"Guns don't kill people..." (and you surely know the rest of this quote, which is staple of American-themed bumper stickers), and it may even be true when the firearm in question is in the form of a tattoo design, yet the symbolism is unmistakably lethal. It's loaded and it's deadly. Power, violence, and a determined personality - these are the messages meant to part your hair like a bullet when you lay eyes on a well-executed gun tattoo.
Sigmund Freud, the father of psychiatry, had other ideas about the gun, best explained in the famous quote by old-time actress, Mae West: "Is that a gun in your pocket, or are you just pleased to meet me?" Freud believed that weapons and tools of all kinds were used as symbols for the phallus (penis). Objects like a dagger, sabre, rifle, even a train, were not only long and hard, but each was highly potent.
Dream analysis continues to see the gun as the subconscious mind's way of expressing aggressive sexuality. A gun's sexual connection is obvious in the choice of location of many gun tattoos, positioned to appear as if lodged in the belt, aimed towards the genitalia, whether male or female. On both hips is another popular location for dual pistols. Shoulder blades are frequent choices for rifles and machine guns.