.

"Let's call him 'Big Shooter,'" Jake Hartford said Thursday. Jake and I are filling in as radio hosts on WLS-AM 890 weekdays from 9 to 11 a.m. "Big Shooter."

No, Jake, I said. Trotter's .25-caliber Beretta would fit into the palm of a Barbie doll, so "Big Shooter" wouldn't work.

"Donne Dead-Eye Trotter," said one caller.

"Dinky Donne" or "Pea Shooter Trotter," said another.

Others offered "Pop Gun" Trotter, "Police Blotter" Trotter, "Almost Conceal Carry" Trotter and "Dead Eye" Trotter.

The women callers were surprisingly the snarkiest, but then women must be sick and tired of gun metaphors. Sometimes a gun is just a gun. And caliber does matter — when it's about stopping power.

"He shouldn't have carried it in the garment bag," said Lisa from Glen Ellyn, a gun enthusiast and shooter who ridiculed his tiny weapon. "He should have had it in a sequined fuchsia clutch. Something with a little pop."

Mike the Cop said that back in the day, people would carry tiny pistols in velvet bags offered by a Canadian whiskey distiller.

"They used to carry the small guns in the Crown Royal bags," said Mike. That's exactly what my able colleague, Old School, used to do.

"I used to keep my toy gun in a Crown Royal bag," said Old School. "I was 8 years old. It was a .38 detective special, when toy guns looked like real guns. So purple velvet bags made me remember my childhood."

Finally, one caller whose name has been lost to history captured it best:

Donne Dangerously.

And there it is.

State Sen. Donne "Dangerously" Trotter.

I've always liked Trotter, an able politician, thorough and usually cautious. But he surely told a whopper when he was caught.

Certainly no one with a brain believes Trotter's story that he pulled a night shift as a security guard before trying to board the plane.

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