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Guns & Kids: Should you be armed around children?

October 13, 2016

Should you put away your guns when special people come to visit?  This is the gun-control debate in miniature.

A young couple needed a break. I’d agreed to babysit their children in my home. Looking around the room, most of the things I wanted to keep intact were above munchkin height. You see, I’d watched over these two small children before. I love them, but there are complications. I carry a concealed firearm all the time. Now, I had second thoughts. With the kids under foot, should I carry the gun or put it away? What if the children bumped into the gun? What if they noticed my gun and asked about it? What should I do? Those feelings were a miniature version of the arguments for gun control.. and the argument for why we carry. See if you reach the same conclusions.

I had second thoughts. Should I put away my gun when special people arrive?

My first impulse, given the rough and tumble play of these kids, was to put my gun away. Would I end up on the floor again, crawling around to retrieve a stuck toy or freeing a child’s leg that slipped behind the couch? I’d never forgive myself if they were hurt in a negligent discharge of my firearm. Is my equipment safe?

I carry in a holster with a hard outer shell. The gun fits snugly in the holster and the trigger is well covered. The gun is reliable and unmodified. Yes, the hardware was safe. If the gun was safe, then what was I worried about?

Was I safe? I thought back. One thing that new carriers do is touch the gun to be sure it is still there and in place. Maybe I did that.. at first. Now I can leave the gun alone. I’ve trained and practiced so I can safely handle a gun safely if that is necessary. Yes, I was safe, but something else was bothering me.

Those second thoughts are the entire gun-control debate in miniature.

What about the kids? What if they asked about the gun? I wasn’t embarrassed that I carried. I didn’t think guns were evil things that should only be whispered about once children were in bed. Fortunately, the children’s parents felt the same way. If the children had questions, then I’d answer them or ask their parents to explain it to them. I bookmarked the Eddie Eagle website so I could show those videos sometime when the children were over. Then it hit me.

They are the reason I carry!

These children were the reason I carry in the first place. I love these kids. Who will protect them if not me? Being armed changes the outcome of an attack, but it can’t change the probability of a criminal choosing us as his intended victims. I locked the back windows and the doors we weren’t using. They knocked at the garage door and I let them in.

I carried. They colored paper with crayons and colored the driveway with chalk. We blew bubbles and chased frogs. We watched Eddie Eagle so these two small children know not to touch a found gun. Life is simple and boring, and that is a beautiful thing.

You probably had a similar internal debate as you carry in new locations and circumstances. You’re going through the gun-control debate in miniature.

A gun is a dangerous tool. Gun ownership has been stigmatized. People we love are worth protecting. Guns save lives.

What made you review that debate?

A later version of this article was published by Second Call Defense.

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