Question of the Day: How Do You Carry Around Your Kids?

Patrick writes:

Yesterday my wife and I were talking about our political beliefs. Gun control came up and I already knew that we are both on opposite ends of the debate. She’s for more of it and I want no new laws. One topic we discussed at length is me carrying concealed. Before getting married I had planned on carrying basically everywhere I lawfully could . . .

She is hesitant, though. She’d feel uncomfortable if I carry, but doesn’t have a set-in-stone opinion (no one in her family has carried, so it’s a new concept to her). She asked me where I would carry and how I’d conceal my handgun. This discussion lead to her asking if I would carry when we have children.

And that’s when he asked for advice. So if you have a reluctant spouse and little tax deductions running around, how (and when) to you pack your piece?

comments

  1. avatar Anon in CT says:

    It’s an interesting question – if you’re just out and about, no big deal. Just carry like you always would.

    At home, where you may have to engage in the occasional tickle fight or bout of ersatz WWE wrestling, it’s a little trickier.

    A related question: What is the proper age to start gun-proofing the rugrats.

    1. avatar Moonshine7102 says:

      “What is the proper age to start gun-proofing the rugrats?”
      ——
      The instant you suspect they may become curious about your guns. Not one second later.

      1. avatar adamt says:

        The instant they are born. There is no reason that a child should die or shoot someone with a “found” gun. As soon as they pop out of the vag there should be a safe for you weapons.

        1. avatar Not Too Eloquent says:

          You don’t have kids do you? A newborn is incapable of firing a firearm. Say age 1 or 2 but newborn is another blatant zealot-like statement

        2. avatar spymyeyes says:

          grown & gone, which is why I can again do as I please in my home, but that does not change my habits of ALWAYS being armed.

        3. avatar Anon in CT says:

          To clarify, any weapons are always secured. I was referring to the educating part.

        4. avatar Totenglocke says:

          @ anon

          One of my brother-in-laws is a detective and makes sure his kids learn from a very young age about gun safety (I know at least since the age of 4, if not younger), yet he openly comes home from work and just puts his gun on top of the refrigerator…..I don’t get it – why teach them about gun safety and then leave it where they can easily get to it?

      2. avatar uncommon_sense says:

        I started gun-proofing my children at age three. This was the earliest age where they start to understand serious situations based on your demeanor when you tell them something.

        More importantly, it is an age where they will definitely remember a vivid lesson. That vivid lesson is having them stand about 15 feet behind you with earmuffs while you shoot some stuff. The loud bang, the concussion that they feel in their bodies, the muzzle flash, and the object that explodes (such as a one gallon plastic milk jug filled with water) makes it apparent to them that firearms are serious stuff. It doesn’t freak them out. But it does frighten them just enough to know that they don’t want to play with firearms.

        As they get older, they will begin to respect the potential for destruction and know to only use them with adult supervision. It is pretty simple and it really works.

        Oh, and take away the mystery. Give your children (as they get older) ample opportunity to safely handle firearms under your supervision. Then they won’t feel so tempted to handle a firearm if they ever find one when you are not around.

    2. avatar TSgt B says:

      The moment you welcome them to planet Earth. I say this because safety is an attitude, and your attitude must be properly adjusted the very moment you have the responsibilty for the safety of another life. The child will catch on as you and he/she grow. It’s an everyday, lifelong thing.

      1. avatar soccerchainsaw says:

        I wholeheartedly agree. The munchkins pick up on the most subtlelest of cues from their parents. I personally think that this is critically important in our driving habits. Way before they’re getting their learners permit they’re observing what you do behind the wheel. Are you an impatient driver? Do you tailgate? Do you drive agressively? Now, do you expect your child to behave differently when they start driving? Good luck with that.

  2. avatar adamt says:

    I live in pa but work in nj. I have a LTCF in pa and do so whenever I am in state. I have 2 kids and carry my weapon at all times with them. My son is 4 and he knows I carry and my daughter is 2 and knows my gun. The more you carry and the more the kids see it the more natural it becomes to the point that it is second nature to see dad with a gun on his hip. My wife is not a gun person but she is fine with me carrying around the kids because she knows its for their safety. I pity the bad guy that gets between me and my kids

    1. avatar OODALOOP says:

      Exactly. Take away the mystery and it just becomes “another thing Papa carries”. I’ve carried for both my daughter’s entire life spans (8 & 5) and they just accept it. The rules are no touching *any* firearm unless you ask an adult and it’s unloaded first. When they first started to become aware of my handgun they’d ask to hold it and touch it and we’d use it as a teaching moment on where to point it, how to check if it’s unloaded, etc. They could then look at it in an adult’s presence until their curiosity was satisfied. After that, I’d go thru the process of loading it and making it ready and the “no touching” rule was back in effect. Back into the holster and just another day of family life.

  3. avatar Richard says:

    I always have my gun on person until I go to bed. I figure it doesn’t do me any good in my safe and I don’t want to leave it out somewhere that my kids might find it.

    I have a good leather IWB holster. I rough house with kids all the time and it has never came out. The old one has been told that guns are serious, that he can’t touch a gun without asking, and has been over the 4 rules (and he is 3).

    As long as you have a good holster that covers the trigger and the gun stays in you should be fine. Educate your children about guns and gun safety. Let them touch and ask questions as this takes away the mystery of a gun.

    1. avatar Larry says:

      Great advice.

  4. avatar Greg Wagner says:

    As far as I’m concerned, it’s eather all or none with concealed carry. I no longer have kids, but have the grand kids, aged 1, 3, 5,&5 around all the time, and I carry all the time, everywhere. I’ve been asked by both aige 5 grandaughters, if Pappy has his pistol, and they don’t have any trouble with it.

    I carry a compact 1911 in a Milt Sparks VM2. I also always ware a Haiwian to cover the gun, with a spair mag & surfire flash light on a week side belt holister.

    To me you need to deside if you are safer armed or not, and decide which way to go. I’d rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it. You might get a .22 for your Mrs. and teach her how to shoot, this tends to make them more comfortable with guns in general.

    Good Luck,
    Greg

  5. avatar Loyd says:

    I don’t have kids of my own, but I live with my aunt and her two girls (6 and 12). I home carry, generally still concealed. The kids have known I CCW for years and are used to it. I try to acclimate them as much as possible (the 6 year old regularly asks if we can clean guns together). All the guns not on my body are locked away. At night my EDC goes from the holster to the nightstand.

  6. avatar spymyeyes says:

    I use a custom made double-sidded shoulder holster with ammo pouches and my Gerber MkII all on one rig so I have no worries about a kid getting ahold of my weapons because they NEVER leave my side. At bedtime they go where junior can’t reach on a high shelf above my bed.

  7. avatar Harry says:

    My wife was initially hesitant about me carrying, but now accepts it as normal. We have a 2 1/2 year old, and the only difference in practice I have since he was born is to strap up and de-rig when he’s out of the room. He’s starting to get old enough that I’ll be starting the gun safety training with him soon, but if he sees my pistol he wants to talk about “booms” very animatedly. If he doesn’t see my holstering, he never tries to find out what the bump under my shirt might be when I’m carrying him, and the pistol is not accessable to him when I’m not CCW. The biggest hurdle is getting the spouse to be relaxed when you’re out and about, her knowing you’re not out to be superman, as well as preserving some OpSec. In my case, the turning point in my wife relaxing about the whole thing was being able to holster up and spend all day out shopping, and the only time she realized I was carrying was when I unholstered at home, then she understood that if she couldn’t tell I was packing, nobody else would, eliminating the fear she had about me becoming a primary target if SHTF. Good luck, YMMV, etc

    1. avatar shawmutt says:

      Same here. I just started carrying recently and didn’t give it much thought. Until during one outing my son announced to a waitress (and in his 4-year old voice, the whole restaurant) that I had a gun. It was a bit awkward. I had a long talk with my kids after, and I make sure to put it on when my son and daughter isn’t looking.

    2. avatar Dirk Diggler says:

      my wife wasn’t against it, she just didn’t want any problems. however, she understands we live in a crazy world and is the one who told the kids we don’t talk about daddy’s gun. kids know the safety rules and i took the oldest (age 7) to the range last month and let he shoot the first time. i home carry all the time and even roughouse with the kids. no worries.

  8. avatar matt says:

    It sounds like Patrick needs to man up and reassert himself as the one who wears the pants. If youre having to ask your wife if it is ok to carry, and then try to get the TTAG community to back you up when she said no, then you have lost your balls.

    1. avatar Not Too Eloquent says:

      Need a little attention today Matt?

  9. avatar jwm says:

    when i was getting ready to marry my keeper wife we had the long talk. money, religion and my guns. i would not marry a woman that did not support my guns. seven years now and she’s as good, if not a better shot than me. we both had adult kids when we married and now we have grandkids. 2 live with us, a 4 yo and a 6 yo. i carry a j frame in an uncle mikes pocket holster when i’m home. when i leave i hand it off to my wife who carries until i get back. we live in ca so i can’t get a cc permit. we’ve had violent home invasions in our area and with the girlies a meek surrender isn’t an option.

  10. avatar Jeremy L. Knauff says:

    Earlier is always better. When my son became old enough to understand things, I made sure he understood that he is never to touch a weapon unless I put it in his hands.

    He is 3 now, and none of my weapons are ever left where he can get to them (keep in mind, kids can get to damn near anything in your house; you’ll soon learn they are like little ninjas shortly after they can walk). From time to time, I’ll even empty my weapon and leave it on the floor or bed just to test him (peeking in the room from outside the door). So far, every time, he has come to get me rather than touching it.

    As for your wife, talk about how home invasions have been increasing over the last several years. The time to go to your safe for a weapon is NOT after someone has already kicked in your door. Your weapon really should be on your hip any time you have on pants. You can also point out the fact that, depending on the source of data, between 100,000 and 2.5 million defensive gun uses occur every year. That is a lot of people who would otherwise have been assaulted, raped and/or murdered.

    Take her to the range a few times. Let her get comfortable. On that, it may be better to get someone else to do the instructing; ideally, a female.

    You should be carrying ANYWHERE you legally can. There is no such thing as “taking it to dangerous places” – anywhere can become dangerous. Think about it like this; do you only insure your car when you’re likely to get into an accident? No, because there is no way to know when that will happen. Carrying a weapon is the same thing.

    1. avatar spymyeyes says:

      with a shoulder holster you do not need to have any pants on to carry!

      After a robber kicks in your door and sees you with nothing on but your shoulder rig you might not even have to “draw your weapon” to make said bad guy flee for his life, either!

      LOL

      my beer belly is THAT awesome

  11. avatar Ralph says:

    How do I carry around children? I believe that open carry of children is the best way. Of course, you could carry them around IWB, but it’s just too uncomfortable, what with the little buggers squirming around and all. Pocket carry is also out of the question, unless you wear pants like MC Hammer’s.

    Backpack carriers and those goofy-looking frontpacks that make it look like your kid just burst out of your chest like something from “Alien” actually work well. So just hang ’em out there for all to see, even if the kidophobes complain.

    1. avatar Moonshine7102 says:

      I love syntactic ambiguity!

    2. avatar Jeremy L. Knauff says:

      Ralph, preparing for your second career as a comedian again? 😉

    3. avatar Mark N. says:

      Make it even easier. Just leave your guns layin’ around and let Darwin sort out the rest.

  12. avatar Zack Pike says:

    I’ve always got my gun on me, even when rolling around on the floor with the little ones. I’ve taken great care, and tested many different holster/location options for my two primary carry guns; G26 and G19. I trust my gear to keep the gun retained, and safe to be around my kids.

    Generally I carry appendix, but at home, depending on what I’m doing, I’ll have the gun either appendix or strong side hip. I primarily use a Bianchi thick leather IWB holster, but sometimes will use a Crossbreed Supertuck on the hip.

    My wife was a little skeptical at first… But she was originally of the mindset that a gun could “just go off”. Once I explained to her how safe a firearm can be, when carried in the right gear, she came around pretty quick.

    My whole premise for carrying in the house is a home invasion. The worst thing that could happen is I take my gun off to play with my kids, put it in the safe, and someone comes charging through the door ready to take out myself and my family… My most effective means of defense would be locked up “safe and sound”.

  13. avatar Rokurota says:

    Marriage and parenthood is about putting others first, which sometimes involves tension between protecting them (carrying) and respecting their sensitivities (spouse) and tendency to grab any and every object not attached to your person by bone or sinew (kids). When I acquired my first concealed carry gun, my wife did not understand why I carried. Sure, she checked to make sure I had it when we went hiking in the backwoods or shopping at the mall (the “most dangerous” location in our city). But otherwise, she didn’t really approve. So I kept it concealed, and over time, she’s become used to the idea that her husband carries all the time, helped along by sensible answers to questions like “Are you expecting to get mugged?” (“If I was expecting to get mugged, I would stay home!”)

    The kids, too, accept it as a fact of life that their dad carries a gun. When they were 8 and 4, they walked in on me strapping up and excitedly asked to see the gun. I took the advice I read (on TTAG and other sites) and figured “that time” had arrived. I unloaded the gun, made a big deal of chamber checking it, and let each of them hold it in turn, finger off the trigger. Their interest lasted all of sixty seconds. I then told them why daddy carries (to keep them safe) and that under no circumstances should they tell others that daddy has a gun; if there’s trouble, they are to keep quiet and let dad handle the situation. They don’t heed me all the time (go figure), but on this point, they have been solid.

    Now my boys are 10 and 5, and they’re getting too big to wrestle. A few weeks ago, we got into it, and the boys pinned me down with the goal of making off with my Droid to play Angry Birds. I was wearing an IWB holster right behind my phone and the youngest exposed it when he grabbed for the phone. I put my hand over the gun and he immediately understood and stopped. I decided then I would use pocket carry while at home.

    I don’t anticipate any of my family becoming “gun people.” The wife likes having the Glock in the bedroom and has flirted with the idea of applying for her CHP, and she practices often enough to feel comfortable. My oldest is a Boy Scout and has become proficient with rifles (he prefers single-shot bolt actions to semiautos), but doesn’t care for the P22 when we go shooting together. But I relate the above instances to demonstrate that getting people used to guns takes time. Friends who grew up in the country tell me there was always a loaded shotgun in the corner; it was just a fact of life, and like a hot stove, the kids knew not to touch. I would advise to start by concealing but not hiding. When you live with people, they’ll know it’s there, and eventually, they’ll accept the gun as a fact of life.

    1. avatar spymyeyes says:

      well rokurota,

      I give to you the “best post of the day award” and a +100 for this very well written response and insight into human nature.

      “A well spoken man is worth listening to, even if you don’t agree with him because you may just learn something, like better manners!”

      (quote from mom)

    2. avatar g says:

      +1

      “Marriage and parenthood is about putting others first, which sometimes involves tension between protecting them (carrying) and respecting their sensitivities (spouse) and tendency to grab any and every object not attached to your person by bone or sinew (kids). ”

      Ain’t that the truth!

  14. avatar Larry says:

    Start slow and work your way up to it. If she’s really concerned, start with carrying it “occasionally” with no rounds in the gun; just to prove that you can do it without anyone noticing and doing it safely. Then work to “occasionally” carrying (with ammo in the magazine) and no rounds in the chamber – again prove to her the gun is safe and won’t go off by itself or without racking the slide. Then work to carrying just about every time you leave the house. Then move to carrying a round in the chamber IF YOU feel comfortable and can do it safely. Then also carry it almost all of the time when outside the house. If you are serious about concealed carry and have children, you really should consider carrying it all day long – even in the house. It’s a lot more dangerous putting it on, taking it off, etc. Every time you do this, you have a chance of leaving it somewhere you shouldn’t. I would also suggest NOT carrying with one on the chamber if wearing in the house (Just my opinion) – just in case the gun does get put down somewhere inadvertently, you fall asleep with it and you kid pulls it from the holster, etc. In the morning put it on and at night, lock it it in a safe with quick access.

    Remember the 4 gun rules of safety:
    1) All guns are always loaded – This means treat them as if they are loaded
    2) Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy
    3) Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target (Really Important)
    4) Always be sure of your target

    If you can’t abide by these rules, always and without exception, then you have no business carrying a gun and it’s going to be more dangerous to you and and your family than not having one.

  15. avatar Pat says:

    I am new to CC, having started out just 7 months ago. I also have 4 kids aged 20, 14, 11 and 7. CC was a big issue with my wife at first but it has gone well.

    I usually carry my gun in a Uncle Mike’s inside the pants holster. All my kids know I carry and they have all been allowed to check out my guns. I have now taken all 3 of the older ones to the range to shoot. We have had many talks about gun safety. They know not to grab or touch my right hip where I carry.
    The kids occasionally ask me if I’m carrying. I always tell them I am and they are glad I do.

    Here are a few self imposed rules in my house.
    – When I come home from work (or from anywhere else) the gun goes in a safe. I have 3 safes in different areas of the house. None of the kids know the combinations.
    – Guns are never left laying around the house
    – All ammo is stored in the safes as well.
    – The kids are allowed to handle the guns only in my presense and we always check the chamber to see if its loaded first.
    – I never nap with a gun on me.
    – If I’m going to be drinking, I don’t carry

  16. avatar Joe says:

    I live in Illinois and am not allowed to carry outside my home and self-defense with a firearm is almost never an option.

    I like reading practical carry advice on this site, but it makes me jealous!

  17. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    “So if you have a reluctant spouse and little tax deductions running around, how (and when) to you pack your piece?”

    Fortunately my spouse is no longer reluctant. She was at first and she carries now as well. My little tax deductions are no problem at all. When I am sleeping or in the shower, I place my pistol in a storage location that they cannot see and is well beyond their reach — even if they stack up chairs and boxes. In fact they don’t even know where I store it. Otherwise, I carry all the time at home and away. The most secure location in the world for that pistol is in its properly fitting holster — which covers the trigger — on my hip. That pistol will never go bang unless I am pointing it at someone and my finger squeezes the trigger. So I see pretty much zero risk of any unintentional discharges.

    My youngest is fine. I taught her at an early age (two years old) to leave it alone. She hugs me a lot and I pick her up often. I play with her and lay down in bed with her at night to read books or sing songs. Again, no safety problems because the pistol is always on my hip, it is in a properly fitting holster which means it stays in the holster, and the holster covers the trigger.

    This configuration is a tiny bit harder to conceal at times but it is doable. Most importantly, I have my pistol available immediately if anyone ever attacks me or my family. And isn’t that really the point of having a pistol … so you have more options to protect yourself and your family?

  18. avatar Amarante says:

    In my home I would carry openly.

  19. avatar D says:

    Have several pairs of black CCW Breakaways khakis and shorts. Remove the paddle/belt loops from a Safariland ALS holster set to minimum tension, put your gun in it, shove the whole thing in the CCW Breakaways pocket adjusted to max depth. Bingo: comfy total concealment of a Glock 21 Gen4 (or anything smaller), with two spare mags secured by velcro Mag Socks in the offside pocket. The stripped holster covers the trigger guard, keeps the gun in the pocket during all activity short of trapeze flipping, and keeps things safe even if the gun does somehow fall out of the pocket (holster won’t release unless you hit the ALS thumb tab). The holster also keeps the pocket more open, reducing the chance of catching your hand or the gun on bunching fabric during the draw. You can have hand on gun in pocket with no one knowing, and it’s instantly accessible with a flick of the thumb. If by some chance you miss the release in the pocket and the holster comes out with the gun, hitting the release and flicking your wrist slightly sends the holster flying. Give it a try. Under 2-second draws are doable from hands free, way under 2 seconds starting hand in pocket. Ideal home carry. Took some experimenting to get to this ideal arrangement for me. Could never carry in these pants chamber loaded with exposed trigger, I spend too much time playing actively with my kids. Rule is either chamber empty without holster (not as slow as some assume, but obvious drawbacks of added motion and 2-handed requirement), or chamber loaded with good holster (i.e. the ALS).

  20. avatar geeknik says:

    I conceal carry every time I leave the house. My girlfriend and my son are both pro-gun and love to go shooting with me every chance we get. It’s never been an issue and if it was, well, I’d just have to go and find a new girlfriend that didn’t make it an issue. 😉

  21. avatar sam says:

    One of the reasons i carry is b/c of my kids. I want to have as many options available to help keep my family safe. Im lucky my wife is very supportive and carry once in a while herself. If i am with my kids I am armed. Dont forget homecarry

  22. avatar sam says:

    Hint if you can carry AIWB at about 1:00. I found that when playing with the kids my gun never gets grabbed, bumped or moved. I normally ccw a khar pm40 or xds45 anybigger gun glock 32 ect gets moved to the norm IWB 4:00 but it seem like every hug from the kids they are bump or touching the gun

  23. avatar Chad says:

    Having Children, is even more of a reason to carry a gun and carry it every day and everywhere you are legally able to do so.

    It’s your responsibility as a parent to PROTECT your children. Having a gun to me is just like having smoke detectors and a fire extinguisher in the home.

    Carrying a gun around kids changes nothing. If your a truly responsible gun owner, you have good equipment and this includes a holster that covers the trigger. Guns do not JUST GO OFF! The trigger has to be pulled.

    If you don’t carry for some reason, then the gun is locked in a SAFE. Until the child is old enough and responsible enough to be taught GUN SAFETY and how to shoot!
    Then maybe they need access to the safe, like the boy did not to long ago when he shot a home invader, to protect himself and his siblings.

    Teaching kids about guns, who knows what age is appropriate. Thats up to you!

  24. avatar Bruce W. Krafft says:

    How do I carry? In a holster.

    When do I carry? Always. When I am in bed, the holster is under my pillow, on the can or in the shower it is next to me in the sink with the door locked.

  25. avatar Uncle says:

    I have no kids of my own, but I do have two nephews that I am always around, aged 4 and 6. Their parents and I ALWAYS carry, properly holstered. They began fire arms safety training the moment they noticed the guns on our hips. They know to never touch them without us around, we actally left a PROPERLY UNLOADED and HOLSTERED gun laying about to see what would happen. The 6 year old gingerly picked it up by the edges of the holster and put it out of reach of the 4 year old and then came and told us. We were quite proud of that, eventhough he touched it without us “present”, we were watching although he didn’t know. The kids have been allowed to handle the guns, PROPERLY UNLOADED, to help dispell the mistery. If they feel the bump on our hips when we are out, they quickly remove their hand and say nothing. It has also been explained to them WHY we carry, for their safety. Also their grandparents carry and grandma is one hell of a shot, she out shoots grandpa. GOD help the S.O.B. that ever tries to harm “my boys”.

  26. avatar Mike V. says:

    When I was a wee tadpole, my father, grandfather and uncles were all hunters and shooters, plus one uncle a police officer. Nothing was hidden away. I was allowed to touch the guns just by asking. I was taught to open the action before handling. I was taught safe gun handling even when playing with toy guns. As soon as I was big enough to shoot, I was taught how. Now, a half century later, knock on wood, I have not ever had a gun accident. If you want to keep a kid from drowning, teach him to swim. If you want to keep him from having a gun accident, teach him to shoot.

  27. avatar BHirsh says:

    The answer to her question should unquenstionably be “Yes.”

    Since when does a man check his testicles into a locker the day his kid is born?

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