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Kids' Books About Guns

The Controversial Kids' Book That Has Parents Everywhere Talking

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Not all books are appropriate for children. A new children's picture book attempts to tackle that question on the minds of children across the nation: why do my parents open carry?

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Let's ignore for a moment its clever marketing tag "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… that's a $15.99 value!"

Actually, on second thought, I'm not sure what is worse: a self-help manual on how to raise your sons to hate girls, or this book aimed at children: My Parents Open Carry.

Admittedly, I learned something new from this book because I didn't even realize that "open carry" was a term. I assumed it was a grammatical error. But it is, and 13-year old Brenna in the story (because most picture books are aimed at 13-year olds) wants to know why her parents open carry firearms — like to the bookstore.

Yes, another thing I learned is that I need far more protection at the bookstore than I thought I did.

So, what's the answer that children are desperate to know? According to the book, "Open carry can deter a crime, it's a faster draw, and it's more comfortable in the summer when we wear lighter clothing."

Clearly these parents haven't learned that golden rule: fashion before function.

It's the intent that frightens me. I'm not interested in open carry becoming normalized for children and "more mainstream" as the book hopes. It's the same reason I don't let my children play with toy guns. I don't want to live in a world where it is normal for teachers to be armed or your local pastor to be packing heat during his sermon. If we do, we are creating an undercurrent of fear where it doesn't belong.

There is something really scary about people who think at any moment, even in the bookstore, they might be attacked. Clearly, there are people in a constant state of alert who also "have a faster draw" when the stranger who picks up their dropped keys taps them on the shoulder.

But, back to the book. Should children read it? Some people will think that it is better to have the conversation than not, even if they don't agree with open carry. But, me? I'm just relieved the book is so badly written and illustrated it won't even be popular with its intended audience.

Should children read this book?

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