Saturday, June 20, 2009

Carrying a Gun and a Baby

I have gotten a number of emails from mothers and father and even interested parents-to-be on the mechanics of carrying a baby and a gun. I've tried expressing that it is not as intimidating as it appears and finally I made a video to show just how easy it really can be.

There are a few things, however, I would like to emphasis when it comes to carrying a child and a gun.

Firstly, I want to address safety. Contrary to popular belief, most gun owners are very responsible, safe people who have the very best for themselves and their families in mind. But! We all know that mistakes occur and this is why I have come up with a few ground rules beyond the regular four rules of gun safety to insure my child is completely safe in my care (both from the bad guys and from accidents).

  1. When dealing with firearms, do so in another room, separate and safe from your children. We all know that kids can grab, move, jump, yank at the most unexpected of times and even if they don't get their hands on a gun, something they do can startle a parent into being careless enough for an accident to occur.
  2. Put your holster on, put your gun on, get them set, then go to your children and don't touch your firearm or holster again unless you cannot avoid it. Don't fidget with or adjust or work with your gun or your set up while your children are around (see no. 1).
  3. MAKE SURE your holster is of good quality and that the trigger guard of your firearm is completely enclosed. Small fingers and toes, toys and do-dads can get into small spaces and while you are wrestling with diaper bags, children, toys, bottles, pacifiers, wipes, temper tantrums, owies, band-aids and sippy cups, you might not always notice the hazards that can slip into an exposed trigger guard. Anything within your trigger guard other than your finger when your sights are on their target is BAD. Conversly, a gun cannot fire if the trigger is not pressed. Keep your trigger guard guarded with a quality holster and avoid accidents.
Finally, years of media coverage of childhood firearms accidents and Million Mom March speaches and even the NRA's Eddie Eagle campaign have instilling in us the understanding that children and firearms do not mix. We are so convinced of this that even pictures of a mother holding a child with a gun on her hip make us cringe, no matter how pro-gun we proclaim to be.

Yes, it is true, children and firearms do not mix, but that does not mean they cannot coexist safely with the proper supervision of parents and the strict adherence to safety rules.

This video has already been the subject of some tense comments about safety and even that while it is understood why I would want to carry a firearm it might not be a good idea to do it with a child in tow.

According to some, it's okay to protect myself. It's okay for my husband to protect himself. It's even okay for my husband to carry to protect me and my child. But it's suddenly not okay for me to protect myself AND my child at the same time.

Hmm.. I'm not quite sure I understand the logic behind that one.

I started carrying a firearm in defense against those who wish to do evil to me. People can understand and even empathise with that. People even cheer my willingness to defend myself. My child does not yet have the ability, physically, emotionally or legally, to take that responsibility on himself. He is reliant on his mother and his father to provide for him in all areas, including his protection.

Statistics from February, 2007 state that 300,000 children are abducted or reported missing each year in the US. In the same year, in the US, 248,300 women were assaulted or raped. Both my child and myself are targets for violent crime. My husband can't always be around to defend us. The police response in our neighborhood can be as much as twenty-eight minutes.

Let's pause here.

Before you read on, let's go back to the police response time.

Twenty-Eight Minutes!!

It takes an average of three minutes to suffocate a human being. It takes approximately one minute to grab my child and put him in a car. It takes less than twenty-eight minutes to get over twenty miles away in any direction. That means before the police even arrived to assess the scene of the crime, a criminal could kill me, kidnap our child and be twenty miles away before the police even BEGAN the search for the fugitive.

I want you to stop and think about that.

Some will criticise me for having a firearm and a child together under a supervised situation so that I can defend myself and my son in the event it is necessary. I don't necessarily mind the criticism. I have pretty thick skin, I know I am responsible and I know that I will be prepared in the event I should have to be (God forbid).

I am not a paranoid person (as I've said before). I do not wait for bad things to happen to me. But I know, more than some, that bad things happen in the most unexpected of times and places. I won't stand by and let those bad things happen to me and my baby just because someone thinks it's a little overboard to carry a baby and a gun.