Ron Larimer over at the When The Balloon Goes Up blog has written a post asking the above question.
I had written a comment on his post, but when I read it before posting it, I realized I was essentially refuting the premise of his post.
What I was going to say is, why are you carrying in a manner that you have to explain anything to your kids?
First, the point of concealed carry is that your gun is concealed. Seriously, if your kids can tell you are carrying a gun, so can everyone else. That’s not concealed.
Second, if your kids know you carry a gun, what’s the big deal? More importantly, if it were a big deal, how do you kids know it’s a big deal? What in their life and experience has taught them that carrying a gun is bad, or needs to be explained?
I’ve helped raise two really good kids, who are now 21 and 16. One neat thing I found raising my kids was that they tended to learn from me. If I made a big deal out of something, then they learned that something was a big deal. If I didn’t make a big deal out of something, they learned it was no big deal.
For example, at our house we keep a big dish of candy on the kitchen island, and everyone is free to partake. It’s always been there, and as a result, my kids don’t make a big deal about candy. That dish can sit around for weeks without being refilled.
On the other hand, we have a neighbor who refuses to keep candy in the house, “so her kids won’t be unhealthy.” So, when the neighbor’s son comes over, the candy dish goes up in the cabinet, because he’s made it into a wasteland before. To him, candy is a big deal.
In a way, it’s been the same way about guns in our home. They have always been a part of our home, and we’ve always taught good safety practices. So it’s never been a big deal. And just as we know candy is a big deal to some people, we know some people make a big deal about guns in the home. But we don’t.
Just as it isn’t a big deal for me to have a spare tire in the car, or a fire extinguisher on the deck with the charcoal grill, or a backpack in the trunk of the car with provisions to get us home, my kids know it’s not a big deal for me to carry a gun. The world is an uncertain place.
Growing up, my kids knew we had guns in the house. They came to the range with me, and came to competitions with me. It was part of our life. Interestingly, though, when the time came to teach them how to defend our home, part of that was showing them where the pistol safe was. And I found out that neither of them knew where it was, until then. It’s not that I made a big deal of hiding it, I just never made a big deal of having it in the first place.
Likewise, when neighbor kids came over, my kids never made a big deal about having guns in the house, either, because it wasn’t a big deal. I had no explaining to parents, no apologizing.
So, I contend that, if your attitude toward gun ownership and carry is right, you won’t have anything to explain. And that makes it a lot easier.