In 2014, only days after Christmas, 29-year-old Veronica Rutledge took her 2-year-old son shopping at the local Walmart. Rutledge had her concealed carry permit and had tucked her gun—reported to be a Smith & Wesson Shield chambered in 9mm—in her Gun Tote’n Mamas concealed carry purse.
The purse in question was not on Rutledge’s shoulder, but sitting alongside her son in the shopping cart. As she shopped, a horrific turn of events took place: her toddler removed the gun from the purse, pulled the trigger, and shot her in the head. Rutledge died immediately.
At the time, the industry responded with the predictable split of those who advocate for purse carry (also called "off-the-body carry" to cover other types of bags or packs) and saw it as a terrible, rare occurrence and those who condemn purse carry. And then there are those of us who fall somewhere on the spectrum as realists.
Do I suggest purse carry to women—or bag carry to men? No, I do not. There’s more to it than a blanket statement, though. What if purse carry is your only option? Is it better to go out with no gun rather than put it in your purse? No.
Obviously this is a somewhat complex issue.
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