Carrying a Firearm as a Parent

Often times, we talk about carrying firearms and performing survival skills from a bachelor(ette) point of view. What about those us who are parents? For many of us, we really started to get into preparedness when it dawned on us that we were no longer responsible for just us, but an entire family. That is a good thing, as long as you remember that much of what we do can be a double edged sword, both capable of saving our lives and harming our loved ones. So, how, as a parent, do we make sure that our choice to carry a firearm daily does not become a daily hazard to our children?

Parents GunsStorage: First, we make sure that our firearms are stored in a secure manner that prevents smart, curious children from accessing them. I don’t care if you use a safe, trigger locks, or what. Just remember that kids are always smarter than we give them credit for and bad things happen faster than we can possibly imagine, so whatever it is that you choose to use to prevent your children from having access to your guns, be double sure it will actually prevent access.

Loading up: When it comes time to load up and place the weapon on our person, it is best done in a separate room from the kids. This helps to prevent accidents caused by playing children and reduces curiosity by not having the gun as noticeable in their daily lives. When loading, checking, or holstering the weapon, the muzzle should always be pointed in a direction to prevent any accidentally-fired round from going into the room your family is in. I prefer to load up in a room that has a wall to the outside of the house and point my gun so that the round would go into the ground just outside of the house.

The Holster: The holster that you choose to carry is very important. If you have to pick up the child, you want to be sure that they cannot accidentally fire the weapon. To do this, the holster MUST cover the trigger completely. If it is an inside the waistband (IWB) type holster, you do not need to worry so much about retention devices on the holster. If it is an outside the waistband (OWB) type holster, however, it should have level two type retention or better. The holster should also be designed for your type of weapon to help keep it properly secured and protected.

How to Carry: No matter how you choose to carry, you need to keep in mind that you may have to pick up your child and that it is better for safety and for your ability draw the weapon if you hold your child on the opposite side of your holster.

Preparing to Defend: In addition to target practice, you need to practice using your firearm with your children around.  To do this, you should practice strong hand only firing, as well as shooting with a weighted object in your support hand. The object should be about the same weight, shape, and size as the largest child you expect to hold. As well as practicing shooting, you should make clear expectations for you and your spouse, should a situation occur with both of you present.

By practicing safe habits, having a plan, and taking your job as a parent seriously, you can be sure that your choice to carry a firearm is an asset to your family and not a danger.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Seth Belt

Seth grew up in Southern Arizona before joining the U.S. Navy. While serving in the Navy, Seth was an anti-narcotics operator and an anti-submarine operator for 5 years. He was lucky enough to travel to many of the Central and South American countries, as well as visiting many South East Asian nations and islands. One of Seth’s greatest joys from his time in the Navy was teaching new Sailors firearms education and safety. After leaving the Navy in 2010, Seth returned to Arizona and had a rough time learning how to be a civilian again, often working jobs that could barely pay the bills. After going to school, Seth became an Emergency Medical Technician in the Phoenix Valley, where he now lives with his wife and son.His areas of knowledge cover military, firearms, and emergency medicine.
Seth Belt

8 thoughts on “Carrying a Firearm as a Parent

  1. Mr. Belt,

    I must respectfully disagree with some of your opinions. Specifically:

    1. In your third paragraph you say “…and reduces curiosity…”. Now, I don’t know if you have children, but I do and I can say with 100% certainty that the way to reduce curiosity is to satiate it. Hiding things from children seems to make them more curious. Not satisfying their curiosity safely at home means when they are exposed to firearms at a friends house or school or in the neighborhood they might get an education that they (nor I) want.

    2. Also in your third paragraph you say “…to prevent any accidentally-fired round…” and in your forth paragraph you say “…accidentally fire the weapon”. There is no such thing as accidentally-firing a weapon. Weapons are either intentionally discharged or they are negligently discharged. The word “accident” implies no culpability or responsibility, when in fact the operation of a firearm is 100% always the responsibility of the owner.

    Other than those two things, I think you are spot-one with regards to keeping your firing hand free. After I started carrying I found that I had to train myself keep my right-hand unencumbered at all times. I don’t carry anything in it (keys, phone, someones hand, bags, nothing).

    Lastly, I completely support any way that a parent chooses to safely keep children and firearms around each other, but I choose to educate mine. As soon as each of my children expressed any kind of interest I began actively teaching them. One of my children began shooting at 6 (I started at 3 (with lots of help of course) and by myself at 5). My oldest children know how to access my firearms, how to load them and how to use them if necessary. There is nothing quite so useless as a firearm that no one knows how to use when it is really needed.

    Thank you

    1. I agree that curiosity is best addressed by saturation. I feel kids need to know about the gun, and know you carry it. Now I am not saying that you take all your EDC to the living room table and flaunt it, but if the bedroom door were open and they saw you load up, there would be an opportunity to educate them. By the second week, odds are they wont care anymore and it would just be something that happens like grabbing the cell phone.

      Arch – there is such a thing as accidental discharge (AD). ADs are extremely rare but they can happen when you drop a weapon that is not “drop safe,” or when someone reflexively grabs for a falling weapon and presses the trigger. ADs can also happen when a hot weapon cooks off a round (I understand that is not applicable in this situation).

      I will say that most people use the term AD for what is really a negligent discharge.

  2. As a responsible gun owner it is always practice to make sure that children you are around also know gun safety and not to handle a gun without supervision.

  3. I can honestly say there is no excuse for people who have children in the house. Quick access electronic safes (with manual key backup) are available from Harbbor Freight for as low as 30 bucks.

    There really is no excuse. If you have children, and unattended firearms they must be secured from access in some way. Don’t roll the dice – make it safe. If speed of access is your highest priority, I suggest keeping a smaller pistol on your person, or spending a couple hundred dollars on a nicer fast-access safe.

  4. Arch,
    Thank you for reading and an extra thanks for your comments. I love it when a reader can have input in a clear and purposeful manner. I cannot argue with your two points, but I do have comment on them.

    1) I am a huge supporter of teaching the kids about guns and teaching them safe habits. However, the kids need to be ready for it. My son is old enough to pull a trigger but not mature enough to start learning about it. For now, I like to remove the curiosity by removing the gun. Soon, however, I will be doing things more along the lines of your comment.

    2) I did mis-speak when I talked about accidentally firing the weapon. You are right. However, the point is the same. A shooter need to take precautions should there be negligent discharge. You are right though, it should have been stated in a way that implies reducing the danger if an operator has a negligent discharge, not an accidental one. You are always responsible for every round fired.

    Your last comment makes me happy. My son is not there yet, but soon. Again, thank you for reading and commenting. I am happy that you are passing down the 2nd A to your children.

  5. My kids (ages 11, 9 and almost 7) have grown up around firearms, I’ve taken them shooting as often as possible and nearby during disassembly, repair and cleaning. They handle our weapons frequently, always supervised and expect to be chastised on the spot for any breach of safety rules. That being said, my weapons are secured in safes and all ammo is stored in padlocked ammo boxes 24/7…with the exception of whatever weapon I’m carrying that day. Yes, I do sacrifice something in accessibility which might be regrettable if and when the situation requires immediate access to a weapon. On the other hand, I’ve minimized the likelihood of a firearms tragedy in my household. Firearms don’t forgive mistakes, they teach lessons. In a few years, the kids will have grown/gone and I can sleep with my Glock and the wife with her Beretta.

  6. One of my safety concerns, based upon night-time callouts where I wake to discover that I am already on the phone and talking to dispatch, is that I need to be fully awake before I put a weapon in my hand. As soon as I get home from work, my loaded primary and backup handguns go into a lock box. I put one back on if I leave my home. If something awakens me at night, I have to be alert enough to get out of bed, walk across the room, open a closet door, and press the buttons in sequence before I can put weapon in hand. It’s not as fast as having an unsecured weapon in my bedside table, but (a) my children couldn’t easily get a weapon, and (b) I know that I will never be half-awake in the middle of the night with weapon in hand.

  7. I agree 100% with Arch. I am a sigle mother of two boys ages 9 and 8. They both started shooting at the age of 3. I started them out on AR platform rifles and we have progressed from there. When they turned 7, they both received their first single shot .22 rifle. We are always discussing firearm safety. I do not believe in gun proofing my house but gun proofing my kids. My boys know how powerful these tools are. Yes they are tools and should be treated as such. My boys have been taught not to shoot to mame or injure but to kill. (We hunt too.) They know if I pull my pistol, it is to kill a person in self defense. I live in Fayetteville, NC where the Irish continue to conduct home invasions every single day. My boys must be prepared the next time our front door is kicked in. This is our reality. They know how to operate every single firearm I own. I teach them how to properly/safely fire each one and how to break each one down and clean them. They are proficient on rifles, handguns and shotguns of multiple calibers. I’m sure most have read the Armed Citizen reports and know how many times children have taken control of bad situations and survived. All these children were proficient in firearms. Children should be supervised at all times and taught the fundamentals of firearms. I am never more than a foot away from my boys while they are shooting and I remain a range safety. I have taken the taboo away from firearms and my boys have never touched a gun without asking. At home, my carry pistol is always on my person or no more than an arms length away. I will add that I do own multiple gun safes in order to store every firearm not in use as well as ALL ammunition.

    My point is, if you want to cure kids from firearm curiosity, teach and show them how to properly operate firearms in a safe environment. Teach them what each caliber is capable of and teach them how to properly handle all weapons. Treat every firearm as if it were loaded etc. It is never too early to begin firearms safety.

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