Talking with your family and friends about concealed carry can be a delicate topic for some and it has been brought to my attention a couple of times in the past few days.
The first was in a tweet from the US Concealed Carry Association alerting everyone to a new post…
I got my LTCF about a month ago. I have been trying to figure out how to explain why I am carrying a gun. They are 10 and 9. Also do you tell them its a secret and not to tell anyone?
Note LTCF = License to Carry Firearms
When I started carrying my wife was still very anti-gun and seeing it was uncomfortable for her. This struck me as odd because she trusts me enough to marry and have 2 children with me and she was fine knowing it was there, but seeing it was uncomfortable.
My kids were a different thing altogether…
They weren’t afraid of the gun, but the fact that I was carrying highlighted a risk for them, that they had previously been unaware of.
One of our conversations went like this…
Kid #1: Dad. Why do you carry that? [pointing at the gun]
Dad: To protect you, your sister, your mother and I from bad people.
Kid #1: Why do you need it?
Dad: Well, because sometimes bad people have guns and sometimes there is more than 1 person.
Kid #1: Bad people have guns?
Dad: Yep and that is why good people need guns too.
Kid #1: Oh.
<<Fast Forward to bed time>>
Kid #2 [crying]: DADDY!!!!!!
Dad: What’s the matter?
Kid #2: I don’t want bad people with guns to come get me.
Dad: They won’t. Did they come yesterday?
Kid #2: No.
Dad: Did they come last week?
Kid #2: No.
Dad: Did they come last year?
Kid #2: No.
Dad: But if they do, I’m here and I’ll protect you. [kisses her on the head]
Dad: Now go to bed.
For my wife, she needed time to be socialized to the gun and talking with me and friends normalized it.
For my children, there was no fear but it highlighted the risk of an armed attacker.
In both cases talking about it helped them work through their fears. And it wasn’t a single conversation, but a series of conversations over time.
Additionally these conversations need to occur, so your kids understand why you don’t want them randomly hugging you around the waist in public or why you want to carry them in weak arm or why you want to face the door at the restaurant.
As for it being a secret…
There are times and places that your kids should know to not mention it. Public school for instance.
I am in a slightly different place now in that EVERYONE knows I carry and if they mention it at school (Private School) or at a neighbor’s house, it is just a matter of fact and no one thinks twice.
Both kids know that I will talk to them about guns, gun safety, why I carry, what guns I like or don’t like, whatever… whenever they want. They also know that it isn’t a secret, but that there is a time and a place to discuss it.
The only way you get there is by talking with your children, spouse, family members, friends and/or neighbors.
More than likely it is a bigger deal to you, than it is to them.