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Thread: Open Carry with young children

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    Regular Member z28power's Avatar
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    Open Carry with young children

    I am new to Open Carry and with a 3 year old, I know that as soon as I start I will inevitably get the two favorite questions she has right now: "What's that?" and "What are you doing with that?"

    I'm all for straightforward education and was originally just planning on explaining to her that it is a gun. "A real gun" Yes, a real gun. "You can shoot bad guys with it?" It's very dangerous and can hurt people, but only if they are trying to hurt you, Mommy, or Daddy. It's only for grownups to use and you should not try to play with it. It's real and can hurt really bad. Yes, like the stove. I obviously am an advocate for educating and normalizing the guns so that the curiosity factor is eliminated, but at 3 years old I think "Only grownups can use it" is an adequate response.

    How have you handled explaining the gun being so out there and normalizing it without having to worry about your kid going to preschool the next day and telling everybody that Daddy has a gun to shoot bad guys with?
    Last edited by z28power; 03-07-2014 at 02:03 AM. Reason: grammar failure

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    Moderator / Administrator Grapeshot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by z28power View Post
    I am new to Open Carry and with a 3 year old, I know that as soon as I start I will inevitably get the two favorite questions she has right now: "What's that?" and "What are you doing with that?"

    I'm all for straightforward education and was originally just planning on explaining to her that it is a gun. "A real gun" Yes, a real gun. "You can shoot bad guys with it?" It's very dangerous and can hurt people, but only if they are trying to hurt you, Mommy, or Daddy. It's only for grownups to use and you should not try to play with it. It's real and can hurt really bad. Yes, like the stove. I obviously am an advocate for educating and normalizing the guns so that the curiosity factor is eliminated, but at 3 years old I think "Only grownups can use it" is an adequate response.

    How have you handled explaining the gun being so out there and normalizing it without having to worry about your kid going to preschool the next day and telling everybody that Daddy has a gun to shoot bad guys with?
    No - not quite that simple though is it. (rhetorical)

    Tell him/her that many good things can hurt if not treated right. Mommy and daddy cook on the stove, but stoves can burn you. Guns are like that.

    Let him/her touch it (remove the mystique) with gun in a totally safe condition, but make it clear he/she is not to do that w/o your permission - just like the stove. Also say that you'll teach more later - let the child set the pace.

    Many children quite young have gotten involved in supervised shooting.

    As your child progresses in life, keep up with the natural curiosity and increase the knowledge. The real danger comes with the lack of knowledge, not the abundance of it - still younger ones require small doses, fitting of their attention span.

    When appropriate say that you never want to harm anyone, but that loving and caring means being willing to protect the younger ones too - it is what responsible/good daddies do..........and give him/her a great big hug for me.
    Last edited by Grapeshot; 03-07-2014 at 07:10 AM.
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    My Parents Open Carry children's book

    Paperback: 40 pages
    Publisher: White Feather Press (January 13, 2011)
    Language: English
    ISBN-10: 098317511X
    ISBN-13: 978-0983175117

    http://www.amazon.com/Parents-carry-.../dp/098317511X
    Last edited by Nightmare; 03-07-2014 at 07:23 AM.
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    Regular Member z28power's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nightmare View Post
    Paperback: 40 pages
    Publisher: White Feather Press (January 13, 2011)
    Language: English
    ISBN-10: 098317511X
    ISBN-13: 978-0983175117

    http://www.amazon.com/Parents-carry-.../dp/098317511X
    I'm glad there's published books on the subject. This one seems like a nice collaborative effort and deals with a teenager & parents that open carry. I'm more concerned with the best way to expose the openly carried firearm to a 3-4 year old, remove the curiosity and minimize the whole thing as ordinary so as not to cause issues with her friends at school, saying daddy has a gun and will shoot you if you're bad, or something similar to this. Kids say the darndest things, after all

    Grapeshot, thanks for the ideas too - I like keeping the stove metaphor that she already understands and can relate to, and will have a discussion with my wife about some of your points. I know she still has a slight fear of firearms herself. She loved going shooting with me and handling hte gun in that environment took some of the fright away. She's not scared of either .40 I have and said the kick wasn't bad after she knew what to expect. However she still doesn't like the idea of having the guns out in the open with the daughter around. She prefers them in the safe until needed for shooting, or more recently CC. She (wife) is open to me OCing with just some moderate fear so I think I can talk this one through and have a pleasant outcome for all involved.

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    Moderator / Administrator Grapeshot's Avatar
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    Why Does Daddy Wear A Gun by OCDO's own John Pierce.

    http://www.lulu.com/us/en/shop/john-...t-5448074.html
    You will not rise to the occasion; you will fall back on your level of training.” Archilochus, 650 BC

    Old and treacherous will beat young and skilled every time. Yata hey.

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    Campaign Veteran Running Wolf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by z28power View Post
    I'm glad there's published books on the subject. This one seems like a nice collaborative effort and deals with a teenager & parents that open carry. I'm more concerned with the best way to expose the openly carried firearm to a 3-4 year old, remove the curiosity and minimize the whole thing as ordinary so as not to cause issues with her friends at school, saying daddy has a gun and will shoot you if you're bad, or something similar to this. Kids say the darndest things, after all

    Grapeshot, thanks for the ideas too - I like keeping the stove metaphor that she already understands and can relate to, and will have a discussion with my wife about some of your points. I know she still has a slight fear of firearms herself. She loved going shooting with me and handling hte gun in that environment took some of the fright away. She's not scared of either .40 I have and said the kick wasn't bad after she knew what to expect. However she still doesn't like the idea of having the guns out in the open with the daughter around. She prefers them in the safe until needed for shooting, or more recently CC. She (wife) is open to me OCing with just some moderate fear so I think I can talk this one through and have a pleasant outcome for all involved.
    If you don't make it a big deal, she won't think it's a big deal. It seems unlikely she'll say anything of the sort, unless she's been told already that you're planning to "shoot bad guys." You're already on the right track by normalizing the presence of the firearm. Again, she won't get excited about something that's just a regular item. Just like any other tool in your tool box, or knife in the drawer, or cleaning supply that must be kept out of reach.

    Also, kudos to you for putting the time and energy into doing this correctly.
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    Regular Member Rusty Young Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by z28power View Post
    I am new to Open Carry and with a 3 year old, I know that as soon as I start I will inevitably get the two favorite questions she has right now: "What's that?" and "What are you doing with that?"

    I'm all for straightforward education and was originally just planning on explaining to her that it is a gun. "A real gun" Yes, a real gun. "You can shoot bad guys with it?" It's very dangerous and can hurt people, but only if they are trying to hurt you, Mommy, or Daddy. It's only for grownups to use and you should not try to play with it. It's real and can hurt really bad. Yes, like the stove. I obviously am an advocate for educating and normalizing the guns so that the curiosity factor is eliminated, but at 3 years old I think "Only grownups can use it" is an adequate response.

    How have you handled explaining the gun being so out there and normalizing it without having to worry about your kid going to preschool the next day and telling everybody that Daddy has a gun to shoot bad guys with?
    Greetings from sunny, dry Arizona z28power!

    In my experience, the part I bolded above only makes them more curious about the forbidden object.
    Don't know about three year-olds and OC, but I do know about explaining knife carry (~11" total length on the hip). I explained it while the father (my cousin) was there, and one at a time to be able to control their attention. The use of the stove analogy is one that does seem to work quite well, and I used it of them as well.
    I simply explained that some people in the world have bad intentions, and pointed at the tv to remind them of the kinds of things that happen in the state. I also explained that the knife was not a toy, but a tool like the others I carried, and would only be taken out of its sheath and used if necessary. Make sure they fully understand that last part (tool, and only out of sheath/holster when needed).
    If they want to touch it, you can let them start with touching it while it is sheathed, and as their maturity allows, move up to having them hold it in their hands to really look at it.

    Now I am working on exposing and normalizing them to my 1911.
    I carry to defend my loved ones; Desensitizing and educating are secondary & tertiary reasons. Anything else is unintended.

    “Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place.” - Frederic Bastiat

    "When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle." - Edmund Burke

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    Regular Member carolina guy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grapeshot View Post
    No - not quite that simple though is it. (rhetorical)

    Tell him/her that many good things can hurt if not treated right. Mommy and daddy cook on the stove, but stoves can burn you. Guns are like that.

    Let him/her touch it (remove the mystique) with gun in a totally safe condition, but make it clear he/she is not to do that w/o your permission - just like the stove. Also say that you'll teach more later - let the child set the pace.

    Many children quite young have gotten involved in supervised shooting.

    As your child progresses in life, keep up with the natural curiosity and increase the knowledge. The real danger comes with the lack of knowledge, not the abundance of it - still younger ones require small doses, fitting of their attention span.

    When appropriate say that you never want to harm anyone, but that loving and caring means being willing to protect the younger ones too - it is what responsible/good daddies do..........and give him/her a great big hug for me.
    +1 I have done this with 2 of my 4 so far...works well.
    If something is wrong for ONE person to do to another, it is still wrong if a BILLION people do it.

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    Regular Member southernredneck1's Avatar
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    Check out corneredcat.com. I recommend this site to anyone who has questions about guns or open carrying around young children.

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    Activist Member golddigger14s's Avatar
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    Although I didn't start carrying till my kids were teenagers, I think the biggest thing is to get them acclimated to the point they "don't care" about it. I think now a days the biggest concern will be when they start attending school. They may get the anti-indoctrination from the holophobes at the school. Your kid may make one simple comment about daddy has a gun, and some idiot takes it out context blowing it totally out of proportion. Did you hear that little Suzy's dad has a gun? The next thing you know the school is on lock down when you come in for a parent teacher conference. Or the kid eats a pop-tart into an inappropriate shape. I think I saw in the news that there was a parent that was banned from a school for posting their CPL status on facebook.

    Anyway, don't hide it from the kid, but educate them.

    Here is an awesome example how one person handled a youngster:
    http://waguns.org/viewtopic.php?f=46&t=27417
    Last edited by golddigger14s; 04-14-2014 at 12:33 PM.
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    Campaign Veteran MSG Laigaie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grapeshot View Post
    When appropriate say that you never want to harm anyone, but that loving and caring means being willing to protect the younger ones too - it is what responsible/good daddies do..........and give him/her a great big hug for me.
    My children were Army/Airforce Brats. Mom and Dad were always armed and there were always weapons in our home. I started them off with sitting at the kitchen table and cleaning weapons with them. It got the mystery of the tool out of the way and constant, constant reminders of the safety factor. Later, we took them to the range with us to teach the use of the tool and the great responsibility it is to carry on a daily basis. Teach them young, before they have a chance to acquire bad habits.
    "Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the people's liberty teeth (and) keystone... the rifle and the pistol are equally indispensable... more than 99% of them by their silence indicate that they are in safe and sane hands. The very atmosphere of firearms everywhere restrains evil interference .When firearms go, all goes, we need them every hour." -- George Washington

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    Regular Member Rusty Young Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MSG Laigaie View Post
    My children were Army/Airforce Brats. Mom and Dad were always armed and there were always weapons in our home. I started them off with sitting at the kitchen table and cleaning weapons with them. It got the mystery of the tool out of the way and constant, constant reminders of the safety factor. Later, we took them to the range with us to teach the use of the tool and the great responsibility it is to carry on a daily basis. Teach them young, before they have a chance to acquire bad habits.
    This is truth, this is wisdom.
    It would also explain why the oldest of my cousin's children was the most shy around my gun the first time I OCed in front of them. More exposure to the anti-Freedom message.
    I carry to defend my loved ones; Desensitizing and educating are secondary & tertiary reasons. Anything else is unintended.

    “Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place.” - Frederic Bastiat

    "When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle." - Edmund Burke

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    Regular Member Maverick9's Avatar
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    I guess I would resist the temptation to say 'An OC-er is just like a policeman, though perhaps spends more time practicing', but if a youngster is not afraid of police with firearms, why would it be a problem with their parent, whom they should trust more than a stranger in uniform?

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    Regular Member WalkingWolf's Avatar
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    Young children do not in my experience make issue of the makeup mommy wears, or the jewelry. At that age they do not know daddy has a muscle car, it is just a car. Personally for me, I do not make a big deal of it, though I have no little children, those days are long past. My children did not notice these things until other people pointed them out to them. School teachers are bad for this, anybody that has some influence on a child that has the power to influence them. Otherwise your children will think it is normal, even if you wear clown shoes. They will not know they are clown shoes unless someone tells them. If and when they do ask, don't beat around the bush, just give honest answers.
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    I think my children got tired of me having them field strip their Star Super As by the time they were 12 or so they could do it blind folded.

    They are both grown and independent , good conservative , Christian, pro 2nd, self supporting adults.
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    Here is my experience with my 3 year old. He knows the cardinal rule Do not touch and tell Mommy or Daddy. We have taken him out shooting to watch us and others ( the last time we allowed him to shoot with Daddy's help) and are now teaching him to ask before touching when we have the guns out for cleaning (or in tonight's case to open carry) so he can learn if it is safe or not. Meaning unloaded and we check before letting him look closer. He did not ask at all about my husband open carrying tonight for the first time. I was actually surprised on that but if he sees it then he will consider it normal. You have to treat each kid differently and go with what works for your child. My oldest we have been direct and honest and used kid friendly terms as much as possible. It also helps he has been around firearms since he was born so he has been learning from the time he could crawl and get into things that they are not playthings. I think the direct and honest approach is best. If my kids come to the day they ask why then I will say that I am using my right as a citizen to carry my firearm. When you are older you can do the same. Nothing about bad guys, nothing about law enforcement, just using my rights because they are there for me to use. But like I said each child is unique so you need to figure out what works best for yours

    Just my two cents and not everyone may agree but it is what is working for our family. Yes guns are kept locked and out of reach however we also allow the kids to see them up close to actually look and break the curiosity of "ooh what is that?"

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    Regular Member z28power's Avatar
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    I guess the talk and open carry has officially normalized the gun for my daughter, at least. Here's the text I got from my wife this morning:




    Obviously I have a holster, and she doesn't have one, but it's amazing how quickly kids can just accept the way things are. We'll correct the gangsta tuck into the pants, no worries.

    Just love how quickly she is OK with it, from what I posted last month, to this today.
    Last edited by z28power; 04-04-2014 at 01:43 PM.

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    Regular Member OC for ME's Avatar
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    If you tough it withoutMama and Daddy's permission you have to clean it. Kids hate cleaning.
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    Regular Member LinemansWifeXD9's Avatar
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    3 and 6 year olds

    Guns are a way of life in our KY home. Both my husband and I OC regularly - WITH our children present. Our son is almost 7 and our daughter is 3. They also watch us shoot (them inside, us outside). They understand that they are NOT allowed to touch, unless we are in a lesson (Yes, they are BOTH learning to shoot, obviously within reason). They know the purpose of carrying... depending on the situation - we are doing one of three things... #1 Target Shooting - #2 Hunting or #3 Carrying for personal protection.

    Guess it's a non-issue in our house, my kiddos are used to it.

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    Regular Member Rusty Young Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by z28power View Post
    I guess the talk and open carry has officially normalized the gun for my daughter, at least. Here's the text I got from my wife this morning:




    Obviously I have a holster, and she doesn't have one, but it's amazing how quickly kids can just accept the way things are. We'll correct the gangsta tuck into the pants, no worries.

    Just love how quickly she is OK with it, from what I posted last month, to this today.
    That kind of stuff brings up lots of warm fuzzies. You get to know how well you've taught her AND it is normal. Congrats to you and yours!

    Quote Originally Posted by LinemansWifeXD9 View Post
    Guns are a way of life in our KY home. Both my husband and I OC regularly - WITH our children present. Our son is almost 7 and our daughter is 3. They also watch us shoot (them inside, us outside). They understand that they are NOT allowed to touch, unless we are in a lesson (Yes, they are BOTH learning to shoot, obviously within reason). They know the purpose of carrying... depending on the situation - we are doing one of three things... #1 Target Shooting - #2 Hunting or #3 Carrying for personal protection.

    Guess it's a non-issue in our house, my kiddos are used to it.
    Welcome to OCDO and greetings from sunny, dry Arizona, LinemansWifeXD9!
    Nice job with the kids, at this rate they'll be lightyears ahead of the curve by the time they can buy their own.
    I carry to defend my loved ones; Desensitizing and educating are secondary & tertiary reasons. Anything else is unintended.

    “Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place.” - Frederic Bastiat

    "When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle." - Edmund Burke

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