Don’t Shoot, Baby

The zombie apocalypse is not yet upon us.

So I sort of choked when I read the article Iowa Mother Teaches Babywearing and Gun Carrying Workshop. Lots of American mothers think they need to conceal-and-carry, and having a baby doesn’t change that. So, logically, it would be easier to wear the baby and the gun at the same time than wear the gun and tote a baby carrier.

imageI’m going to posit something here. It might be shocking to some people, but hold on:

Babies + Guns = Bad

Let’s be honest. Guns should not be near babies and toddlers. You know what my toddler – like, it seems, a American toddler every other week – would do with a gun? He’d pick it up, point it at someone, and pull the trigger. This isn’t because I let him watch Lethal Weapon, people. He saw it on Star Wars. We’ve talked about not touching “real guns”. But talking can only cover so much three-year-old impulse control.

I don’t hate guns. My five-year-old actually owns a gun. My dad bought it for him and keeps it at his house, and we all suspect this is mostly because the birth of a grandson made a really, really convenient excuse to buy a shotgun. My five-year-old has never set eyes on said gun. He’s never seen any of Poppy’s guns, actually, which are kept locked up, separately from ammunition, and used for hunting animals, which are then eaten. When my five-year-old is twelve years old then maybe we’ll talk about hunting with Poppy. I don’t think Obama should come and take your guns.

But it’s been proven that right-to-carry laws lead to violent crimes. Other countries control gun violence, in part, by regulating who can buy guns and what guns they can buy. You can read lots of other statistics elsewhere, and howl about your misinterpretations of the vaunted Second Amendment in the comments, but the fact remains: America has way, way, way more gun deaths because America has way, way, way more guns.

The thought of those guns mixing with small children scares the bejeezus out of me.

actual screencap from the instructors facebook page.

Facebook screen capture.

I go to babywearing meetings. People put down diaper bags. Babies crawl around. Toddlers dig through things. Preschoolers maul people and jump around. If there’s a poorly-secured gun, a child may find it. A child may shoot it. And that babywearing meeting suddenly has a dead baby.

Don’t tell me that all gun owners store their guns safely. We know that’s not the case.

Don’t tell me all gun owners keep their guns on their persons at all times. We know that’s not true.

Don’t tell me that all gun owners make sure their guns never go off accidentally. We know that’s not true either.

You might be a safe gun owner. But that doesn’t mean everyone else is. I’m way more afraid of that everyone else than I am of the dear friend with the conceal-and-carry who wears both baby and gun responsibly. I am baffled by her choice. But I know she won’t leave her handgun in a purse where my toddler can find it.

You might say you need the gun to protect the baby. But what are you protecting the baby from? Violent crime rates in the US have fallen dramatically.

You might say that you’re responsible, and would never leave a bullet in your chamber, put a gun where a child could touch it, or keep a firearm in a way that would allow anyone to know you even have it. But how do we know that?

You might say you have extensive law enforcement, military, or other training. But what about the people who don’t?

Screenshot 2015-03-03 at 6.21.03 PMSome have argued this workshop is a great idea. After all, it teaches parents how to “do it safely.” However, no certifications are necessary, and “no experience is required.” While the teacher may be a great babywearer and a gifted firearms instructor, that seems wildly irrresponsible. Conceal-and-carry instruction varies widely state by state, and even instructor by instructor. Are you relying on people to have safe instruction after you’ve taught them how to pack heat with a child strapped to their back?

Maybe a very few people, such as former law enforcement officers, need to pack heat and a baby simultaneously. But since this isn’t The Walking Dead, the rest of us are perfectly safe without it. Don’t tell me you need to shoot every coyote you come across. Unless you’re up against a mountain lion or a grizzly, you don’t need a firearm. And in those two cases, why the hell aren’t you wearing bear bells?

Everyone but Americans finds all of this utterly appalling. Call me an honorary Canadian, but you should read what the European mothers think about wearing a baby and a gun at the same time. There’s a lot of shock, horror, and disbelief. Seriously.

I promise I don’t hate your guns.I don’t agree with your interpretation of the Second Amendment, your right to carry a handgun, or your need to do so. I also don’t think you’re a rabid prepper, a member of a fringe militia, or David Koresh. I don’t think you’re an idiot. But I do think you’re wrong here.

And I don’t want your gun near my kid.

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As usual, this is written as an independent member of the babywearing community and not on behalf of any organization of any kind, so help me flying spaghetti monster.