bedtimestories_Flickr_Lars Plougmann

Guns in movies, video games, and… children’s books?


Move over children’s books about puppies, bunnies, and saying goodnight to inanimate objects. There’s a new book in town whose authors’ goal was to “provide a wholesome family book that reflects the views of the majority of the American people.”

You guessed it. My Parents Open Carry (White Feather Press) is a picture-book about Brenna Strong, your typical 13-year-old girl whose parents lawfully open carry handguns for self-defense. In the book, the Strongs are running errands on a typical Saturday while packing heat. According to critics, My Parents Open Carry is “long overdue” with a “very good message” that “every person should buy five copies of.”

The authors hope to give children “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 they “fear our children are being raised with a biased view of our constitution and especially in regards to the 2nd Amendment.” In an interview with Armed American Radio, one of the authors Nathan Nephew said, “Most kids aren’t scared of a gun. That’s another good point this book tries to make.”

My Parents Open Carry goes a step further and brings “gun ownership in the mainstream.” It wants to show that guns are a normal thing. This normalcy of guns is why most children “aren’t scared of a gun.” They aren’t scared of them because they see them in our television shows, our video games, our movies. In the media—and now in children’s books—they are prevalent and normal. We should just get used to them being around.

And around them, we are. Thirty-one percent of U.S. households in 2012 reported having at least one gun and one child. The medical journal Pediatrics recently reported that 20 children in the United States are hospitalized each day for gun injuries—that’s more than 7,000 a year. As the gun control debate has heated up in recent years, so have the anti-gun laws, however only one state (Massachusetts) requires guns to be stored in a locked container or disabled with a trigger lock anytime they are not in use. The American Bar Association published an outline of current research and laws that restrict children from coming in contact with guns—statistics and research that have proven very effective.

But what if we decided as a nation to focus on a different ending of the story? To highlight the books that teach our children—the most impressionable and vulnerable learners among us—that we should not simply accept the fact that gun ownership is becoming mainstream. What if we decided that accepting violence is going to stop now and that our children are going to be the generation to focus solely on pro-life, nonviolence issues? Would we be able to turn our nation—one of the most influential in the entire world—into a nation that simply says “No more violence” from the ground up?

Until then, rest assured, families everywhere—after saying their nightly prayers to nonviolence-preaching Jesus, of course—can now snuggle up and read My Parents Open Carry.

Image: Flickr photo cc by Lars Plougmann

About the author

Caitlyn Schmid

Caitlyn Schmid worked as assistant editor at U.S. Catholic.