The Internet is up in arms about a book that aims to teach young children about gun rights, but the authors are standing by their work.
The book, My Parents Open Carry, follows 13-year-old Brenna Strong and her parents as they run errands together -- with their firearm in tow. Brenna's parents visibly carry a handgun with them "for self-defense," reads a blurb on the book's website, which also describes the fictional family as "standing up for their 2nd Amendment rights by open carrying and bringing gun ownership out of the closet and into the mainstream."
According to OpenCarry.org, 44 states allow handgun owners to carry their weapon in plain sight while in public. Fourteen of those states require a permit, but 30 don't. Six states prohibit the practice of open carry altogether.
Published back in 2011, My Parents Open Carry caught a new wave of attention this week, including a shout-out on "The Colbert Report." It is the first book by Brian Jeffs and Nathan Nephew, co-founders of Michigan Open Carry, an advocacy group for gun owners. On the book's website, the authors say they conceived of the idea after noticing a dearth of pro-gun literature for kids. In an interview with The Huffington Post, Jeffs said he felt a children's book would help families start a discussion about gun rights and the Second Amendment.
"The idea was to develop a way to answer questions about [open carry] and I thought a good way to do that was a day in the life of someone that open carries. It was a nice platform for the main characters to interact with people that have questions, much like what we experienced in real life," said Jeffs.
He added that the book is intended to be educational and that it covers four of the basic rules of gun safety:
1. Treat every firearm as if it's loaded.
2. Never point a firearm at anything you are not willing to destroy.
3. Always be sure of your target and what is beyond it.
4. Keep your finger off the trigger until you are on target and ready to fire.
Twitter users, however, don't seem keen on the educational potential Jeffs touts.
This is so insane. ‘My Parents Open Carry’ kid’s book portrays day in the life of ‘typical’ gun nut family http://t.co/yEi4vsEguY
— Joan (@LibertyBelleJ) August 2, 2014
I often said no topic should be taboo in kids' books. Thanks, “My Parents Open Carry,” for making me eat my words. http://t.co/IehLHjhCif
— Brooks Sherman (@byobrooks) August 6, 2014
Amazon users have taken the opportunity to post tongue-in-cheek reviews of the book. Here's a standout review:
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. This wouldn't have been so bad, flesh wounds happen, other than the fact that I hit an artery and started spurting blood all over my kids Ted Nugent and Sarah Palin sheets.
Jeffs seems to be tuning out the outrage. "We think most of the criticism is by people that are anti-gun, and no matter what the story line, if it is pro-gun they'll hate it. It’s a controversial book; we get that, so we expected a certain push back," he told HuffPost.
When asked his opinion on statistics about gun-related fatalities and injuries in the U.S., Jeffs merely said that "lawful firearm owners are not the enemy."
However, according to a 2013 analysis of firearm data conducted by The New York Times, roughly half of children's accidental firearm deaths occur at home. In addition, a recent study from the Yale School Of Medicine says guns kill or hospitalize 10,000 American children each year.
What are your thoughts on this book? Share your opinion in the comments, or tweet us at @HuffPostParents.