UPDATE: I wrote and posted a gun holster review on the day before the naval yard shooting in DC. It seemed like a poor time, so I took it down. I then had a great conversation with Kristin Wald—proving that people who might come at Big Issues from different places can have a conversation—about the need for rational, responsible gun owners to speak. So I’m adapting what was a gun holster review to be a post on gun safety and children, with a holster review and resource links. I’m not speaking to the idea of laws and what we should or shouldn’t have over us. As it stands, we have the freedom to carry. As long as we have that freedom and guns are around, we should ALL BE EDUCATED AND RESPONSIBLE, whether or not you own a gun or support or don’t support gun control. Let’s start gun safety in our own homes—EVERY home, whether you are a gun owner or not.
I am about to step into a minefield. An issue that is so charged politically and ideologically that I’m a little terrified. Never bring up politics or religion at a dinner party, the saying goes. Since I talk at least once a week about faith in Jesus, so I’m already committing a party foul. Add politics to the mix and we are in for it.
The thing is? This is my blog, not a dinner party. So buckle up. And I encourage you to sort of pause, if you will, your assumptions and your positions and hard-fought lines for a moment. I know that I did when thinking about and writing this post. Forget how you vote and what paper you read and dive right in here with me, where I am going to attempt to be logical, rational, and also opinionated.
One of my favorite childhood movies was Pee-wee’s Big Adventure. I’m sure I’m not alone, right? Tell ’em Large Marge sent ya! The basement of the Alamo! Tequila! Such a classic. I still have a special place in my heart for Pee-wee.
That movie was my first exposure to Texas. Everything is bigger. There are cowboys. With guns. Everyone claps when you sing that “deep in the heart of Texas” song. (Spoiler alert: the Alamo has no basement. It’s also illegal to pee on the Alamo.)
Moving here for real, some of those stereotypes are true. I have not tried it, but I guarantee you if I went into a crowded mall and sang, “The stars at night are big and bright…” there were be a weird pause where everyone would drop their shopping bags, clap four times, and finish the song for me. Yeehaw! Some people do wear cowboy hats, I met a few boys who literally (and I do actually mean literally) lived in a barn, their rooms converted stalls next to their horses’ stalls. There are also a lot of guns in Texas.
For years now, Rob has had a concealed handgun license. I don’t have one and didn’t grow up with guns, but I learned pretty quickly that if you get your concealed carry license, you are learning an immense amount about guns, their use, the law, and safety. I trusted that Rob knowing was enough. I do trust him and respect his knowledge and ability to handle a gun.
But after having a short dialogue with Kristin Wald via Twitter (of all places), I began doing some reading. We have children. We have guns. Is it enough that I trust my husband to take care of this?
Do not misread my question. I fully trust Rob to handle guns safely and responsibly. At the same time, I myself need to arm myself (no pun intended) with knowledge about guns. In fact, I’m considering a concealed carry myself, just so I can get some literal hands-on training, plus more knowledge about guns, law, and safety.
I read this article in the NY Times and it gave me pause. GREAT pause. If you aren’t a reader (it’s long and disturbing), some of the important points are that many accidental shootings by and of children are listed as homicides, which makes the actual number of accidental shootings higher than they seem on paper. There were many examples in the article of children killed by accidental fire, often by a friend or relative, and these cases spanned all kinds of demographics and even the spectrum of negligence to safety and education.
Bottom line: I don’t know that we can ever be too careful when it comes to guns and our children.
I am like many of the people in the article in that I think this is a complex issue. I want children to be safe, and yet, I also want our family to exercise our right to have firearms. What does that look like in actual life?
I’m not going to get into the legislation side of things, but I will get into the personal side of them. What can YOU do if you want to promote safety for your children? I believe there are two things and they must go together to work effectively.
1. Secure Your Guns. Yes, it may be harder to access a gun if it’s in a safe. But the reality is that maybe we put too much weight on this in terms of our area or demographic. A great question from Project Child Safe is this: Are my safety concerns realistic and consistent with local crime rates? Crazy stuff happens all over the place and in all kinds of areas. That being said, I think it’s a fair and good question to ask for your household. What weighs more heavily—the need to have quick, unsecured access to your gun? Or the fact that quick, unsecured access means your child also might have quick, unsecured access? You may not have guns, but your family members or your child’s friends’ parents might. This might mean that you check to ensure that other people are being secure. Do your other family members have guns? Ask if they are secure. Pass on a brochure from Project Child Safe about safety. Be that weirdo who is overly cautious. I doubt you’ll regret being the weirdo later, but you might regret NOT being the weirdo.
2. Educate Your Family Members. Whether children or adults, if there are guns in the house, be educated. I want to know more about guns and gun safety for the sake of my children. I think it’s important that I take responsibility as well as Rob, not because I don’t trust him, but because I should know. I want my children to have a healthy fear of guns. I want them to understand what to do if they ever see a gun. I also want to remember that they are children and will often do something different than what they are told, which is why gun security is so vastly important. Boys are much more likely to touch or play with a gun if they find one, and as the mother of two boys (who love to pretend fight, whether they are ninjas or transformers), I believe that. I am working to know more myself and for Rob and I to impart knowledge and safety to our children.
I believe in both 1 and 2. I think that they need to go hand in hand for the safety of our children. If you only secure and don’t educate, your child might encounter a gun somewhere outside your home and make a poor choice. If you only educate and don’t secure, your child might find a gun and, being a child, play with it. Possibly with fatal consequences either way.
The Project Child Safe site has great questions, great resources, AND an interactive map that can link you with local places that have a free gun safety kit. Education and safety for your children starts with YOU, even if you don’t have guns in the home. As long as we have the freedom to carry guns, whether you do or not, I believe we should ALL be educated and responsible. I am working toward this. What about you?
For those of you who are concealed carriers, I recently got Rob what I think was a fabulous Father’s Day gift this year: a new holster.
One of my high school friends (of Prom Proclamation fame) has a business called Guardian Concealment, making these great leather holsters. I gave him the model of Rob’s gun and he shipped us a beautiful holster. Rob was super excited at how comfortable it is and how well it fits. I was super excited to finally get a great gift for him (I’ve been a terrible gift-buyer lately) and that I could support one of my dear old friends in the process. I like that this one is very comfortable on his skin because of the soft leather, and is safely tucked inside his pants, out of reach of little hands.
If you have a concealed carry and are looking for a great holster, we would highly recommend! ***Disclosure: I was not in any way paid or compensated for this. We bought the holster from Guardian. I am just super happy with the product and service!***
There is something really attractive to me about a man carrying a gun…who knows all about gun safety, regulations, and responsible ownership. And speaking of safety, carrying a gun on your person in a safe holster means that you know where your gun is.
Here’s a shot of a holster being made so you can see it better (photo from Guardian Concealment):
As a special bonus and a bookend back to Pee-wee Herman, click to see a video of Sawyer at 2 dancing to Tequila with Pee Wee.