Parents openly carry firearms in US pro-gun lobby children's book
'My Parents Open Carry' aims to explain ‘the right to bear arms and the growing practice of the open carry of a handgun’
Sporting a cover image of a blue-eyed family with guns clipped to their belts, a new American children’s picture book is setting itself out as the solution for all those parents who “carry a gun and sometimes struggle with how to best explain the reasons” to their children.
My Parents Open Carry, by Brian Jeffs and Nathan Nephew, co-founders of the pro-gun Michigan Open Carry, has been released by small US publisher White Feather Press. The picture-book follows a “typical Saturday running errands and having fun together” for Brenna Strong, 13, and her parents, say the authors. “What’s not so typical is that Brenna’s parents lawfully open carry handguns for self-defence.”
Jeffs and Nephew say they were moved to write the book because they “looked for pro-gun children’s books and couldn’t find any”. My Parents Open Carry is, say the authors, “written in the hope of providing a basic overview of the right to keep and bear arms as well as the growing practice of the open carry of a handgun”, because “we fear our children are being raised with a biased view of our constitution and especially in regards to the Second Amendment”.
“Our goal was to provide a wholesome family book that reflects the views of the majority of the American people, i.e. that self-defence is a basic natural right and that firearms provide the most efficient means for that defence,” they write.
The independent news website Raw Story reported that Nephew told Armed American Radio, the official radio programme of The United States Concealed Carry Association, that “most kids aren’t scared of a gun – that’s another good point this book tries to make.”
The title has drawn a host of positive reviews, according to the authors’ website (where they add that “for a limited time only, White Feather Press is giving away a free copy of the fun book Raising Boys Feminists Will Hate! by Doug Giles, with every purchase of My Parents Open Carry in book form. That’s a US$15.99 value!”).
Alan Korwin of gunlaws.com is quoted saying “boy does this fill a vacuum”, James Towle, host of the American Trigger Sports Network calls it “outstanding” and “long overdue”, and John Roshek, founder of the Citizens League for Self-Defence adds: “Loved it, I ordered a copy for our school’s library”. Another supporter, one “Hood”, is quoted on the book’s website calling it “a wholesome children’s book on the joys of having parents carrying guns openly”.
It has drawn less positive write-ups elsewhere. “Modelled on the gay parenting books of the 1980s (right down to the moustache) this is a vital instruction book for everyone who wants to teach their children tolerance. Tolerance of moustaches that don’t match the wig, and tolerance of people who need to over-compensate for ‘something’ by brandishing a gun in public. Don’t worry, we get both messages, loud and clear,” wrote one reviewer on Amazon.
“This started out as a 5 Star rating, but quickly went downhill as the evening progressed,” wrote another. “After saying our prayers to Jesus and Charlton Heston, I sat on the edge of my kids’ bed to read them this book, when I shifted my position and accidentally set off my 9mil that was strapped to my hip, shooting myself in the thigh.”
It was described by Raw Story as portraying a “day in the life of a ‘typical’ gun nut family”, and “a primer for the children of gun nuts who’ll be lucky to see their 10th birthday”. “As a prologue to the kids, I’d like point out that – no matter what mommy and daddy say – over 10,000 kids are shot each year in the United States and having a gun in the home makes you less, not more safe,” wrote TBogg at Raw Story.
Children’s book publisher Elizabeth Laws, meanwhile, took to Twitter to say that it was the first time in 25 years that “a children’s book leaves me speechless”.
“Would love to deconstruct everything wrong with this. #1, Open Carry isn’t a verb,” she wrote. “Bad enough that her parents pack heat, but who made a teen wear a granny blouse? Or tease her hair? #badparenting.”