Tooled up: Bea takes sensible precautions before entering the crime section of the book shop.
A new “wholesome” picture book by two Michigan-based authors aims to show children the benefits of having parents who openly carry handguns.
The authors of My Parents Open Carry say their goal is to provide “a wholesome children’s book that reflects the views of the majority of the American people, ie that self-defence is a basic natural right and that firearms provide the most efficient means for that defence”.
The book depicts a day in the life of the not-so-subtly named Strong family – Dick, Bea and daughter Brenna.
Be prepared: There could be a threat lurking among the cucumbers.
As the blue-eyed trio leave the house for a fun Saturday out, 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.”
Going about their weekend chores, the pistol-packing pair bump into various townsfolk who admire their decision to “open carry”, including neighbour Mr Wright.
“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.”
Guns are fun: The Strong family love to show off their weapons.
Brian Jeffs, president of a pressure group called Michigan Open Carry, co-authored the book with Nathan Nephew, a founder of MOC.
On the MOC website, Jeffs sets out the benefits of displaying a large-calibre pistol while shopping and socialising.
“It’s true that open carry has many advantages: a faster draw, a larger calibre handgun and greater round capacity; sure it’s been shown to deter crime, and it is immensely more comfortable to carry in warm weather, but it is much more than that,” he writes. “Open carry brings gun ownership out of the closet. It shows your friends and neighbours, your state and your country that you are not afraid of taking on the responsibility of protecting yourself and the ones you love from evil.”
The MOC website also carries a list of positive comments apparently from sources including James Towle, host of American Trigger Sports Network ("Outstanding, outstanding…every person should buy five copies of this book...”) and Alan Korwin of gunlaws.com (“I love it...boy does this fill a vacuum!")
However, on Amazon, where the book is listed as a best-seller in the Government Books category, reviews appears mixed at best.
Tongue firmly in cheek, “Greeny” gives the book five stars.
“My kids need to know why daddy has a .38 strapped to his hip on the school run, in the supermarket, and at McDonald’s, so this book is a god-send,” he says. “They need to know the peace of mind that comes from knowing you can gun down any bears, terrorists or argumentative store clerks/waitresses you might encounter when going about your day-to- day business.”
Reviewer Malc McGookin also remains unconvinced.
“Your determination to interpret your 2nd Amendment as the right for every halfwit and their child to own and operate a firearm virtually without restriction is being paid for by the blood of innocents,” he writes. “You carry your guns because you are scared and gutless.”
And “Kevin F” has a grammatical point to make: “By the way ‘Open Carry’ isn't a verb. And I'll stand my ground and shoot in the face anyone who pretends it is.”
About 85 Americans are shot dead daily, 53 of them suicides. According to data from the FBI, in Michigan in 2012 there were 682 homicides, 78.59 per cent of which involved firearms.