My wife is into quilting in a big way. This comes in handy at times, because whenever she says something to me like, “just how many guns do you need?”, I look in the room that’s filled with her sewing supplies and counter with “just how much quilting fabric do you need?” We respect each other’s hobbies and keep our respective distances. However, our two worlds recently collided . . .
One of the web sites she frequents is Studio Kat Designs, which sells custom patterns for quilted handbags and purses. It’s run by Kathy Southern and she just recently introduced a new pattern called “The Guardian,” claiming that it’s “the world’s 1st concealed carry handbag pattern.” Its claim to fame is a zippered pouch specifically designed to carry a pistol.
It even comes with a “complimentary holster pattern” so you can coordinate your holster with your handbag. You can order just the pattern or get the pattern with a “notions kit” that includes all the zippers, magnetic catches, slide rings and other hardware needed to complete the bag.
This is one of 28 different handbag patterns Southern offers. But this one has received the lion’s share of the attention on her blog and Facebook page. Many of the comments are quite vitriolic, sounding like they were ripped right from the gun Brady Campaign handbook:
“I’m really surprised that you are going after this type of demographic by even bringing it up. Why not go after the sexual addicts community by saying the pocket is great for bondage straps? Makes about as much sense.”
“I feel it is quite disturbing that in the climate discussion around gun control you are advocating to your readers that this bag can cater to this need.
“You have lost me here. Does carrying a gun in a pretty holster make it less deadly?”
“I am appalled that you are designing a purse with a concealed weapon holder. With all the violence in this country at this time, especially the shootings of all the school children, I just cannot believe you are doing this. I am unsubscribing and will not ever again buy your products and I am donating all of your patterns that I own to a local thrift store.”
“I find this very upsetting and I am not sure that after reading this second posting on holster construction showing a ‘toy’? gun in place that I would ever consider making one of your bags let alone purchasing another of your patterns.”
“With the recent killings of 26 at Sandy Hook Elementary School, StudioKat Designs is advertising gun holsters. Not only to I find this insensitive but also offensive. You may be addressing the small percentage of the population carrying weapons, that also sew, perhaps you should find a less public method of advertising.”
She responded more graciously than many of us would have, not that she owes anyone an explanation of products she wants to sell on her own web site. Instead of giving them a lecture on the RKBA, she explains,
I’ve been considering the idea of incorporating a concealed carry feature in a bag pattern for several years now because so many of our faithful customers have been asking me to do so. I resisted the idea until I could figure out a way to make the concealed area “a multi-use area”, suitable for safely sequestering the MANY items that women might like to store safely and separately from their main compartment.
I’m married to a former policeman so I’m only too aware of how dangerous it is out there for women who work late shifts, open and close their own businesses every day, or have to live or work in bad areas of town.
The closest she comes to actually telling them to STFU is where she says:
1. Customers who have requested this feature make up a significant percentage of our customer base… And besides, the feature is optional and the pocket can be used for other items instead, if one so desires.
2. Whether you approve or disapprove, carrying a concealed weapon is currently a legal thing to do in 49 of our 50 states (with varying stipulations). If I was marketing this concealed area as a great spot to stash illegal drugs then some of the animosity would be much easier to understand.
[I]f your personal convictions are so strong that it precludes you from purchasing or in any other way showing support for our newsletter, for this pattern, or our entire pattern line because of this feature, we’ll miss you… Mean-spirited comments and name-calling is by definition just another form of bullying and in the end, really only assures you that the listeners you are trying to persuade to your point of view will probably never REALLY “hear” what you’re saying!