Carry Options When Baby (And Gun) Are on Board
Concealed Carry permit holders seem to be the only people unsurprised by the rapid and explosive growth of the market. Not only has the number of applicants continued to grow exponentially, but the industry has also spawned a growing number of related products, ranging from holsters to dedicated magazines such as the United States Concealed Carry Association publications.
Yet one niche market that has been largely ignored by mainstream media is the “packing parent.” Very little has been written on how to carry a tyke while carrying a handgun at the same time.
While there’s some controversy regarding whether carrying a gun around small children makes one a more or less responsible parent, most concealed carry permit holders agree that having children increases the need for being armed. Marko Kloos discusses the rationale in his article “The Packing Parent: The Fine Points of Carrying a Gun While Toting a Toddler” at USConcealedCarry.com:
“Not only are you entrusted with the protection of more lives than your own, but you’re also in a position that [doesn’t usually] allow you to flee from danger easily. When you have small children in your charge, your handgun is no longer a self-defense tool, but a family-defense device.” (Read more at USConcealedCarry.com)
Maneuvering children through a day of errands, shopping, and ice cream is a herculean task on its own. Trying to keep a firearm hidden beneath your clothes or out of sight while emptying your purse looking for lip balm or napkins only adds to the misery.
As if that weren’t enough, most parents carry their toddler on the strong side, resting the child on their hip in the exact spot where their handgun would normally rest snugly in its holster. Some even use slings or harness-type products that are great for carrying the little ones, but unfortunately limit access to the belt or front pockets. Carrying a child on the strong side also increases the risk of weapon exposure, which has a high degree of causing a major scene in places like playgrounds, picnics, or public libraries.
For those reasons, it’s vitally important that a parent toting both a child and a gun be extremely vigilant about concealment, but retain easy access to said gun at the same time. Fortunately, there are two options that will allow one to safely carry both.
The fanny pack’s day as an acceptable fashion accessory is long past, but if you’re carrying a kid on your hip all day, nobody is going to raise any eyebrows at your fanny pack. You can easily conceal a mid-sized pistol in there along with a wallet and keys as well as have easy access to your firearm in the event of an incident at the same time.
Shoulder holsters are another carry option for parents with small children. A shoulder holster on the weak side offers the advantage of easy access for draw while at the same time keeping the strong side hip free for tiny hitchhikers. Unfortunately, the shoulder holster cannot be worn in the open in most states, so it’s likely not a viable option during the summer.
Being a parent means being a jack of all trades, including having the ability to protect someone who cannot protect themselves. Finding a way to carry a child and gun safely increases the odds of everyone surviving an attack, which is the philosophy of the concealed carry movement in a nutshell.