New York Times: What To Do If A Guest Wants to Bring a Gun to Thanksgiving Dinner


New York Times scribe Philip Galanes writes a regular column called “Social Q’s” in the Grey Lady’s Fashion & Style section. It’s a “Dear Abby” style column addressing readers’ question about social etiquette. Last week, an aghast correspondent asked how to handle a Thanksgiving guest who (gasp!) might be carrying a gun!

My brother-in-law is a police officer. He carries a gun, even off duty. He comes to visit us once a year. I told my sister I do not feel comfortable having a gun in the house. (I have a small child.) She said she would talk to her husband, but I doubt she has. What should I do?


No doubt Anonymous’ sister rolled her eyes at the anxiety in her sibling’s voice when the question was presented. Mr. Galanes’ response:

Follow up. Ask, “How did Jim feel about leaving his gun at home?” In the event of pushback (or noncommittal dithering), add: “We know that Jim is a responsible gun owner. We just don’t want guns in our home.” If you continue to believe she’s shining you on, install a metal detector at the front door. Happy Thanksgiving!

To say that Mr. Galanes’ response is woefully inadequate to the task at hand is an understatement. Lord knows a person has a right to dictate terms of entry to her own private property. But one usually invites close family over with few conditions.

My advice to Anonymous?

First ask: what is it about your brother-in-law possessing a firearm that makes you uncomfortable? Maybe if you can articulate that to yourself — and then to your own sister — perhaps you might find that she and her husband have answers to your concerns about gun safety that make you see that a firearm holstered on the hip of a good guy is actually a net gain to society.

Another variable to consider: how many times has anonymous been around your brother-in-law when he had a gun on him with no bad results?

On the other hand, if no reassurance is possible (either because the brother-in-law is actually not a trustworthy person, or because anonymous simply is possessed with an irrational phobia that requires treatment, and not reasonable answers from reasonable people), perhaps making this clear to the invitees might prompt them to either compromise for the sake of indulging family on a holiday…or simply decide to go elsewhere for Thanksgiving. (Presumably if the gun is a deal-breaker for a family dinner, the latter might be best for all?)

Lord knows we’ve had enough of smashmouth politics in the past year to last us a while. Trying to be a little forgiving and understanding of our family over Thanksgiving for all sides might be a good thing? After all, we are the ones who are winning. N’est-ce pas?


  1. avatar Rick the Bear (now in NH!!) says:

    “What To Do If A Guest Wants to Bring a Gun to Thanksgiving Dinner”

    Ask what it is and when can I try it.

    1. avatar Sian says:

      “Did you bring enough for everyone?”

      1. avatar Mark A Adams says:

        Or if trying it is not practical, at least ask how he likes it.

  2. avatar Gordon in MO says:

    Her brother in law is a police officer and she does not feel comfortable with him carrying in her house.

    I suspect that reveals her ( liberal ) attitude toward police and probably support for BLM, ( not Bureau of Land Management ).

    1. avatar Five says:

      Now that the British have disarmed the civilian population and are now moving on to knife crime, knife control, and I kid you not, knife turn-in amnesty programs, they have also begun to feel squeamish about police officers carrying their guns, in uniform, on duty.

    2. avatar Hannibal says:

      I know plenty of people who have no strong feelings about police one way or another but still maintain an irrational fear of guns.

  3. avatar Ralph says:

    It’s an article in the New York Slimes, so what should we expect.

    BTW, the Slimes’ largest shareholder is Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim. So if you wondered why the Slimes is so pro-Mexican and anti-American, you can stop wondering now.

    1. avatar Craig says:

      I find it hypocritical (there’s a surprise) that the regressives get the vapors when a conservative purchases a media outlet, getting their panties in a wad that he may have some influence on editorial leanings, but they have no issue when a regressive does the very same thing.
      Just sayin.

  4. avatar strych9 says:

    It’s also worth considering that the guy may be required to carry off duty…

    Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

    1. avatar Hannibal says:

      Good point; the NYPD “requires” its off duty officers to be armed (unless they cannot be armed due to another circumstances- i.e. drinking) and I’m sure there are some other departments that follow suit.

      Now, there’s no way those regulations have any force in the situation described above (unless the department literally wants to pay the officer 24/7) but it’s a good point anyway.

      1. avatar strych9 says:

        In other countries they call a speed bump a “sleeping policeman”. A cop without their gun is about as effective at stopping, say a home invasion, as a speed bump is.

        Further, a friend of mine works for an agency that requires him, as a condition of employment, to carry a weapon off duty unless he is legally impaired from doing so. So his excuses are basically intoxication (alcohol or Rx drugs legally Rxed to him) or presence in a legit GFZ such as a federal building.

        In the situation presented he would have to choose between turkey dinner and, if he was caught in a situation where he needed a gun, possibly losing his job.

      2. avatar Troy Ison says:

        Most police are salaried, and on call, and therefore ARE paid 24/7.

  5. avatar IYearn4nARnCali says:

    What fear to be a liberal adrift in the fast flowing river of Trumpian waters?

    Question to Anonymous, When did this fear take hold within you? If a small collection of inanimate metal and polymer stirs such fear you must be a complete basket case when you leave the house.
    Time for some therapy and a safe space?

    Sick of these frightened little children who LOOK like adults!

  6. avatar Boba Fett says:


    1. It should be “Grab handful of stuffing and head to your “Safe Space”.

  7. avatar Chip in Florida says:

    Her house, her rules. If i were him and she demonstrated such a lack of faith in my abilities as an adult I would say happy Thanksgiving and spend the day elsewhere.

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      One. Hundred. Percent. And I would never darken her doorway again.

    2. avatar Old Guy in Montana says:

      Your concise reasonable answer is why I wish this site had the ability to “up-vote” a comment…well said!

      1. avatar NYC2AZ says:


    3. avatar Applo says:

      There is a reason he only comes to visit once a year. His wife probably insists he attends a single token visit, and he acquiesce.

    4. avatar Ozzallos says:

      Wonder if she would be reluctant to invite an armed officer into her home in case of an attempted break-in and/or robbery? After all, she has a small child. Accidents happen, right?

      Sigh. Some people have just never had a deep thought in their life.

    5. avatar Retrocon says:

      Different tact here. I would deep conceal, say I left it at home…

      And then do nothing but talk about Trump clobbering Hillary the whole night until she gets rude and kicks us out.

  8. avatar Captain O says:

    It sounds as if the “guest of honor” isn’t the only turkey in the house. It’s time to go find an appropriate restaurant. I’m certain that there are plenty of other venues that will welcome you.

  9. Wow that’s eff’ed up! A cop wouldn’t get admitted? If my Thanksgiving had someone armed(like me) I would applaud. Thankfully I don’t have to deal with such abject puzzywhooped lunacy…Happy Thanksgiving TTAG people!

  10. avatar Missouri Mule says:

    You will never know since it is concealed!

  11. avatar Daily Beatings says:

    ” … install a metal detector at the front door”

    Well he’s absolutely correct. If you want a gun free zone then you need to enforce it. Saying this is a gun free zone because the “feelz” doesn’t cut it. It this not what we’ve been saying all along?

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      Metal detector, storage box, and *armed* guard. Then I will disarm with a smile.

    2. avatar Retrocon says:

      Yeah, I always remember the scene at the metal detectors in the Matrix…

      Lot of good those do if the person On the other side isn’t armed, right?

  12. avatar lightfoot says:

    My dad was a Detroit Police officer, and their policy was for every officer to carry a weapon OFF DUTY. Whenever dad went to grandma’s house for dinner, he always put his off duty carry gun on the top of Grandma’s china cabinet.

    Out of sight, Out of harms way for the kids. But, it was easily accessible to him, at a moment’s notice.

    1. avatar Cloudbuster says:

      It’s safer in the holster, on his belt, around his waist.

      1. avatar Applo says:

        Belts are routinely loosened during the course of the evening though.

        The china cabinet is a workable alternative.

  13. avatar Mercutio says:

    well…it would certainly cut down on the food fights…..

  14. avatar Pyratemime says:

    My mother knows I carry and I do so at her house regularly with her knowledge. This year with a packed house she has asked that I not. I told her that I vehemently disagree with her but her house her rules.

    1. avatar ActionPhysicalMan says:

      I agree, in my mom’s house she gets to make the rules, but I also get to decide whether I attend under those rules. I told her ‘no gun, no come’. She made an exception.

      1. avatar Pyratemime says:

        Normally that would be my approach. This year we have my grandfather I have not seen in 10 years and my daughter has never met and we are unlikely to see again this side of eternity.

        Sometimes we have to do things we are unhappy about in order to be good family members. YMMV/YF(amily)MV.

        1. avatar Emb says:

          I suspect that grand-dad would rather spend time with you armed than without his grand-daughter.

    2. Don’t be a “cuck”, tell your mother your weapon is as much for HER security as yours.

      1. avatar Nitrocellulose says:

        lol @ using cuck unironically

        No for real though, I agree. Don’t even explain it, just do what you normally do. If she catches it, let her make a fool of herself in front of everyone if she flips. She probably won’t, or at least my mom wouldn’t. (shoot, my mom would ask me why I’m NOT carrying :P)

  15. avatar John Dennis says:

    Liberals celebrate Thanksgiving? Do they know what they are celebrating? Do they even know how to be grateful?

    1. avatar Swobard says:

      Exactly, Mr. Dennis. Hence the growing popularity of the euphemism “Turkey Day”.

  16. avatar NorincoJay says:

    Maybe they can compromise and he can carry Israeli style with an empty chamber? You don’t pick your family.

    1. avatar Applo says:

      You don’t pick your family *until marriage*. Although, that also brings some unchosen members into the fold.

  17. avatar LarryinTX says:

    My dad was that sort of fruitcake, demanded that his students at a community college at least pretend to agree with him if they’d like to pass. This after the Naval Academy and commissioning into combat in WWII. Stayed for a career including espionage in Moscow and ship’s captain, retired and went completely (non) ballistic. My solution was just don’t tell him I’m armed. And try to avoid the twilight zone that existed around him.

  18. avatar Joseph says:

    Sometimes the liberal stupid is just overwhelming.

  19. avatar tjlarson2k says:

    So these hoplophobes are afraid of legal carry but not afraid of being a victim of crime. Makes sense.

  20. avatar DaveL says:

    What To Do If A Guest Wants to Bring a Gun to Thanksgiving Dinner

    Well, the customary thing is to bring a dish or a bottle of wine, but if you want to go that route just make sure someone else is bringing ammo and targets.

    1. avatar Button Gwinnett says:


    2. avatar Harold says:

      +1 LOL

  21. avatar 7.62x54r says:

    So, you’re carrying are ya’? Please sit in the place of honor with your back to the wall and where you can see the front door!!

  22. avatar Jeffro says:

    My Sister in Law has a no guns rule for her house. That’s why I’m home today.

  23. avatar 'Liljoe says:

    Dear TTAG,

    My brother in law wants to bring a 45acp in to the house for thanksgiving, I told him it’s either 9mm or 40; that I’m afraid of the soul-sucking traits of the 45… but I don’t think he is listening, what should I do?

    A 9mmous

    1. avatar Slab Rankle says:

      No problem. Just make a necklace from 550 cord and some 9mm cartridges. Make some for the guests, as well.

      You’ll be protected, and it will be a Thanksgiving dinner they won’t soon forget.

    2. avatar Button Gwinnett says:

      Now that there’s funny!

  24. avatar Slab Rankle says:

    There’s always the possibility that this is a complete fabrication. I wouldn’t quote from fake news sites like the NYT.

    What if her BIL wanted to bring his pet Cockatoo to dinner, or a case of the mumps, or a mistress?

    I’d be far more concerned about those other things than about a cop carrying his piece under cover.

    A homeowner does have the right to set those rules, however, as others have mentioned.

    1. avatar The Gray Poseur says:

      My first thought as well. A bull$hit made up story to push the NYTimes America hating agenda.

  25. avatar OODAloop says:

    Very glad that my wife and I are the only fiscally responsible pair in both families and have a house large enough to host everyone. So, my house, my guns.

    1. avatar Button Gwinnett says:

      Huh. I have a home large enough for my wife and I, no way we could host anything more than a half dozen for a Bible study. She doesn’t have to work unless she wants to. We have no debt. I’d say that’s fiscally responsible.

      1. avatar Scoutino says:

        No, no, no, you don’t get it! Fiscally responsible means blowing your money on huge house and property taxes.

  26. avatar Outwardhound says:

    Agree with the several posts from above of “her house, her rules.”

    Rule at my house is bring a gun, you got to bring enough ammo for everyone ’cause we are going outside to the pasture to shoot it.

    1. avatar Slab Rankle says:

      Has that ever happened?

      1. avatar Outwardhound says:

        Nearly every weekend 🙂

        1. avatar Slab Rankle says:


        2. avatar Harold says:

          Will you adopt me? I’ll bring my own ammo.

  27. avatar Bruk says:

    With different States there are different conditions!! Here in Lake Tahoe we have critters in our area that can kill us
    PERIOD!!! We have a pistol on our hip walking our dog our hiking so if we walk to our families house for Thanksgiving a gun comes along as well!!! PLUS, all of our family are Conservative Republicans so it will be celebrating won’t we??????

    1. avatar Cadeyrn says:

      You must be on the Nevada side, or as I like to call it the smoking, spitting, shooting and gambling side. I travel there as often as I can afford to. Love it!

  28. avatar MontieR says:

    Don’t have any hoplophobes in the family so there is no problem and if there were I wouldn’t go. Hoplophobes are mentally stunted liberal pansys.

  29. avatar Cadeyrn says:

    Man do I wish I could post a caption photo here. I’ll do my best to describe it.

    A guy sits on the edge of a bed looking dejected next to a beautiful woman.

    “I told her guns make me feel uncomfortable. She said we should both see other men.”

    1. avatar Troy Ison says:


  30. avatar Edward Knox says:

    To me, concealed means concealed. Just don’t say anything and you’re good to go.

    1. avatar Tom Toro says:

      Thanks, you said it before I did.

  31. avatar Publius says:

    If you were going to Thanksgiving at someone’s house and they’re afraid of inanimate objects, change your plans. The conversation would be terrible and full of nothing but insane rants involving revisionist history and psychotic rants about how Trump is “literally Hitler”.

  32. avatar Salty Bear says:

    I’m with her. You’d have to be crazy to invite an armed cop into your house.

  33. avatar Beardedrambler says:

    I love the south. Our house at thanksgiving is usally like a gun range. It’s tradition for the whole family to bring their new iron and show it off.

  34. avatar Mark says:

    First off. Unless you pat me down you won’t know I have one. From my ankle to IWB. But a active LEO you ask him to leave it in the car is dumb Liberal nonsense

  35. avatar skiff says:

    I carry all the time in the presence of my mostly progressive democrat gun hating family. It makes me smile.

  36. avatar indirect Action says:

    Don’t ask, Don’t tell.

    1. avatar Barricade says:

      “Don’t ask” me about guns, I “don’t tell” you lies!

      My sister finally figured that one out, that was the day we found out that we both have a CCW…our mom knew we both carried and never said a word.

      Never would have guessed, that was a family secret.

  37. Too many “cucks” commenting here. How many of you would turn away an LGBTQXYZ relative at your door on a holiday even if you like me don’t agree with their lifestyle choice? I guess NONE as most of us are rational people as such the time for compromise is OVER! Tell the overweight hoplophobe sister-in-law she is no longer welcome at YOUR house because you’re worried she will topple over and crush your toddler or dog, tell your anti-gun brother his underage kids are not invited to family functions.because you don’t want them to become victims of a nonexistent child molester.

    1. avatar Hannibal says:

      Please stop. Here I’m assuming you’re over the age of 13 and are using the word ‘cuck.’

      1. avatar 16V says:

        I dunno. I’m 50, and have found it a perfectly accurate descriptor of much of the current crop of “men”.

      2. Maybe “Candy @$$” is a better term yet I can’t use it because it’s “censored” here by the “auto-filter” but you tell me as you appear to be one. Haven’t you learned ANYTHING from the election results? FYI “Political Correctness” is D-E-A-D, DEAD! Now “Man up”, grow a set, at least for appearances sake and act like you have some testosterone flowing through your system.

    2. avatar Button Gwinnett says:

      Trolly McTrollster. Back to your bridge!

  38. avatar Alan Esworthy says:

    If the gun owner asked, he made a mistake. The right thing to do is to carry concealed, and concealed well enough to be very discrete, and then carry on as usual.

    That’s what I do. An LC9s in a pocket holster in cargo shorts or pants with lots of other stuff is very, very discrete. And even when I play dress-up, it is hard to spot.

    Just carry and keep yer trap shut.

    1. avatar Edward Knox says:

      ^ Pretty much this.

    2. avatar Retrocon says:

      Yeah, but what if she’s the kind of sister-in-law that likes to play strip twister? You know, we all have one in the family!

  39. avatar TweetyRex says:

    Step !) Show up with wife.
    Step 2) Drop wife off at door and talk to in-law. Tell him that since he is not welcome, he’ll never darken their doorstep again.
    Step 3) Tell him if there is ever any trouble at his home, don’t call the police, cause that will cause men with guns to show up.
    Step 4) Tell wife to call your cell phone when she’s ready to be picked up.
    Step 5) Leave.
    If your wife can’t handle this, the sooner you find out the better.

  40. avatar Mr Bad Example says:

    Only one gun? Heck, I brought by Shield, my M&p45 w/ TLR-3, and put my AK in the closet.

  41. avatar Mad Max says:

    The Times isn’t a credible source of news or advice.

    I think I might question a LEO packing a striker-fired pistol with a light trigger (Glock, etc.).

    P226?, A.O.K.

  42. avatar Marie says:

    So grateful I don’t have to worry about this. In fact, Thanksgiving day is one day I don’t have to carry because my parents have a well-armed house.

    This woman needs to understand that as an off-duty police officer, he is very likely required to carry unless he’s drinking. She’s forcing him to choose between his wife’s family and his job. Not fair of her to put him in that position.

  43. avatar Jonn Conner says:

    Stupid article

  44. avatar Button Gwinnett says:

    Rule at our house is that all guns must remain holstered unless imminent need arises. Then, judicious aim is appreciated.

    Same thing in the restroom, by the way.

  45. avatar James Campbell says:

    Bummer! The range is closed Thanksgiving – maybe we can go on Friday?

  46. avatar Mikial says:

    I don’t normally announce to people that i am carrying a gun. Of course, in my home nobody gets invited unless they are like minded with us, so it’s anon-issue.

  47. avatar Harold says:

    My sister knows I carry, and I’m pretty sure there are no guns in her and her husband’s house, but they’ve never asked me to disarm before coming to their home. I sincerely believe that when a person knows you carry and asks you to “leave it at home” it isn’t because they think the gun will spontaneously commit mass murder (reloading itself if need be) it’s because they don’t trust YOU.

    People who are for gun control simply do not trust their fellow man. We all know gun control has racist roots and the first restrictions were codified against Indians almost before the ink was dry on the Bill of Rights. Over the years our government has convinced a huge portion of the general public (mostly dwellers of large urban areas) that none of their fellow citizens can be trusted with a weapon, and that police protection is all they need.

  48. avatar John says:

    Will from someone that has had a family member ask me to leave my gun at home dont do it you may never see him again unless you go over to see him yes she has the right to ask but she needs suck it up butter cup.

    Side note
    I have never sat foot in her house after she asked me to not have it on me but she has had her and her kids at my place and yes i had my gun on me

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