I wasn't real sure where to put this in this forum so moderators, move it if necessary, but recently I was emailed and asked about my opinions about concealed carry around children. This is a subject near and dear to my heart because my Dad drilled gun safety into my head when I was young. We've all heard the saying "don't kid proof your guns, gun proof your kids." I believe that's true, but I also believe it starts very early and needs to be done with a few things in mind. So let me share some some not so effective ideas or common mistakes I see. I recently did a show on this but also wanted to get some of your thoughts on this subject as well. Here goes...
Hiding your gun is a good idea, but not good enough.
Kids like to explore and find new things, so hiding your gun is of limited benefit. A child may very well go through all of the drawers and cabinets in the house. Putting the gun out of reach only works until your kid learns to climb or use a ladder or stepping-stool. (Don't think your kids don't climb on the furniture just because you've never seen 'em do it.)
Don't make the mistake of thinking your child is too weak to use the gun. Large auto loading pistols will have strong slide springs that even many adults find difficult to work, so you may be tempted to leave the chamber of a gun empty on the assumption that your child won't be able to load it. Also, there are gun locks that use a strong spring or rubber band to hold the gun, on the theory that only adults will be strong enough to release the gun. Both these methods are insecure against any child larger than an infant. Your child can probably find some way to put his entire weight on the slide or the lock, usually by carrying it to a stair step and standing on it.
Basically, if your child-proofing mechanism depends on your child's lack of height, strength, or intellect and your child is beyond infancy, it's not good enough. Children spend many years being small and weak, and they learn lots of ways to compensate. They also have a lot of spare time to figure things out. Your children can probably defeat any mechanism you can. Thus, the only effective child-proofing methods are those that also work against unauthorized adults. You need real security.
I believe the safest place for your loaded concealed carry handgun is on your person. There seems to be no substitute for hunter safety courses and for taking them to the range! Take them early and often and teach them not to fear guns and also not to be curious. Make them realize they are dangerous tools that are deadly and need to be respected.
In closing though, I think anyone who thinks children and guns can't coexist safely is sorely mistaken. Those same people are robbing their children of the fun of the shooting sports that we adults enjoy and that's not fair to the kids either.