“A week ago, four-year-old Yanelly Zoller was staying at her grandparents’ home in Florida when she reached into her grandmother’s purse looking for candy, but instead found a gun,” dailymail.co.uk reports. “Yanelly, known to her family as ‘Nelly,’ accidentally pulled the trigger, shooting herself to death.” As you’d expect . . .

gun control advocates are exploiting Ms. Zoller’s death to promote civilian disarmament. On the pro-gun side of the equation this tragic incident doesn’t change the view that the government has no business infringing on the keeping and bearing of arms. Safe storage laws? Nope.

But if we set aside the idea of government intervention in how and where Americans keep or bear arms, we’re still left with a question: is off-body carry acceptable? What about women who wear clothes that won’t conceal a firearm? Should they not carry, change their clothing or off-body carry vigilantly?

45 Responses to Question of the Day: Off-Body Carry?

  1. If you’re regularly around children, teach them to keep their grubby little fingers off your purse. There are likely all manner of things there that can hurt them. If you are *not* regularly around children, keep your eye on the sneaky little monsters when you are.

    • ” If you are *not* regularly around children, keep your eye on the sneaky little monsters when you are.”

      There’s a *very* valid point there. You can be comfortable with how you train your kids. You have *zero* input on the training of other’s little drunken mistakes.

      Frankly, I don’t have enough extra pairs of eyes to cover all of them.

      Yikes. ;O (H’mm. That’s supposed to be a google-eyed open-mouth of horror emoticon. I blame those damn kids that probably invented them…)

  2. Man! If only there was some sort of program available online to help parents teach their kids gun safety. Maybe a colorful animated short film with catchy tunes and a handy quiz afterward that was free along with storybooks and activity pages you could print off to further reinforce the lessons taught and if only it was also free for schools and hospitals to acquire and hand out to children that complete said program…. Oh wait….

    https://eddieeagle.nra.org/

    For safe storage well that’s just common sense. KEEP IT LOCKED UP OR OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN BUT SHOULD THEY HAPPEN TO DO WHAT KIDS DO BEST AND FERRET IT OUT MAKE SURE THEY KNOW WHAT NOT TO DO.

    • Man! If only there were some kind of program that had an animated eagle teach them to just wait until there are no adults around before playing with a gun, because kids are stupid. Oh wait…

      https://eddieeagle.nra.org/

      The creator of the Eddie Eagle program herself says she regrets doing so, because she didn’t know that the NRA would use it to fight safe storage laws rather than use it in tandem with them.

        • Just in case they do figure out how to get to it. Never know with kids. Still train your children and instill some discipline and you’ll be fine 97% of the time. The other 3% can be mitigated by keeping an eye on them…. I got 3 kids myself and aside from taking the older 2 out on the range and letting them shoot a 22 they leave my guns and where they’re stored alone, even the 3 year old knows not to touch my guns. Now she has picked parts up for me when they fall off the table or shoot across the room but other than that she’s happy with stealing her brothers’ NERF guns.

  3. I’m completely against off body carry and successfully convinced my wife not to do so. There are plenty of videos available that show how women can carry on their person regardless of the clothes they wear so to say they can’t is an excuse. As for this tragic event and others like it, I blame the gun owner with a lack of responsibility. If you know you will have children in your home ever, then it is your responsibility to store your firearms to prevent these situations. I’ve seen lots of comments on this and other sites about how they teach their kids about not handling their firearms. Kids will be kids and I’ll bet everyone has had a time when their kid did something they’d been told not to a hundred times and still did it anyway. When asked why they did it the response is universal. Shrug shoulders and go I don’t know.

    • Good points but there is one thing missing. CHILDREN WILL ALWAYS FIND A WAY TO GET INTO SOMETHING THEY SHOULDN’T. Locked or not doesn’t matter the lil devils will still figure out a way into it. I have locked my bedroom door before so that me and mommy could have “relations” only to be interrupted mid session by a child sitting next to the bed asking for a drink of water at 2230. Still don’t know how they managed to unlock our bedroom door…

        • They have managed to catch me and the wife in the act a couple times, that is why we started locking the door after all, so far they haven’t been too traumatized by it now I imagine once they all hit that stage where mom and dad kissing totally mortifies them we will no longer have to worry about locking the door.

  4. due to a recent post my mind went ahead a bit and read “off- body carry vaginally.” which i suppose i could do, with a willing accomplice.

    it’s been known to dwell in the tank bag or under the hinged seat with a foam cutout. but, no, not really.

  5. If a woman is going to carry in her purse, you’re unlikely to convince her not to. In Florida during the hotter months (March through November) most women are not going to wear clothing conducive to carrying anything bigger than a sub-compact .380, if even that. An attempt to convince her to carry on-body instead of in-purse is more likely to result in her not carrying at all.

    The best result I could come up with is to convince her to carry in her purse with NO round in the chamber. Yes, I understand the sayings we throw around, “if you won’t carry chambered, then don’t at all”, yes I have seen the videos of people who have been shot by a bad guy while racking their slide, etc. But if she’s going to carry in the purse, make it unchambered. That four year old isn’t going to rack that slide properly and disable the safety in 99% of cases. Most six year olds probably can’t even do that.

    If I woman absolutely MUST carry in her purse, then it might as well be unchambered. Reaching for it is going be blind, so you don’t know if something has tripped the safety, you don’t know if something is stuck in the trigger well, you don’t know if something has fallen into the barrel, etc.

    Of course, there are the concealed carry purses, but you have the same original problem, that kids can find it.

    • “The best result I could come up with is to convince her to carry in her purse with NO round in the chamber.”

      Well, *try* to convince her. We all know how well *that* will likely end up.

      Or a DAO with a long, heavy trigger pull.

      Or she can hire our Ralph as an armed guard. If the ‘Mother Inferior’ is good looking, that will be another problem for her to deal with…

      *snicker*

      • “Or a DAO with a long, heavy trigger pull.”

        Do it for the children?
        I’m thinking the harder it is to pull the trigger, the more likely it is to be pointed at the kid holding it when it goes off.
        A small child can shoot just about any handgun by wrapping 6 or 8 fingers around the back of the grip and working the trigger with two thumbs.

        • FedUp is correct.

          If a trigger is so hard that a child cannot pull it with his/her fingers (and the barrel pointing away from themselves), then the child will point the gun at themselves and use their thumbs to pull the trigger.

    • Customers rarely think to ask experts opinions of how they should carry and it is even rarer that they listen.
      I’ve observed that the customers who tell me they plan to purse carry simply haven’t thought the matter through yet – so I’ll sometimes gently challenge them to research various on-body carry methods when they get home (Sara Tipton’s articles are often cited as good sources).
      Purse carry = lack of imagination/and/or/intellectual laziness.

    • “An attempt to convince her to carry on-body instead of in-purse is more likely to result in her not carrying at all”

      That’s where I ended up… I’d rather her have one nearby than nothing.

      • Exactly right, Typical women carries the typical dufflebag because she “needs” to haul 10lbs of crap with her. AND everything/anything goes in it.

        The point above regarding carry Israeli is logical. The bad guy doesn’t know if one in the pipe or not.

  6. Nothing wrong with off body carry if one is vigilant and knows what one is doing. But, as always, stupid people will do stupid things.
    If this woman puts a gun in her purse and then doesn’t care that a 4 year old is around and in that purse, then if the accident hadn’t happened at that point, likely as not it would have happened at some other time; when she forgot the gun in the bathroom, lost it when she bent over and wasn’t paying attention, or whatever. The point is; a person who pays that little attention to their situation is an accident waiting to happen no matter what they do.
    I carry in a man purse quite a bit, as Montana defines “on the person” as concealed carry, so it gets me out of asking for government permission to exercise what by law, is a RIGHT. I use a holster fastened to the inside and it is always a D/A revolver with a heavy trigger also. I keep valuables in there as well, and NOBODY just goes rummaging around in there without my say so. So I have never had a problem, and I’ve been doing that for decades.

  7. Generally, no, but if I have no other choice, I will. An example being; my parents rent a spot all summer at a campground with rules against carry. I don’t want them to get kicked out for me disobeying the rules, so I leave it in a backpack that is either locked in my truck or locked in their camper.

  8. if carrying what looks like a 5906 as in the photo…then maybe..only because you’d need a belt made out of wolverine’s bones to hold that thing up 😀

    i kid. no off body carry. too much can go wrong.

  9. A purse is a bag for carrying all the stuff women can’t seem to leave the house without. A gun is none of those things. A deadly weapon should be treated with respect and carried responsibly, on the body where you can keep control of it and access it quickly when you need it. Having it somewhere in a bag full of junk dangling from your arm is useless when someone grabs you from behind or snatches that purse and runs off.

  10. As a practical issue, we need one of the actual high-quality women’s bag manufacturers like “Coach” to come up with a fashionable update to the fanny pack that is integrated with a belt. So it stays on, all day, even in the bathroom until clothes off at the end of the day.

    As a plus, whether there is a gun in there or not, it implies a “Hands, off, Buster!” to scumbag men who might want to prey on her…

    • It strikes me that a purse customized for the purpose is a better idea.

      A fanny pack is another item to carry around, making it less likely that most people will do so. It also runs the risk if rapidly becoming the next “photography vest” where, unless it says “PRESS” on the back and you’re carrying a bunch of cameras everyone knows it’s actually a “concealment vest”.

      • The fanny pack integrated with a belt *stays on* all day.

        The purse can be set down. That’s when the problems start.

        The default needs to be it stays on, all day, like an IWB does for a man.

        See the difference?

        • “…unless it says “PRESS” on the back and you’re carrying a bunch of cameras everyone knows it’s actually a “concealment vest”.”

          That is the *BONUS*.

          It says LOUDLY (But *fashionably*, that’s WHY “Coach” needs to be involved) I JUST MIGHT BE ARMED, BACK OFF, BUSTER!

          But for those women who don’t like guns, they can carry mace or a pack or gum, it doesn’t matter. The implied threat is there.

          The point being, creeps won’t know who is armed, all might be, gee, maybe I better not even contemplate molesting that woman…

          (Or guy. Chef don’t judge…)

        • It stays on until people take it off, which they will. Cops leave their guns in Capitol Hill bathrooms.

          You can only go so far with idiot-mitigation. Idiots will always find a way to screw things up. While I don’t have a problem with a reasonable level of attempted mitigation at a certain point you hit the point of diminishing returns.

          IMHO, the fanny pack is past that level of returns.

          I’d be willing to bet a fair sum that in a given year there are millions of instances of off body carry. It goes wrong what? Half a dozen times per year? That’s probably on par with the number of people who have an ND due to a beat up leather holster. I just feel like we have a solution in want of a problem here.

  11. Situationally dependant. Requires significant forethought and planning along with proper gear.

    IMHO, not generally a good idea but, like many things, it has a time and place. I’ve done it on occasion for specific reasons but very rarely and never in the presence of children.

    When doing so I was never more than a few steps away and had set things up in a way that multiple, intentional steps would be required to find the gun nevermind get it up and running.

  12. It seems even guys chose a gun based on their metrosexual dressing habits. I say dress around the gun not the reverse. A “fanny pack” type pouch can always be worn and is much better for carry than a purse IMO. I got my wife one for her 4.2″ SP101 and that is the only way she carries so far. Not, fast but faster than a purse. I even use it when we are camping and I have get out the tent at night to pee.

    • “Not, fast but faster than a purse.”

      And doesn’t get set down thoughtlessly. That’s why I like the concept. It removes that from the ‘loop’, entirely…

  13. I feel bad for gramma. Still shouldn’t happen. 4 year olds get into EVERYTHING. Most don’t have the cognitive ability to understand life and death. I am against off body carry unless there is NO alternative…

  14. My mother carried a 38 snub in her purse for 50 years or so. In a snap holster.

    Never had a ND..

    In addition to my carry piece, I off-body carry another in my truck.

    Anything not on my body does not have a round chambered (unless its a revolver).

    Dont have a problem with off-body carry but you afe responsible

  15. Off body carry has its place, but vigilance is required. I work out of an office that shares a location with a school. My choice is off body or not at all. I choose off body but my bag is always at my side or locked in my office (I have the only key).

  16. Anyone who does not have full control of their firearm 24/7 should not own a firearm. Off body carry is simply a problem waiting to happen, especially if there are young children around.

  17. I don’t carry around someone else’s four year old child. They’re usually not trained about guns. Which is unfortunate, they’re probably trained not to play with matches. Or should be. Training should start as soon as they can walk and are more verbal than “Mommy” and “Daddy”. I’d say as soon as they are taught not to play in traffic.

    Without knowing everything there is to know, this sounds like an honest Granny carrying for self defense. Momentary lapse in judgement ended in a tragedy. Others, I’m not so sure the gun was belonging to someone who was too drugged out to know where his or her gun was.

  18. I do have one question about this article. WHO THE HELL JUST LETS A 4 YEAR OLD GO RUMMAGING THROUGH THEIR PURSE!?!?!? Especially if there’s a gun or pocket knife in there. I’ve never let my kids go through my stuff neither has the wife since she carries her anxiety meds in her bag in case she has an attack out in public. Who was watching this kid?

    • Probably NOBODY!
      Stupid people do stupid things, and they always will(at least so long as they remain stupid). You can’t pass a law that will magically make idiots into geniuses, or make irresponsible, infantile adults grow up(but one can train them to… if one makes effort towards. Sad that the US does not…).
      If these ones don’t screw up with guns, they will kill with cars, lye and bleach left under the sink, tractors hitting power lines and gas mains, etc. All of which happen with regularity…

  19. There are no details given here about the state of the gun that went off when the kid reached in. Was it simply dropped into the purse? Was it cocked? Safed? In a holster?

    Off body carry with the right equipment can be just fine. A purse designed for it with a separate zippered compartment, containing a properly holstered weapon would not be prone to problems like a simple purse with a loaded gun floating around in it.

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