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  1. #1

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    My Wife is Afraid of Guns

    How do I get my wife not to be afraid of guns anymore. If I get a gun she thinks I will get hurt.

  2. #2
    I'm just enjoying the show! Tinman's Avatar

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    I think some of you are missing the point. She’s afraid of guns. A match, class, public range can be a loud and overwhelming experience for a new shooter. Add her anxiety caused by her fear, and you could just solidify her objections more. Especially if someone does something dumb or unsafe.

    Here’s my best advice, start by talking with her about it, not at her about it. This means ask lots of probing open ended questions like why do you not like guns. Then probe her answers a little more. You’re going to find one of two things, either she has had personal experience, or is just listening to the media hype. With any luck it’s just the media hype, because personal experience takes a looooong time to reverse.

    Since I gather that you don’t currently own a gun, approach gun ownership seriously. Personally take an NRA basic class (even before you own the gun). Memorize the gun safety rules, study different pistols, and their safety features. Next, take a few private lessons of your own from a coach. What you’re doing here is really proving to her that you are taking her fears seriously, and taking the responsibility of gun ownership seriously.

    Next comes the big steps, the hands on work. Up till this point it’s been all about talking and changing her perceptions of you and your motives. Find a friend that is serious about ownership, and preferably owns a small 22 rifle or pistol. Find a nice quite range, someplace with a good back stop and space. Outside would be preferred as it tends to keep the noise down. Next, convince her to come watch you shoot. Be specific, you don’t expect her to handle anything, or shoot, you just want her to come and see how you’re doing. Plan a day when no one else will be there banging away with their favorite 338 or something. Meet your friend, introduce your wife, give your wife eye protection and ear protection, go over the safety rules with her, then put her WAY back off the firing line, and run a few from your buddy’s innocuous looking 22. Use a bullseye target, nothing that looks aggressive or threatening, and certainly nothing that looks human. Go slow, pay strict attention to the safety rules, and don’t make any mistakes. Break often, especially in the beginning to check on your wife. After you run a hundred rounds or so, pack it in for the day. If you’re feeling froggy, ask her if she wants to see what you were shooting. If she does, take her up, let her look at them on the table, but don’t put any pressure on her to touch them. This is a big thing, don’t ever pressure her to go further than she’s ready too. This isn’t a try it, you’ll grow into it thing. She’ll hate it more, and resent you for making her do it. On your way home, talk to her, see what she thought.

    Next big step, once she’s had a few days or weeks to digest the range day, now it’s time for the gun shop trip. Find a reputable gun shop, preferably that doesn’t have the gun shop commando for a teller. Take her during an off peak time. Try to avoid the sales people today. Advice on what’s the best man stopper is probably the last thing she needs to hear about. Focus on the sport guns, they tend to be less intimidating than the defensive guns. Talk to her about the different safety features of different models (that’s where the previous homework comes in). Again, don’t push. If something catches her eye, ask to see it. Ask informed questions, and continue to make sure you and the clerk maintain strict adherence to the safety rules. Once again, point out different features of the gun she liked. Ask if she wants to hold it. Again don’t pressure, if she says no, set it on the counter and thank the clerk. Don’t spend all afternoon, but spend enough time that she’s comfortable and has asked any questions she might have. If it gets to busy, or loud that’s your queue to leave. This is especially true if some of those afore mentioned gun shop commandos, or shady characters come in and start hanging around. Then take her out to lunch or dinner, make it one stop in a nice date afternoon. Again with the talking, ask her which one she liked.

    Keep working at it, taking her to the range with you, taking her to the gun shop to look with you, now maybe even try taking her to one of those matches but remember keep the visits short and keep her eyes and ears protected. The noise can be a big fear for a lot of women, so be careful of that issue. Don’t isolate her, but try and stay back a bit from any of the action, let her make the decision to move closer. Most important, stay with her all the time. Don’t just drop her at the edge of the range and run off to talk with your new found friends. Don’t rush, and don’t pressure.

    After a few trips to the gun shop, start to dial in on what you might want to own (an added benefit of this process). Then start the next process, let her know you want to start saving for it. It’s not a commitment to buy, but you want to put money away for that option. That way she gets over the financial aspect of the purchase, and doesn’t think you hid something from her by saving the money on the sly. Once you have the money, you have to carefully approach the purchase. However you pitch it, don’t bring it home until she gives the nod. If you do, it’ll only drive her back the other direction. Don’t stop offering for her to go to the range or gun store with you just because you got what you want, and for heavens sake, don’t start with the pressure for her to shoot. That’s whole topic unto itself.

    I’ve rambled long enough, so I’ll close it with this, communication will go a long way. Proving your responsibility rather than the responsibility of other gun owners will go even farther. Finally be patient and don’t pressure her. If it sounds like this will take a while, you’re right it will, but like anything else in marriage, it’ll be worth the wait in the long run.

    Just my thoughts, it could be just a bunch of junk, but it’s worked for several people I’ve had the pleasure of helping through this same problem.


  3. #3
    INGO Mom Pami's Avatar

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    This seems to be a common theme, and in the original thread, it was suggested that Tinman's response reads like a how-to manual and should be a sticky, so it has now been stickified.

    If you would like to read the original thread or continue this discussion, you can view/add to it here:

    And again, thank you, Tinman, for this excellent response!

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