We often get good questions from our students, I thought I would share one that is particularly relevant this time of year. Maybe you've encountered similar reactions from your family members, how have you handled them? What other advice would you offer Linda?
While my husband and I carry our handguns nearly every day in our regular activities, the rest of our extended family isn’t quite as on-board with our way of thinking. They know we have, train with, and carry our guns, and they rarely say anything directly regarding this practice, but we can’t help but catch disapproving looks and comments especially regarding carrying around our kids.
This holiday season, we’ll be on the road travelling to family gatherings at the homes of some of these relatives. I don’t want us to be vulnerable on the road, but I also know they won’t approve of us having guns in their homes. What’s the best way to handle this without an argument??
Aren’t the holidays the best?? The food, the sights, the smells, the memories, the… family… ?!?
I’m sure it comes as no surprise to hear you aren’t the only ones facing opposing views from the in-laws when it comes to the issue of defensive firearms. In fact, guns and politics are sure fire (pun happily intended) go-to topics if you want to heat things up on a chilly Christmas Eve!
As is always the case, you have a few options. If your family is only dropping hints about their dislike for firearms, it’s possible you can carry your guns the way you always do in their presence and they will never be the wiser. Discretion is best – there is no need to start an argument for the sake of stirring the pot!
If your family is adamant about not having guns in their home and have singled you out as a potential source of such consternation, you’ll obviously want to avoid hard feelings and furthering their negative view of what should be a benign topic. Again, you have a couple of options. You can always politely decline the invitation to their home. If you take this route, be honest about your decision. Rather than telling them Timmy has the flu (never use your kids in a lie, they will find a way to sink you every time), explain that you are respecting their wishes by not attending the family event where something you believe to be a fundamental way of life is considered taboo.
Not comfortable with that conversation? You always have the option of leaving your guns at home or in your vehicle (safely and securely locked away, of course!). If this is the route you choose, I would recommend you still take along any of the many less than lethal defensive tools I know you also carry daily. Again, there is no need to make those tools an issue any more than you would prominently display your carry gun.
Whatever you decide, make sure you and your husband are on the same page. It’s bad enough feeling vilified by others who don’t understand your lifestyle. It’s even worse if you let it come between you and the ones you love the most. Talk the issue through without emotional attachment to any particular outcome and I’m confident you’ll find a compromise that gives you physical security without causing irreparable damage to important relationships.
We often tell new concealed carriers, “When you stop acting like you have a gun, people will stop noticing you have a gun”. I would say the same is true for avoiding an argument with dissenting viewpoints. “If you act like carrying defensive tools is not a big deal, people will stop making it a big deal”. It’s a way of life, and like any other nonconformist viewpoint the more people are around you and realize it’s not really a thing, the less of a thing it will really be!
Thanks for reaching out, best of luck, and enjoy the holidays!!
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Becky is the co-owner of FEDT and founding leader of the North Dayton OH chapter of The Well Armed Woman. Her focus in the organization is course development and community involvement.
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