I'm prepared for general wackiness when it involves family, but Thanksgiving sorta took us by surprise this year.
A relative of ours, Jack, showed up sporting a side-arm at Thanksgiving dinner this year. He is not a police officer or in any job that involves him having to carry a weapon. One of our Uncles asked "is it really necessary to bring that in the house?" and he replied "I have to protect my family." We do not live in a dangerous area. They did not have to commute through back-country to get here--they live in the next town over. To my knowledge no one has been threatening them. I don't know if he was expecting someone to try and break in and make off with the turkey or what.
What really concerned us is the fact that Jack is an arrogant, loud-mouthed, show-off and I could just see him taking the weapon out and/or playing around with it. Sure enough, after dinner, as soon as one of the kids showed interest in it, he took it out and began showing it off, talking about how it was loaded, etc. It was then that DH and I took our leave, cutting our visit very short.
Both DH and I were raised around weapons, to have a healthy respect for their care and use, and to handle one safely. We own one--but it's securely locked up. We both have carry permits, but rarely make use of them. And neither of us have ever taken one to someone's home--excluding my Uncle's hunting cabin, where of course he knew we were bringing it. Even there, we weren't wearing them at the dinner table!
Since the house wasn't ours, we didn't feel like we could say much, if anything--but Jack's attitude is what is really concerning us both. If this is going to be a habit of his, we won't be attending any future get togethers because we don't trust in Jack to safely handle the weapon or control himself. In addition to his other qualities, he's can be a nasty drunk and we are fairly sure he's abusing his wife, if not physically, certainly emotionally. (We have always told her that if she ever needs anything we would help her all we could, but other than encouraging her, we haven't been able to do much to help her.) The fact that he now has a weapon, is really concerning to us both--for her and the kids safety, as well as our family when they're around him.
Would it have been o.k. for DH or I to have said something even though the house wasn't ours? We both felt, afterwards of course, that maybe if one of us had spoken up in addition to what my Uncle said that either they would have left or Jack would have had to return the gun to his car for the duration of the time they were there. Is it normal for anyone to come to a holiday table wearing a weapon? Would it be rude if we had taken our leave then?