I take a lot of things into consideration when I buy a handbag. OK, not really, it usually just needs to be expensive and I'm already sold on it. I do like to pretend to be very ladylike, so I love a bag I can carry in the crook of my arm.
One thing I don’t ever consider when purchasing a bag is how I will pull my gun out of it quickly in case of an emergency. You probably don’t consider this factor either, unless you are a girl who has a permit to carry a concealed weapon.
I never realized that 1) so many ladies were toting guns around with them to the grocery store, and 2) that they needed a special purse to do so until my mother emailed me this article from my hometown newspaper, the Austin-American Statesman: “Packing In Style: Women Want More Fashionable Options In Their Gun Bags”. Girls with guns are such an under-served fashion market!
These handbags all have a secret side compartment that hides your gun in a quick-release holster. They are made by a Texan designer named Kate Woolstenhulme. As with most designers, she concieved the idea for the bags because she couldn't find what she liked. "I was wearing sundresses all the time," she says. "It wasn't like I could slap on an ankle holster."
These purses make perfect sense, really. Why should chicks who pack heat be forced to carry plain, boring bags? And why should they have to fumble around with their keys and sunglasses when faced with a life-threatening situation?
This reminds me of a story my friend Jonathan told me about his time working at the Gucci boutique on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. (He should legit write a friggin' BOOK about his experience there.) A celebrity customer once asked him to grab something out of her purse, and when he peered inside, all that was in it was some crumpled up hundred dollar bills, a bunch of lipsticks, some "medicine" that “wasn’t in the bottle," and a gun. Nothing else. If that doesn’t say ROCK STAR to you, you may not have a pulse.
Even without having to carry all the day-to-day junk that us regular folks do, this celeb may still have a problem finding her gun quickly in the bottom of her purse in the event of an emergency.
I would carry this yellow floral clutch bag around just for looks. It's adorable. It is made by a pair of sisters (who also happen to be grandmothers) in San Marcos, Texas called Lucky Squashbuckler. They make their bags out of recycled materials -- vintage dresses, tablecloths and whatever else they can find.
Almost every state in the U.S. (except Illinois and the District of Columbia) has some sort of provision to carry a concealed weapon. Most states make you get a permit, and to get the permit, you must pass a training class. But in Alaska, Arizona, Vermont and Wyoming, you don’t even need a permit. Just carry the damn thing around if you've got it! Make fun of people at your own risk in those states.
The Texas Department of Public Safety says that there has been a 65 percent increase in recent years of women getting their concealed carry permits. (I think the women in my family may be accounting for a good portion of that 65 percent.)
California has some of the strictest gun laws in the United States. It is a "may-issue" concealed carry permit state, which means that permits are issued only at the discretion of local authorities.
They are given on an extremely limited case-by-case basis, and practically the only people who actually get a permit to carry a concealed weapon are celebrities. Once I worked with Will Smith and happened to walk into his dressing room right as his bodyguard was unpacking his backpack full of guns. (That reporter who kissed Will Smith on the mouth is lucky he lived to tell the tale!)
If I carried a gun around in my purse in Los Angeles, I’d definitely end up losing my handbag before I could manage to find a film producer to shoot. I accidentally leave my expensive handbags in restaurants and taxis all the time. (But trust me, I’d totally shoot a film producer.) WITH A CAMERA, DUH!
These concealed carry purses have an opening on either side, so the bags can be used by either a right or left-handed person. My mom also pointed out that this means you could keep your hand in one side and shoot through the other if you are in a dangerous situation. (I think she meant if you are at Mardi Gras in New Orleans in 1984, but she has a point.) The secret gun pocket has a lock, and could really be used to lock up your wallet, jewelry or expensive electronics in too.
All right, you knew this was coming at some point:
My family in Texas owns guns. Some of them for hunting, and some of them for protection. They are obsessed with gun safety. You don't walk into their houses and see guns hanging on the walls and lying on the sofa. Most of their gun safes require the fingerprint of the gun's owner to even open them. They are always brushing up on their skills and attending refresher courses so they are prepared if something actually goes wrong.
I go to the shooting range with them for fun sometimes, but in reality I am pretty afraid of guns. They make my palms sweat.
However, there was recently an incident at my house that has made me think about possibly getting a gun. An intoxicated stranger walked right into my living room (the door was unlocked, long story) and all I had to defend myself was the pair of underwear I was sleeping in and my tee-ball bat from childhood. (I also had a machete, but that's an even longer story.)
You know how novelists are always describing a character's fear as a wave of pure, cold terror? I never knew what that really meant until that very moment. Luckily he left, but what if he hadn't?
Do we have any gun totin' XOJaners out there?