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20-40-60 Etiquette: Have gun, will travel?

A weapon may make some at a holiday gathering uncomfortable. [Oklahoman Archives Photo]

A weapon may make some at a holiday gathering uncomfortable. [Oklahoman Archives Photo]

QUESTION: Is it OK to openly wear a loaded gun to family get-togethers during the holidays? I have a license to carry my gun and I rarely take it off, but I wondered about the family party? I don't want to offend anyone.

CALLIE'S ANSWER: If children are around this might frighten them. I would say leave it in your car in the glovebox or something. That way it is close but not visible.

LILLIE-BETH'S ANSWER: I am not sure that a family gathering is the best place to carry a gun, unless you're officially in law enforcement and have some kind of reason that you have to keep it on. You also might be wading into political territory and open a happy gathering up to polarizing discussions about gun ownership, background checks, the types of guns that should be available to the public, etc. While many Oklahomans enjoy hunting and practicing at our local gun ranges, carrying a gun into a family party might cause more stress than you intend.

HELEN'S ANSWER: The family probably would appreciate you leaving your handgun at home. Particularly, it would be wise not to carry that day if there are ever heated family arguments during your time together. It might spook the other people there if they are not armed, too, and I cannot imagine everyone carrying guns at a party, whether it is with family or friends. It is just not good manners!

Enjoy the happy spirit of the Christmas season by not causing undue worry to your relatives.

GUEST'S ANSWER: Chuck Ainsworth, local civic leader: At one time or another, we may have wished for a weapon at a family gathering. That being said, emotions can run especially high during the holiday season. Most people have strong convictions about gun rights and particularly the open-carry laws.

Although you have presumably been through the concealed-carry class and practice gun safety, I am confident that many people would be uncomfortable seeing a loaded gun at a family party. I would advise leaving your gun at home.

Who knows? You might have a more engaging conversation with Uncle Bob if you are not packing heat.

No one wants the holidays to end with a BANG! MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Callie Athey is 20-something, Lillie-Beth Brinkman is in her 40s, and social columnist Helen Ford Wallace is 60-plus. To ask an etiquette question, email