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GlockenHammer 05-22-2003 13:35

Help with my wife's attitudes towards guns
 
In January, I woke up and realized that I was depending on the police to protect me and my family and that even in the best circumstances, some harm to my family was certainly possible before they arrived on scene. I did much research on the topic before deciding to arm myself. It is not a decision I made lightly.

I spoke with my wife about her concerns. She does not fear an attack as we live in a nice neighborhood, hang out at decent places, etc. She does fear that we are at risk of an accidental shooting involving our kids, 4 and 6, or others that may be visiting. I attempted to alleviate her fears by purchasing a GunVault gun safe and mounting it 6 feet off the floor in our bedroom closet. Nothing seemed to allay her fears. My innate need to feel that I could protect my family outweighed my concern over her fears and I purchased a Glock 19 and necessary support equipment with savings bonds I had from before we met (we otherwise have joint finances).

Of course, she was enraged that I would take unilateral action. She said that we ultimately would have (might have?) gotten a gun eventually, but was hurt that I did it without consulting her as she felt this affected the whole family (as did I). She wasn't 'ready'.

It's been 4 months since then. I have established proficiency as measured by the IDPA by being a sharpshooter. I have been careful with how I handle guns. I have worked with my 6 year old son to learn the rules of gun safety. I have exposed her to very select information on the positive side of gun ownership. This includes the Oregon Principal that aprehended a school shooter (she's a teacher), and incidents from local stories where private gun ownership has saved the day. She's tolerated the information because she knew how much I wanted to give it to her, but clearly wasn't 'interested' in it.

I have been considerate to ask if she minds any gun-related activities in the house, such as "do you mind if I clean my gun". She's been very reasonable. We've even been able to joke about guns, etc. She tells me about the guns that are mentioned in the novels she likes to read (I had a laugh at the consistent reference to a Glock 0.9mm[sic] in one novel.)

I thought that she was coming around as she hasn't said anything negative since the 'big blow up' when I told her what I'd done in getting the gun. However, the other day I asked her if her position on guns has changed since we last talked about her feelings. She reiterated that she didn't fear an attack, but she did fear an accident.

So, I seek the advice of women that have 'come to terms with guns'. The rational arguments about being able to protect my family before/until the police arrive has not been persuasive. She has tolerated my decision with understanding for my strong feelings, but she doesn't yet agree. She is a very logical person, but stands firm that her family is more at risk from a gun accident than crime.

The one glimmer of hope I've had is that a neighbor friend has mentioned that he'd like to go with me to my range to teach his wife how to shoot (she's willing). I told my wife about this and asked if she would want to go and she said "maybe" (by far the most positive things she's said about guns yet.) She has fired a revolver when a previous boyfrind and her went on a trip to FL while they were having a crime spree against tourists, if that means anything. Since he was going to have it around, he wanted her to know how to use it (makes sense--I'd like the same thing!)

Sorry this has run so long. It is a complicated situation. I hope you can help.

Thanks

CarolinaJen 05-22-2003 15:40

Here are some things that were helpful for me, in making the transition from ardently anti-gun to packin' mama:

-The NRA Basic Pistol course, taught by an exceedingly safety-oriented instructor. Your wife should take this class or one like it. Even if she never touches a gun again, she needs to learn how to safely operate the one you have in your home.

DO NOT, repeat DO NOT try to teach your wife the basics of gun operation yourself. By all means attend the NRA class along with her (then you'll be able to talk about it conversationally as she likes afterwards), but do not try to be her instructor. If she needs one-on-one attention, let someone else provide it.

-At the NRA class, and at the range afterwards if she is willing, have her use a gun she can comforably shoot (even if it's "only" a .22). I hate my husband's gun. I can barely reach the trigger and the metal corners on the frame cut into my hands. If he had tried to convince me to shoot it regularly, I would have absolutely despised shooting. But I fell in love with target shooting by using a gun that fit me and my skill level.

-Allow her to enjoy target shooting without committing herself to ever using a gun for any other purpose.

-Allow her to disagree with you on when it is acceptable to use deadly force in self-defense. Have her explore her feelings about using deadly force without it being a "gun" issue (there are plenty of other deadly means of self-defense).

-Talk with her, at appropriate times, about when exactly you think it is appropriate for you as a civilian to actually use your gun. Discuss various real-world scenarios (taken from the crime pages), and go through a what-would-I-do analysis. The big thing here is that if she learned about guns from TV and movies, she's seen a lot of gun waving, gun tossing, "I have a gun announcements", etc. [There is less drama in a gun that is safely concealed, drawn only to shoot, hits its target, and is immediately reholstered.] She needs to understand that you are not going to operate the gun in reckless Hollywood fashion, but only under the most extreme circumstances, after determining that the gun is the proper response to the situation.

-Review cases of accidental shootings, and discuss how the various principles of safe gun operation were violated. Explain to her how you are taking the necessary measures to keep unauthorized users from acessing your gun (you'd better be doing that!!), and how you are preparing your children to act safely if they should ever, heaven forbid, be in a "kid & gun" situation at someone else's home.

-Demonstrate to her that you are a safe and competent gun owner. Be safe and competent in the rest of your life as well. If you have a temper, now is the time to get it completely under control.

-Give her time.

Good luck,

Jen.

CarolinaJen 05-22-2003 16:30

And here's another tip:

Have her attend a class that other women--preferably some who have a positive attitude towards guns--are attending. And hang out with an instructor and other people who liberally drop comments about how "women are often better shooters than men" etc. (But please, no patronizing "Annie Oakley" remarks ;-).

Jen.

SandyGlock 05-22-2003 16:38

This should do it.
 
Gun Facts V 3.0
you should read too! My wife said "I will never have a handgun in my house" one month after I bought one without telling her. After I did tell her I bought one, she was nervous but I told her I would keep it secured safely. Within a year of all this, we had one brutal rape/assault 50' from our front door. 3 Brake-in rapes within a 1/4 mile. One pscho-killer escape from the hospital 1 mile away. Now I get no more grief about having guns. I understand you may live in a nicer neighborhood though. Have your wife read about what the Carr brothers did in this nice neighborhood http://www.cnn.com/2002/LAW/10/04/ctv.carr/ . If that doesn't convince her. Nothing will.

Reservecop55 05-22-2003 18:10

Attitudes towards Guns
 
you might want to consider an all female class for your wife. NRA has a program called "Women on Target", that is aimed towards new female shooters. NRA's Refuse to Be a Victim Seminar is also aimed at personal security in general, but is not a firearms class. One of the best female instructors in the country is Gila Hayes at the Firearms Academy of Seattle. She regularly teaches all female classes and is an excellent instructor whether the student is male or female. My wife and I both teach a basic pistol class for women once a month, and they are almost always better shooters and students than the men we teach. Good luck

BikerGoddess 05-23-2003 08:23

I've never been anti-gun, so I can't help you there. But maybe you can show her that her 'safe' neighborhood isn't as cozy as she thinks it is. My zip code has the lowest crime numbers in my city, and you should read some of the things that go on here ;P ;m See if your city has crime statistics and/or visit the local police. Just because it didn't make it to the evening news doesn't mean it didn't happen.

If she likes to read, you could leave books such as "In Broad Daylight" lying around ;) It's a true crime book about a prominent family in Kansas in the '50s who are all murdered in their home in the middle of the day. Even in quiet small towns, bad things can happen. And our society is way more mobile 50 years later, so living in a nice part of town is no guarantee.

It sounds like her major concern is safety, so make sure you address every single point she brings up (and it sounds like you're well on your way). Perhaps a 'test' with the children will show her that they've learned to not touch a gun but rather find an adult immediately. Since you have two, I would teach them that one stays to make sure no one else touches the gun and the other finds an adult. It'll probably take her awhile to see that the gun's not going to jump up and start dancing on its own, so be patient.

Good luck.

Laura

GlockenHammer 05-23-2003 14:48

Re: This should do it.
 
Quote:

Originally posted by SandyGlock
Have your wife read about what the Carr brothers did in this nice neighborhood http://www.cnn.com/2002/LAW/10/04/ctv.carr/ . If that doesn't convince her. Nothing will.
Quote:

Originally posted by BikerGoddess
If she likes to read, you could leave books such as "In Broad Daylight" lying around It's a true crime book about a prominent family in Kansas in the '50s who are all murdered in their home in the middle of the day. Even in quiet small towns, bad things can happen.
I grew up and went to college in Wichita, Kansas where the Carr brothers had their crime spree. It's a nice place, really. My wife is from Wisconsin, but she has visited Wichita with me to visit relatives.

BikerGoddess--My wife does like to read, so maybe I can try the book. If it has entertainment value for her, she may get the message without feeling like she's reading a pro-gun political flyer.

SandyGlock--I liked the Gun Facts. She won't read the whole thing, but if I carefully select a myth or two from the 'children and guns' section, that might work. Generally, she's always been very skeptical of these types of products because of the obvious bias of the authors. Even so, a logical argument can sometimes still ring true. (Although were strong emotions are concerned....)

CarolinaJen--When I read your post, every statement struck a chord with me as being a postive and appropriate step in our case. I plan to print it out and carry it in my wallet to re-read from time to time as she progresses in willingness.

As for training, I did have her fill out a questionaire from http://www.a-human-right.com/views2.html (largely for comedy relief), but I did notice that she wanted her children to learn about fireams from a qualified instructor rather than a parent. Perhaps she also would prefer to learn from someone besides me. I'm going to look into female-friendly classes. I know our range has some NRA-certified instructors....

Thanks again to all. Please keep any more ideas coming.

BikerGoddess 05-23-2003 16:33

My bad. I was thinking of In Cold Blood by Tuman Capote. In Broad Daylight by Harry MacLean is about vigilante justice in Skidmore, MO. Perhaps not a good read right now ;)

Any of the books by Darcy O'Brien are great reads and can illustrate that anyone can be a victim. They're true crime as well, so it's not pro-gun propoganda. He does a really good job of showing that psychopathic homicidal maniacs can look surprisingly normal. They're easy reads and entertaining, so you don't even realize you're getting a message.

Laura

SandyGlock 05-23-2003 17:42

If she has a problem with bias in "Gunfacts" refer her to the "sources cited" They are largely from government organizations and make all the difference as far as credibility goes. Each "fact" has a corresponding source. the "FBI" seeems to be a major contributor.

Ulysses 05-25-2003 17:27

Quite Trying so hard and be real nice to her.

Lay off all the shooting talk and do what you used to do.

Don't leave your shooting stuff around and make a mess.

Be more responsible, clean up around the house, and be more self discplined. Talk about things that interest her. Make her life easier. Don't spend to much on guns. Don't spend too much time away from her on the hobby.

Don't fight as much or get angry with her. Don't sweat the small stuff. Work on emotional maturity. Take things easier. Don't argue in an uncontrolled immature fashion or you might not have a gun. Let the gun thing slide if she doesn't want to use a gun or shoot, improve your physical security around the house discreetly, make sure her vehicle is reliable and get her a Cell Phone. Maybe get a dog when the kids a bigger. Don't give her another chore, take care of hte dog yourself.

Be an ideal husband and father. Show her you are the height of responsiblity. Don't babble about needing a gun all the time. Let her spend time on her hobbies. Take the kids out and give her a break.

Be a MAN with a gun not a man that needs a GUN.

I'mjustagirl 05-26-2003 11:01

Quote:

Originally posted by Ulysses

Be an ideal husband and father. Show her you are the height of responsiblity. Don't babble about needing a gun all the time. Let her spend time on her hobbies. Take the kids out and give her a break.

Be a MAN with a gun not a man that needs a GUN.

Soo many gems in there Ulysses. Well said!

GlockenHammer 05-26-2003 12:28

I try.

geminicricket 05-26-2003 13:15

GlockenHammer ... you are light-years ahead of me.

Gary F 05-27-2003 00:43

SEE IF .....UHHHHH ....
 
she'd go to the range again with the ex-boyfriend ;Q ;L ;N
ok, ok ..... maybe not a good idea ;W
always a smart alec in every posting ...
;+ gary

mod625 05-27-2003 02:46

A NICE NEIGHBORHOOD??
You might remind her that several years ago in a Beverly Hills, CA mansion, seven people were stabbed to death by three women & one man. There were sent there by Charles Manson. A couple of days later, a married couple were stabbed to death in another mansion in the hills above Glendale, CA - sent there by the same P.O.S.

As for a gun-related accident in the home, you might inform her that guns are way down on the list of dangers to children in the home; far below accidental ingestion of cleaning chemicals & prescription drugs, & playing with matches or the danger of swimming pools. I'm assuming she is not planning to ban all of these items from the home - just locking them up like you've already done with the gun.

I just read that auto accidents are the #1 killer of children.

AKSpace-Glock21 05-27-2003 18:39

:) As a wife of a muli-gun owner, I have to agree with all the advice you have gotten so far. The thing that I cant stress enough is...

DO NOT TEACH YOUR WIFE!!!

Let a trained professional train your wife on guns, control and safety. All you will do if you try to teach her is make her more anti-gun. Also, be patient! My DH told me I would enjoy shooting and needed to learn. He just dropped 5 comments a year for about 8 years. Then my Sis took a class and told me how much fun it was and started bugging me. After a year I agreed to take a class to shut them both up. I hate to put this is writting cause you never know if they will see this or not (LOL) But they were right and I had a ball. Look into classes that are all women and just get information about classes. You could casually mention the class to your neighbor and see if she is interested. Then she can ask your wife if she wants to go with.



:cool: Best of luck

A New Glock Owner!!

I'mjustagirl 05-28-2003 08:50

Quote:

Originally posted by AKSpace-Glock21
:) I hate to put this is writting cause you never know if they will see this or not (LOL) But they were right and I had a ball.
A New Glock Owner!!

Awww little sister, you warm my heart. AND...I love being right!
:) luhlou

I will second the many recommendations for professional instruction.

GlockenHammer 01-25-2004 22:30

Ladies,

Thanks so much for the advice. I thought I'd give you an update if you are still around. A few weeks ago, my wife agreed to attend a ladies-only basic NRA pistol course with a girlfriend. It was the typical "I will if she will" thing. They both had husbands with guns in the house.

She enjoyed the course and expressed an interest in the NRA's marksmanship qualification program. We went to the range today where she qualified as "pro-marksman" by placing 5 shots into each of 10 nine-inch paper plates at 15 feet. She was actually an excellent shot needing only 53 rounds to complete the 50 round course of fire.

We also took my seven year old son who shot a .22 rifle along side us. She got to see him behaving safely and really enjoying shooting. It was a very positive experience.

On the way to the range she even went so far as to ask, "so what does it take to get your CHL?". After our range trip, we decided to order all of the NRA patches and awards that go with the various levels of the marksmanship program. That seems to say that she's enjoying herself at least a little.

Well, I just wanted to say "thanks" and let you know that your advice was spot-on, especially the NRA ladies-only course, no pressure, be safe and responsible around the house, etc.

Thanks,
GH

Colonel Klink 01-25-2004 22:53

Congratulations! I was going to suggest you ask her who, in her school, did they call when someone found a gun. Who is it that is capable of making the gun safe before the police arrive and before someone gets hurt. I know the answer now.


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