Parents

Want to parent while packing heat? Mom teaches class on carrying a gun and a baby

Parents eager to carry both a baby and a gun on their bodies can now attend a class to show them how it’s done.

A mom of three who is a certified gun safety instructor recently led an unusual three-hour workshop, titled “Babywearing and Carrying,” at the CrossRoads Shooting Sports, an indoor range in Johnston, Iowa.

Participants tried on various holsters and learned the basics of “safe holster and carry systems while babywearing,” according to an ad for the class. The instructor also offered tips on safe gun handling and storage around kids.

There was so much interest that another session is in the works, said Tom Hudson, general manager and owner of the facility.

“It went pretty well… we felt that this was a neat thing to bring to the community,” Hudson told TODAY Parents. “It was a bit of a pilot, if you will, to gauge reception and interest.”

Although the practice of babywearing — carrying a child in a sling, wrap or carrier close to the caregiver’s body — was new to Hudson, he noted the female market is the fastest growing segment of the sport shooting industry so, he said, offering the workshop “was a no-brainer.” About a dozen people signed up — mostly women — for the Feb. 26 class, he said.

The session was led by Melody Lauer, who describes herself as “a wife, mother and woman with a gun” on her blog, where she offers advice on how to carry a gun and a baby.

“I have practiced extended breastfeeding, co-sleeping and babywearing with all three of my children. I’ve also been armed,” she writes.

Lauer did not immediately respond to a request for an interview, but she called the workshop a “much needed class” on her Facebook page.

There were lots of enthusiastic comments in support of Lauer and her workshop, but other parents are expressing concern.

"Let’s be honest. Guns should not be near babies and toddlers," wrote Elizabeth Catanese on her blog.

Lauer says there’s been a surge in the number of moms interested in guns, and there are few instructors addressing their needs, so she hopes classes like hers can cut down on the number of accidents, she told KCAU-TV in Sioux City, Iowa.

She also emphasized that she has never advocated that parents should arm themselves nor said they are safer with guns.

“The decision to have a gun in your home or on your person is yours and yours alone. It is a serious responsibility. I do not take that lightly and I do not advocate one way or the other,” Lauer writes on her Facebook page.

“I am serious about safety and training. If you decide a gun is for you then I absolutely encourage you to seek training and be as safe as you can be and never take that responsibility for granted.”

Follow A. Pawlowski on Google+ and Twitter.

This article was originally published Mar. 5, 2015 at 4:10 p.m. ET.

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