Nothing in this world will challenge the concealability and comfort of defensive tools quite like play dates.
the mother of a two-year-old. There are lots of play dates in my week.
Several times a week my son and I meet up with mothers, fathers,
newborns, toddlers and preschoolers for hours of unrehearsed, unplanned
mayhem. You may be called upon to breakup a toddler boxing ring,
retrieve spit up cheerios from under a bench, leap to your death after a
thrown sippy cup or just be voluntold to lose a spontaneous game of,
"No, you're supposed to let me win!" And you must do it all while being
safe and keeping your gun concealed.
I refuse to carry
off-body around kids; at least not without completely and totally
disabling the firearm, locking it up, burying it and pouring cement down
the barrel. Such innocent and curious lives should never be cut short
because of irresponsibility of gun owners and no other environment is as
ripe for firearms' accidents as a play date or nursery. Ten minutes
with toddlers and preschoolers and any bag, purse, briefcase and sack is
thoroughly examined with a "WHAT'S THAT?!?" Even if your kid is oober
smart and cool and knows not to touch firearms it doesn't mean Billy has
been trained the same way or that your kid won't get the stupids and
decide to play show-and-tell.
I firmly believe that the
best way to keep kids safe from your firearm in such an environment is
to keep CONSTANT, discreet control of your firearm and that means
keeping it on body and under deep concealment. Something new and unusual
tends to make little, indiscreet minds lock on and alert the entire
area to such a discovery with yet another, "WHAT'S THAT?!?" And a gun on
a Momma's (or Daddy's) hip is certainly unusual when it comes to play
Being armed should not make someone afraid of
playing (and I do mean REALLY PLAYING) with their children. Today I got
roped into balloon volleyball with five kids and three balloons, all of
them against me. I was diving over couches, rolling on the floor,
colliding with four-year-olds and tripping over two-year-olds. I was
carrying a fully-loaded Glock 19, a Ka-Bar LDK and my Gerber Crucial
while doing it, too. Which brings me to some finer points of carrying
1. Make sure your gear is tough and
capable. The last thing you want to do is dive for that third balloon,
land wrong and find your gun has spilled out onto the floor in the midst
of five children with their mothers looking on. Having a holster that
you know you can roll around the floor with and not have it give up your
gun or your concealment should be a top priority.
Make sure your holster completely covers the trigger guard and holds
your gun close to the body. Preschools are nosy. If they see or feel the
slightest bulge they will grab and pull and poke at your gun while
screaming, "What's under your shirt?!?" If you don't think so I
guarantee you haven't spent five minutes with any child under the age of
five. Not to mention you may have to pick up a screaming kid or have
another mother ask you to hold her newborn while she goes to wipe puke
off her blouse. You do not want anyone to find your gun by matter of
just simply feeling it or seeing it. You also don't want to entertain
the thought that small fingers or toes or toys could get inside the
trigger guard of your gun.
3. Long sweaters/vests
(preferably with a button or zipper) are your friend, especially when
you are playing balloon volleyball with five kids and three balloons.
Keep that thing hidden!
4. Don't make a big deal about
adjusting and covering your firearm if it does get exposed. In short, if
you do fall head-first over a couch while diving for a balloon and get
up finding that your sweater is completely tucked BEHIND your gun, keep a
big ol' smile on your face, throw the balloon with one hand while you
cover your gun and move on as though nothing happened. Distraction works
well with most kids if they do see something.
colors that closely match the color of your gun and holster. This is not
the time to try out that new custom holster with the beautifully etched
American flag in full color on it. If you have a black gun and a black
holster wear dark jeans and a black shirt and dark cover garment. If you
do accidentally have a concealment slip you are already camouflaged and
almost no one is likely to see.
6. Be smart. Don't take
your gun off and put it anywhere. Don't fiddle with it. Don't leave it
some place where it can be accessed by kids (like the diaper bag or
purse or under a coat). You are far more likely to have an accident with
a firearm in that kind of an environment than you are to actually need
your gun in self-defense. If there's a question about safety then err on
the side of caution and leave you gun in a safe location (your locked
car, for instance) for the duration of the activity.
Have fun! Play dates and kid groups are about letting your child
socialize and taking you away from all of the distractions so that you
can have fun with your child as he has fun with his friends. If you
can't have fun with your kid while being armed then leave the damned
thing at home or keep training until you can comfortably (and safely)
carry your gun in such an environment. Dare I say it, but your
relationship with your kid is more important than the one-in-a-million
chance you might get into a shootout at your kids play date. Yes, I know
you want to be able to protect you child (I do, too) but you also need
to be a parent. Don't let a gun get in the way of spending quality time
with your kids.
Be safe, be smart. Protect yourself and your child.