Guns & Kids: Should you be armed around children?

by Rob Morse

A young couple needed a break. I’d agreed to babysit their children in my home. Observing the room, most of the things I wanted to keep intact were above munchkin height.

I’d watched these two children before and 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 or noticed my gun and asked about it? What should I do?

Those questions are a miniature version of the arguments for gun control – and the arguments for why we carry.

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 we be on the floor again, crawling around to retrieve a stuck toy? 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. 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, but no more. I’ve trained and practiced so I can handle a gun safely when necessary. Something else was bothering me.

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

What if the kids asked about the gun? I wasn’t embarrassed that I carried. Guns aren’t evil things to be whispered about once children are in bed. Fortunately, the children’s parents felt the same way. If the children had questions, then I’d answer them or their parents could explain it to them. I bookmarked the Eddie Eagle website to show the children.

Then it hit me. They are the reason I carry!

Who will protect them if not me? Being armed changes the outcome of an attack, but it doesn’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. My friends knocked at the garage door and I let them in.

I carried. They colored with crayons and driveway 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 have 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 tool whose ownership has been stigmatized. People we love are worth protecting. Guns save lives.

Rob Morse works and writes in Southwest Louisiana. He writes at Ammoland, at his Slowfacts blog, and at Clash Daily. Rob co-hosts the Polite Society Podcast, and hosts the Self-Defense Gun Stories Podcast each week.