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Grocery store trips are no fun. It takes a long time and I normally have a two-year-old and a four-year-old running around getting into things and asking for candy. And blurting things out that are innocent enough, but could cause some concern. Take, for example, my trip on Tuesday last week . . .

As I was perusing the lettuce, trying to decide which two looked the best, my four-year-old daughter thought she’d take that moment to say rather loudly, “Mommy, your gun is showing.”

Of course I checked. It wasn’t. My .40-caliber XD was just a slight lump under my shirt (as always). Immediately, about eight heads in the produce section snapped my way. I calmy kneeled down and grabbed my little sweet pea in a hug and whispered to her “Sweetie? We don’t talk about mommy’s gun in public. Ok?” She said “OK Mommy. I just didn’t want anyone to know you had a gun. It’s a secret right?”

She did try to whisper this time. Yet again, heads turned my way. A few watched and a few quickly left my vicinity. I told my daughter we could talk at home.

As I stood to collect my lettuce, I tried not to watch the other shoppers. All I needed was one hoplophobe to call 911 on me to ruin my day. Fortunately, in this rural area, not many were around anymore – except for a gentleman that nodded at me and patted his right hip. Copy that.

Once home, after putting away my groceries, I sat next to my child and calmly instructed that we don’t mention mommy’s gun. She shouldn’t talk about it at school. She shouldn’t talk about it with her friends. It’s a secret. She said, “But Mommy, why is it a secret?”

Good question.

I explained that I have to hide it because we live in California, where it’s illegal to have a gun where someone can see it. The questions keep coming. I felt like I was on trial. “But why do you put it outside your shirt at home?”

I tried to explain. I can wear it in plain view  while on our property, or on the property of someone else who approves, because that’s my right as an American. I can’t show my gun in the store where others can see I  because . . . some people are scared of guns.

“But why would they be so scared, mommy? You always have your gun and it’s not scary to me and brother.”

Uh . . .

If you can’t explain a law meant to protect children to a child, maybe it shouldn’t be a law. But the good news is I’m not raising a hoplophobe. And it made my day when she said, “You’re a good mommy because you have a gun.” I smiled and said, “You and your brother are the main reasons I take my gun with me all the time.” That seemed to satisfy her. And me. But not California.

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  1. Glad it all worked out for you that day.

    I have our son, DIL and three toddler grandkids moving to central CA in two weeks and we’re not happy about that, but son and his wife have zero interest in firearms anyway.

    Short of that state ever getting some common sense about gun laws (and many other things) I have sympathy for those who for whatever reason have to live there.

    Best wishes on that score and for your continued recovery from the medical issues.

    • Duct tape them in the closet! Don’t let them go!
      It is painful here..
      Don’t be surprised if this is a short term move.

    • maybe your family will start to care about their rights once they are infringed upon.

    • But why is it that Californians are fleeing their state and starting to intrude in my state (NM). And to top it off they don’t like the culture here and want to start changing the laws & cultures here.

      I heard a comment a few years ago from a neighbor who recently relocated here from CA. that (paraphrasing) “there are too many people here who carry around their guns & bows with no concern in the world. Somethings gotta be done about it.”

      That really bothers me!

      • We live in northern VT and we’ve seen people moving here from NYC, Long Island, CT, MA, NJ, etc. and the very first thing they do, seemingly, is immediately set about replicating the places they came from, complete with PC nonsense in the schools and media, and overturning existing laws and ordinances and/or coming up with new ones. They periodically try to run anti-gun legislation here and so far it’s failed but they don’t stop trying and each time they get a little closer, thanks to media and government support. When we do a search for the main instigators, they almost always have come from somewhere else and are not native Vermonters.

        This really, really bothers us, and when we or others speak up about it, we’re told that it’s America and they should be able to change things however they want through the so-called democratic process. To me it smacks of old-time fascist and communist tactics, where they use existing democratic methodologies to subvert them and then deny any rights to the people who have been living here all along.

        Quite frankly, it’s infuriating.

        • It would be useful to the folks in all the States suffering from immigration of Progressives from failed States to learn whatever we can about this process.

          Imagine the conservatives in the mesas of NM or the ranches of TX. They don’t have much opportunity to come into contact with the invading contagion. So, they don’t see it coming and won’t have a plan to cope when it hits them.

          You folks in VT are more densely populated. You see the contagion immediately and recognize it for what it is. If you guys (and others in like situations) can identify the manifestations, develop coping mechanisms and discover what works-/doesn’t-work then you will be able to forewarn our brothers in the Red States.

          • Point well-taken; we see the process and our means of coping with it has involved both showing up at legislative hearings and getting our views out in the media and on the net. Some years ago several progs on a city council here tried to ramrod some anti-gun ordinances through while the city manager was away on business for a couple of days. They’d obviously planned this well in advance, bastard sons of bitches that they are, but word got out. That night the city hall was packed with pro-gun supporters and another crowd outside on the steps and on Main Street, most of them OC. The small police force stood by and watched. End of putsch right then and there.

            The lesson here is intel, pure and simple; collection and dissemination of same. 7×24.

            By the way, this state is not exactly densely populated; the biggest city has 50,000; that place and the college towns and state capital are where this kind of prog activity are generated. And the total population of the state is roughly equal to the city of Boston’s. With much rural landscape, plus state forests, wildlife management areas, land trust properties, and the Green Mountain National Forest covering half the state with part of the Appalachian Trail. A significant number of folks here still have dial-up internet and aren’t ever gonna see fiber. And a ton of roads are still unpaved; cell service in many areas, including here at our house, sucks.

            • “By the way, this state is not exactly densely populated; . . . ” I have not been to VT; I can only imagine what it might be like based on my background in MN.

              I suspect that you are densely populated in the social sense that I intended. OK, so, you have a big forrest that takes up a lot of geography; but, it’s not a political hotbed. The gun owners – I imagine – live in small villages and surrounding rural areas where the houses are about 1/2 mile apart. As such, I suspect that you are in touch with one another as neighbors normally are. Moreover, you are not far away from the largest cities which are the fissures into which the Progressive immigrants insert themselves. Therefore, you are in a much better position to keep an eye on what’s going on than, for example, in TX.

              Texan gun owners may be many miles from the next neighbor and hundreds of miles from the nearest large city. As such, it’s harder for Texans to keep their ears to the ground to discover what’s going on in Austin or Dallas. If they want to testify on a municipal ordinance or a State law they have to take a pretty large chunk of their work-day to get there and back.

              Similar remarks might be made about other States. E.g., gun owners in Washington State are in the eastern and central precincts and probably spread-out more; less in touch with what goes on in the major metropolitan areas on the western coast.

              • Points well-taken. Most of us here can get to the state capital in two hours or much less, and we’ve made the trip several times recently to let the Snake House denizens know what we think and also made sure the media got a slice of it. Thus were several recent anti-gun efforts defeated. The host of this site has posted several such stories here and some of us responded accordingly, again, fairly recently.

                Right now the antis are lying low but we know full well their dogged and insane persistence in this folly.

          • Wouldn’t surprise me in the least. These gremlins are relentless. Nothing but time and money on their hands. Some of us work for a living and raise children and take care of our homes and property.

  2. Sara, I can sympathize. We have kids as young as 8, and I have had to talk to them about me carrying and whether they should talk about it. I don’t tell them it is a secret, I just tell them it is nobody’s business. I have explained all this to them and don’t feel I need to keep reminding them. I also don’t ask them if I am printing. I will check it out in a mirror myself.
    They also know that I carry so that I can protect them if something bad happens.

  3. Well being a super mommy in California is hard these days.
    Even though I live in Tracy, which by all accounts is pretty rural, it is still within the grasp of the government. Our Sheriff is less than enthusiastic about handing out CCW, and the fact we have to qualify on ever gun, up to three only, by serial number is the lunacy this state has fallen to.
    Kids grow up with respect and understanding, and know darn well you are a “good guy with a gun”.
    To them it is as normal as breathing air.
    Sadly a few frightened adults, driven by an agenda, have decided we apparently can’t handle our own lives like adults.

  4. Wonderful, and I am glad it didn’t lead to a LEO encounter.This should be a poster to put up in schools and daycare centers, maybe some people could read it and get a free clue.

  5. Too bad that 4-year-old going on 40 years old couldn’t ask “Why?” of some CA legislators.

  6. Good for you Sara. Happy to hear that you take reasonable precautions to protect your family. Glad that you live in rural CA, not LA or the Bay Area. Of course if you lived in those areas, you would be deprived of your CCW anyway. Kids do blurt out stuff sometimes don’t they?

  7. Thank you for your posting.

    Initially, I thought that CC was enough. However, eventually, it began to dawn on me that CC keeps us in-the-closet. Non-gun-owners never see us; they don’t see us hunting, target-shooting or carrying in-the-home. Out-of-sight; out-of-mind. Though we commingle with them daily (in the free States) they go on living as-if guns are for criminals or cops. It’s something we just don’t talk about or allow ourselves to be conscious of in polite company.

    And so, we are rearing-up another generation of hoplophobes around us.

    Eventually, I came to understand that OC is probably essential for the Right-to-Carry to be recognized as part of American culture. This isn’t to say that we have to be in-your-face creating a ruckus as our initial impact on the general public; to do so is most likely to be counter-productive.

    What we need to do is introduce OC as a political statement in those States where it is legal and find creative ways (e.g., empty holster marches) for places where it’s still illegal.

    In California you don’t have the option of OC; so you have to be creative/clever if you can dare to come-out at all.

    • Agree, handguns not seen or spoken of in “polite” company effectively do not exist. In reality, I have guns, I shoot guns and I really enjoy owning/caring for them. I’m of an age, don’t really much care about being politically correct anymore. I talk about shooting with a women’s shooting league and how much I enjoy it. So far, no one has fainted or been distressed. Some are intigued some reveal they also enjoy shooting, most are polite or said nothing.

      When open carry becomes legal I will OC where legal, it’s not like indecent exposure for Pete’s sake, it’s not attention seeking, not showing off, not trying to intimidate anyone. It’s just the the most comfortable manner of having a gun on me since carry more full size handgun now.

      • I think yours is the right idea.

        It’s kind of tough telling a mother with school-aged children that she should be the path-blazer. SHE should subject her children to hoplophobic abuse by teachers and other parents through their classmates. Somebody’s got to take the first step but probably this burden shouldn’t be placed on those who are least able to take the fall-out.

        We OFWG, on the other hand, don’t have to fit-into polite society any more. We are at liberty to be curmudgeons. And, we aren’t particularly threatening in the images we project. We have an acceptable pretext; we aren’t the young fighters we used to be and we can’t outrun the thugs. So, we have to carry.

        Maybe young women without children are sometimes also in a better position to blaze the OC trail or at least talk about self-defense in polite company.

  8. well-handled. I’ve had the very same conversation with my 8 yr old. He’s so proud of his Savage and thinks it’s cool that Dad can protect his brother and mommy, but had a hard time understanding that he couldn’t go to school and tell his friends about the bullseyes and bottles he drilled over the weekend. i explained to them that not everyone thinks guns are ok to have, and some people think that adults aren’t good parents if they let their kids shoot guns.

    • “…some people think that adults aren’t good parents if they let their kids shoot guns.”

      Unfortunately, this is the bottom line on this topic.

    • … my 8 yr old. He’s so proud of his Savage … but had a hard time understanding that he couldn’t go to school and tell his friends about the bullseyes and bottles he drilled over the weekend.

      Why would you order your son not to tell his friends about the fun time he had shooting targets? You should be encouraging him to talk about it … that is the sort of thing that gets the next generation interested in shooting sports. I’ll bet a week’s pay that most of his friends will be keenly interested and want to come over and try it themselves (under close adult supervision of course).

      • If he tells his friends and they tell their parents, some of them won’t let his friends play with him any longer.

        • So be it. If the parents of his son’s classmates are so rabidly anti-gun that they won’t let their children play with a child who (gasp!) owns a small rifle, I don’t see the loss.

  9. I do not have children but I did see someone post on a forum once that his method of preventing this exact scenario was to teach his children to refer to his EDC by a common first name (Bob etc). That way they would say that bob was showing rather than “your gun”. Seemed ingenious to me.

  10. I assume that the man who patted his hip was doing so out of sheer terror and as a bluff against you. Kind of like that lady that patted her purse and pretended to be “packin” in the article a few months ago.


    • I thought he was just another friendly CCW holder showing her that he stands with her, that she is not alone. He was packing too. Maybe I misunderstood.

  11. It’s a bridge I have yet to cross, but I’m sure it’ll come up at some point. Thankfully this is Florida where it wouldn’t be so odd. My GF’s son knows I carry and knows to keep quiet about it. But things happen, ya know?

    Now, here’s an interesting sidebar question…

    Do schools ask kids about guns in the house in general? My issue is that they might, and my GF’s kid might mention it because an “authority” figure (a teacher) is asking. And the mention could be wrong, i.e. “oh, Mommy’s BF has a machine gun” (referring to one of my semi-auto rifles) and all hell breaks loose.

    • Funny thing is that the teacher may well call a semi-automatic rifle a “machine gun”. However, that terminology seems incorrect to me. After all a gun is a machine so all guns are “machine guns”, right? But a fully automatic repeating firearm is a different “machine” than a semi-automatic. Doubt that most teachers wouldn’t know the difference though. And, of course, you don’t want the local Swat team throwing flash bangs and breaking down your door because the teacher was too “ignorant” to know the proper thing to ask. Not that he or she should be asking that question in the first place but that is another topic.

  12. I had a small panic attack when I pictured myself in the lettuce section and everyone staring at me.

    Glad to hear you are raising kids that understand it.

  13. Uh . . .

    If you can’t explain a law meant to protect children to a child, maybe it shouldn’t be a law.


    You do realize, though, that plenty of laws have objectives which have nothing to do with actually being beneficial to the Good People of the United States of America … such as laws that children do not understand.

  14. Suppressed laughter in my humble little cube is HARD!

    I can just hear my kids, when they were small, saying the same thing.

    The heads snapping around? Priceless!

  15. “If you can’t explain a law meant to protect children to a child, maybe it shouldn’t be a law.”

    Or, just possibly, the law really isn’t meant to protect children, that’s a smokescreen they throw up to try to hide the fact that they just want to control people.

  16. My child is mad because he turns 18 in 79 days and can’t carry for 3 years. Join the military, shoot competition, but no CCW or open carry unless we are hunting. He can’t even be a cop until 21, unlike when I turned 18. He can even privately purchase a pistol@ 18 in SC. Some of the gun laws here are great but others need to read the constitution.

  17. It ain’t just California! No one wants to be outed by his kids (or anyone). They’re curious buggers, so I just told my kids that we don’t advertise daddy’s carrying so as not to alert the bad guys, which is partly true. Later on, I explained the truth: that some people are irrationally fearful of safely carried guns. They screwed up their faces in a big “HUH?” but accepted it.

  18. 2 CCW’s in one produce section? That’s one saved friggin store. Sounds like a right polite place to shop.

    • Meeting another CCW carrier in the wild is awesome. I was at a High School reunion in Florida and there was a lot of talk about gun rights, etc early last year. As I was leaving a conversation a woman in a flowy dress patted the just visible lump on her thigh and mouthed “357”. Amazing feeling you’re not the Lone Ranger.

  19. Our kids have been exposed to guns since birth. All grown now and both daughters carry as well as my son. The girls used to tell new boyfriends not to freak if dads cleaning guns when they would bring them home. It wasn’t intentional but depending on the boy I may have let them think it was. (Ha) They all started shooting handguns at around 6, when they were old enough to understand what they were doing. My son was putting the pistols back together after I cleaned them when he was a little over three.
    There have been some parents over the years that asked with concern if we had guns in the house when their kids would come over. Our response was always “if we do they are not accessible to anyone that shouldn’t touch them”, and left it at that. Some kids never came back which was fine with us as we didn’t really want our kids exposed to leftist ideas.
    Kids exposed to guns at an early age learn quickly what they can do. That its not a toy and something you never play around with.

  20. Leave California. Come to Missouri where the only reaction to your daughter’s announcement MIGHT be someone asking what you carry and then discussing the perceived pros and cons of that choice. I was in Walmart this afternoon and encountered a young lady whom I shall call Danielle. She works there but was off work today, simply getting a pizza from a vendor in the front of the store. We began talking carrying guns and ended up in the foyer where I showed her the CZ-75 I was carrying and she told me she’s getting a Ruger SR-9C. Danielle’s co-worker was suprised to learn that Danielle is a CCW instructor; she then asked how she could sign up for a class. Leave the People’s Republic of California and come back to the United States.

  21. That’s some funny stuff right there. On a totally unrelated note, has your eye healed up completely? Cellulitus is some bad jou-jou. Had a few days in the hospital back in April from that (tick bite got infected).

  22. On a more constructive note, here is what I explained to my young child. In simple terms there are some things that we do not talk about with people outside of our immediate family. In other words we keep some things private. One of the things that we keep private is how mom and dad own handguns and carry them.

    Nothing more, nothing less. It seems to have worked wonderfully.

  23. Sara,

    I hear that. We were at a religious ceremony at someone’s home when that was an issue.

    I used to carry a S&W 642 in an Uncle Mike’s belt pouch. As this was a bit of a dressy event, I put the revolver in a front pocket holster. My son stood in front of me and, when all were quiet (of course!), his head bumped backward into my pocket and he said aloud, “What’s in your pocket!” I whispered that he should ask me later and, thankfully, that was the end until we got home.

  24. We had several conditioning sessions with the kids when I started carrying.

    The gun is a secret.
    You break a secret by talking about it.
    You talk about it when you think about it.
    Think about something else.
    (Repeat twice daily for months)

    So far many years and no accidental disclosures.

  25. The first rule of fight club is never to talk about the fight club.

    Unfortunately I’ve had to tell my son NOT to talk about my guns and our near-weekly range trips to anyone. Not to his friends at school because they may tell others. Not to teachers because many believe only bad people have and use guns. He replies I’m not a bad person and I don’t do anything bad with my guns.

    My son, having grown up at the range, now teaches other children at the range about where it is safe and where they can play. The other parents are grateful because children are more likely to listen to someone of their own age.

    My son goes with me to range so often it is said his attendance is better than most of the members. And he is very proud when I do well or win a prize.

  26. I kept it simple with my 5 year old son (now 7). Guns are like your private parts. We don’t show or talk about them to anyone else but mommy and daddy. It’s a concept they can relate too. Not sure this would have help in the store since she was talking to you. But just like parenting. They always seem to find a way to undo your best laid plans.

  27. Too funny Sara. Reminds me of my grandkids-except there’s no guns around(sadly)…

  28. It’s really sad, because I remember growing up in New Jersey in the late 70s and 80s and we used to bring cap guns to school without ever there being a problem. And not the old style paper cap guns, these were the cool ones that looked like real weapons, that had the magazine you loaded up with the plastic strip and all.

  29. “If you can’t explain a law meant to protect children to a child, maybe it shouldn’t be a law. ”

    Nailed it. If the courts need to know the meaning of “shall not be infringed”, they can put two young children in the back seat of a car with a line down the middle of the seat. Tell each child “this is YOUR side, stay on YOUR side.” Then go on a 2-3 hour trip. Those kids will know exactly what is meant by “infringed”, including any infringements on their airspace. “Mommy, he’s on MY SIDE!!”

    Have to wonder why supposedly intelligent lawyers, judges and politicians cannot understand the meaning of the phrase. (Oh, wait, that is “supposedly” intelligent.)

  30. At a significantly older age, my son answered the question a hoplophobe directed at me while OCing in GA.

    “Why do you think you need to have THAT?”

    Before I could answer, my son, very annoyed, interjected:

    “Because I’m worth it, what about yours?”

    He continued as she perfected her deer in the headlights expression:

    “What? Just stand there and watch the die?”

    She had 3 brats and it would have taken a fork lift to get her jaw off the floor. It was beautiful. Said not another word to me.

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