One of many nicknames given to Barney Fife (Don Knotts), a bumbling deputy sheriff who lives in the rural town of Mayberry, North Carolina on the sitcom THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW/CBS/1960-68.
Because the town sheriff Andy Taylor (Andy Griffith) wouldn’t trust Barney with a loaded gun, for fear of accidentally shooting himself or an innocent bystander, Barney was not supposed to carry a loaded gun. Barney did keep one bullet in his left shirt breast pocket.
“Now here at the Rock (jail) we have two rules. Memorize them until you can say them in your sleep. Rule number one: obey all rules. Rule number two: no writing on the walls.” – Deputy Barney Fife
Sheriff Andy Taylor once noticed Barney playing with his gun, and asks, “What are you doing?” Barney replies, “Gun-drawing practice, ten minutes every day. If I ever have to use this baby, I want to teach it to come to papa in a hurry.”
When a visitor asks why the crime rate in Mayberry is so low, Barney responds, “Well, I guess to sum it up, you could say, there’s three reasons why there’s so little crime in Mayberry. There’s Andy, and there’s me, and [patting his gun] baby makes three.”
The only time he uses his gun is to start the potato sack races for the annual Mason’s picnic. Barney is jokingly called Barney the Beast, Barney the Fierce, Crazy Gun Barney and Fearless Fife by his fellow townsfolk.
On episode No. 9 “Andy, the Matchmaker” someone in town wrote the following limerick on the side of the Mayberry Bank: “There once was a deputy called Fife, Who carried a gun and a knife. The gun was all dusty, And his knife was all rusty, Because he never caught a crook in his life.”
Barney Fife: Well, today’s eight-year-olds are tomorrow’s teenagers. I say this calls for action and now. Nip it in the bud. First sign of youngsters going wrong, you’ve got to nip it in the bud.
Andy Taylor: I’m going to have a talk with them. What else do you want me to do?
Barney Fife: Well, don’t just mollycoddle them.
Andy Taylor: I won’t.
Barney Fife: Nip it. You go read any book you ant on the subject of child discipline and you’ll find every one of them is in favor of bud-nipping.
While Deputy Barney Fife is quick to carry a gun, his boss, Sheriff Andy Taylor thinks just the opposite.
“When a man carries a gun all the time, the respect he thinks he’s getting might really be fear. So I don’t carry a gun because I don’t want the people of Mayberry to fear a gun. I’d rather they respect me.” – Sheriff Andy Taylor