Gun debate comes to children's books

The book 'My Parents Open Carry' is by the co-founders of the pro-gun organization Michigan Open Carry, Brian Jeffs and Nathan Nephew, who said they 'looked for pro-gun children's books and couldn't find any.'

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    'My Parents Open Carry' is by Brian Jeffs and Nathan Nephew.
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A new book is bringing the gun debate to a whole new level: your child’s bookshelf. 

“My Parents Open Carry,” by Brian Jeffs and Nathan Nephew, co-founders of the pro-gun Michigan Open Carry, follows 13-year-old Brenna Strong and her family on a “typical Saturday running errands and having fun together,” the book’s blurb reads. “What’s not so typical is that Brenna’s parents lawfully open carry handguns for self-defense.”

That’s right, a children’s picture book starring … handguns.

Recommended: Gun laws: How much do you know?

The books' authors said they “looked for pro-gun children’s books and couldn’t find any,” so they decided to write their own.

"Our goal was to provide a wholesome family book that reflects the views of the majority of the American people, i.e., that self-defense is a basic natural right and that firearms provide the most efficient means for that defense," they write

The book’s publisher, White Feather Press, calls “My Parents Open Carry” a solution for all the moms and dads out there who “carry a gun and sometimes struggle with how to best explain the reasons” to their children, as the Guardian reported.

The book’s cover features blue-eyed Brenna posing with her parents, each with handguns clipped to their belts.

The story begins as parents Dick and Bea “retrieve their handguns from the locked gun safe and check them to make sure they are loaded. They place the handguns in their holster … in plain sight on their hips.” 

As they go about their day, they run into folks like neighbor Mr. Wright, who praises their decision to “open carry.”

“I see you are both packin’ as usual, good for you,” he says, cheerily. “You just never know when you might need to protect yourself and loved ones…. It’s best to be prepared I always say.”

The book, not surprisingly, has drawn heated feedback – positive and negative. 

“I love it…. boy does this fill a vacuum,” writes Alan Korwin of gunlaws.com on the authors’ website.

“Outstanding, outstanding … every person should buy five copies of this book” writes James Towle, host of American Trigger Sports Network.

And from John Roshek, founder of the Citizens League for Self-Defense: “Loved it, I ordered a copy for our school’s library.”

Others, however, reacted with horror. 

Children’s publisher Elizabeth Laws tweeted,

On Amazon, many users left tongue-in-cheek comments like this one. “This started out as a 5 Star rating, but quickly went downhill as the evening progressed," wrote one reviewer. "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.” 

Others poked fun at the book’s cover (“The cover was designed by someone who we assume gets off on frightening children with his or her creepy, dead-eye drawings of humans,” writes E! Online), the book’s grammatical mistakes, even the protagonist’s clothing (“"Would love to deconstruct everything wrong with this. #1, Open Carry isn't a verb," Laws tweeted. "Bad enough that her parents pack heat, but who made a teen wear a granny blouse? Or tease her hair?”).

On a more serious note, many observers took the opportunity to point out that gun accidents wound or kill tens of thousands of children each year. According to a study in the journal Pediatrics, nearly 10,000 children in the US are injured or killed by firearms every year.”

Raw Story called “My Parents Open Carry” "a primer for the children of gun nuts who'll be lucky to see their 10th birthday.”

Readers who order “My Parents Open Carry” from the authors’ website will, for a limited time, also get a free copy of Doug Giles’ “Raising Boys Feminists Will Hate!” 

We’re not kidding.

Parents, if you have a young son and you want him to grow up to be a man, then you need to keep him away from pop culture, public school and a lot of Nancy Boy churches," the description of the book reads. "If metrosexual pop culture, feminized public schools and the effeminate branches of evanjellycalism lay their sissy hands on him, you can kiss his masculinity good-bye because they will morph him into a dandy. Yeah, mom and dad, if – if – you dare to raise your boy as a classic boy in this castrated epoch, then you've got a task that's more difficult than getting a drunk to hit the urinal at Chili's.”

You can add “My Parents Open Carry,” and “Raising Boys Feminists Will Hate,” right next to “A Rule is to Break: A Child’s Guide to Anarchy," “Maggie Goes on a Diet,” and “We Shall Never Forget 9/11: The Kids’ Book of Freedom” coloring book.

Husna Haq is a Monitor correspondent.

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