The Gun is the fifteenth episode of the sixth season in this television sitcom on Family Matters, which was aired from ABC on February 10, 1995. It was directed by John Tracy and written both by Joseph Cvar and Gary Menteer.
In one of the series' most serious episodes, gang leader Toni Procopio and her friends brutally beat Laura up and steal her jacket. After being arrested and let out on bail, Toni pulls a gun on Laura outside the school and warns Laura to not testify. Laura, scared for her life, decides she needs to buy a gun for self-defense, even though Urkel begs her to reconsider but then, just moments before Laura can go through with the gun purchase, Toni shoots Laura's friend Josie in the arm, because she refused to give Toni her shoes. Now Josie and her mother are thinking about moving out of Chicago but Carl and Harriette don't think that's the solution to the problem. Harriette vows that no one will run the Winslows out of their home. Fortunately, the Winslows and Steve start "Save a Life, Turn In Your Gun" and Steve does a rap about saving your life by turning in a gun or other weapons.
After school, Laura, Josie, Maxine and Waldo talk about going to the mall. They ask Laura if she wants to come but she turns down the offer due to her homework and studying. After saying their goodbyes, Laura proceeds to her car to go home but is stopped by gang member Toni Procopio. Toni compliments Laura on her new leather jacket she is wearing and then tells her she can get another one and to give up hers. Laura refuses and insults Toni. This angers Toni, causing her to whistle for her two fellow gangsters and threatens to rip Laura's jacket off of her back if she doesn't give it to her. Laura refuses again and tries to leave but gets beaten up by Toni and her fellow gangsters and her jacket stolen.
Later on at home, Laura is being nursed by her family who is concerned about what happened. Carl reprimands Laura for putting herself in danger like that and for not giving up her jacket and tells her that her life is worth more than that jacket. After revealing it was Toni who took her jacket, Eddie then reveals Toni's infamous reputation at school. Carl then asks Laura for Toni's description and tells her that he's going to arrest her. Steve then comes running in with a stuffed animal and flowers trying to comfort Laura. The next day, Steve has made himself Laura's bodyguard (much to her annoyance), hassling anyone coming in her direction, including other students. Everything is fine until Laura and Steve run into Toni and her goons again. Toni is angry at Laura for getting her arrested and Laura tells her that she deserved it. After she and her goons trade insults with Steve, Toni then pulls out a gun and threatens to shoot Laura if she testifies against her.
Days later, Laura and Maxine are complimenting Josie on her new tennis shoes. Laura then asks Josie what if someone tries to steal them. Josie responds that she is not scared and shows her gun to Laura, also telling her if she had one she would still have her jacket. Maxine and Josie leave and then Steve comes to check on Laura. He reveals that Laura didn't even tell Carl nor Harriette about Toni pulling a gun on her. Laura explains that they're worried about her enough and does not want to worry them more. They are then approached by fellow classmate Bobby, who knows about Toni harassing Laura. He tells Laura she needs to defend herself and shows her his gun collection in his car trunk. Steve tells Bobby that it's against the law to have those guns at the school and sarcastically names them. Much to Steve's dismay and him begging her not to buy it, Laura holds a pistol and asks how much is it. Before Bobby could name a price, they are alerted by a yelling Josie and Maxine and then a gunshot goes off. The students run in panic as Laura and Steve rush to the scene to find a wounded Josie on the ground being held by Maxine. A hysterical Maxine reveals that Toni picked a fight with Josie and she was shot in the arm for not giving up her shoes. Steve yells out for someone to call 911 and gives Maxine a makeshift tourniquet to hold on to Josie's wound to keep the blood from going down further her arm until help arrives.
Later on at home, Harriette and Carl discuss the traumatic events that happened to Laura and her friends. Harriette is relieved that Laura wasn't hurt and is alright. Carl agrees and asks how Josie is doing. Harriette reveals that Josie won't have full use of her arm for a long time. Carl says as a cop he deals with these type of situations every day, but it doesn't hit home until it happens to one of your own. Harriette then says that Laura is one of the most level-headed kids that she knows and she couldn't believe that she was thinking about buying a gun. Carl then tells Harriette to imagine how frightened Laura had to be to even consider doing that. Harriette was just relieved that Steve was just there to stop her beforehand. Carl and Harriette then discuss how the teens of Laura's generation have a lot more to worry about than they did when they were teens. Harriette then reveals that Josie's mom is even considering moving out of Chicago, and she vows that no one will drive the Winslows out of their home. Carl says that's not the solution and that these situations are happening everywhere. He knows there must be more to be done to keep them safe from guns.
Days later, Laura starts an event at Vanderbilt called Save Your Life, Turn In A Gun. A tough guy refuses after realizing he won't get anything in return. Then, a little boy brings his big brother to turn his gun in. He is hesitant, but then puts the gun in the bin and leaves happily with his sibling while everyone smiles.
The cast and crew then share a PSA message saying you should squash gun violence before it even starts.
Written by Joseph Cvar and Gary Menteer, “The Gun” was intended to address the increasing issue involving guns in school as the United States reported a then record 24 school shootings in 1994.
- Reginald VelJohnson as Carl Winslow
- Jo Marie Payton as Harriette Winslow (credited as Jo Marie Payton-Noble)
- Rosetta LeNoire as Estelle Winslow (credit only)
- Darius McCrary as Eddie Winslow
- Kellie Shanygne Williams as Laura Winslow
- Bryton James as Richie Crawford (credited as Bryton McClure, credit only)
- Jaleel White as Steve Urkel
- Shawn Harrison as Waldo Geraldo Faldo
- Tracey Cherelle Jones as Toni Procopio
- Trina McGee as Josie (credited as Trina McGee-Davis)
- Ryan Bollman as Bobby
- Mailon Rivera as Radio DJ
- Raushan Hammond as Latin Club Member
- Freddie Prinze Jr. as Tough Guy
- Kyndra Joy Casper as Tough Girl #1
- Sonya Haynes as Tough Girl #2
- Guest appearance are Freddie Prinze Jr. and Trina McGee-Davis
- This episode ended with a public service announcement about gun violence by Jaleel White, Kellie Shanygne Williams, Shawn Harrison, Darius McCrary, and the episode's cast.
- Steve Urkel speaks Latin.
- This episode is one of the most serious episodes aside from Fight the Good Fight and Good Cop, Bad Cop.
- Cherie Johnson and Freddie Prinze Jr. later appeared together in the 2021 Punky Brewster reboot.
- Carl: When I was in high school, my biggest fear was that I'd get a pimple the night before the prom.
- Harriette: Yeah, but these are different times, Carl. Kids today have so much more to be afraid of, like if the kid who butts in front of the lunch line is carrying a gun.
- Urkel: [rapping] Step right up and turn in your gun. The cops are here, so you don't have to run. Everyone knows that guns aren't cool, so turn in yours and don't be a fool. If you don't have a gun, then turn in your knife. We'll take anything to save a life. Ho!
- Guy: I turn in a gun and you give me money?
- Laura: No, no money.
- Guy: Concert tickets?
- Laura: No.
- Guy: So, what do I get?
- Laura: You get your life. [The tough guy shakes his head and then walks off]