I dated a woman who was terrified of guns (she was also ultra-liberal, but let's not get into that). She was never around them, but felt that an unloaded gun in a safe was just waiting to shoot someone and wouldn't want to stay the night at my place unless I had unloaded and locked up the guns in my safe... and showed her that they were closed up, as if they were some kind of savage animals that needed to be safely contained.
She tried to get used to it by having me take her to the range but displayed the same irrational fear you described, cringing and wincing with every shot she heard--as if every time she heard a gun go off someone was shooting AT HER.
While I think that immersion is the best way to get people to get over phobias, there has to be a desire to get over one's fears. Why would someone who vehemently despises guns want to get over their fear of guns?
A lot of women's dislike towards guns is due to how men patronize them, the perceived complexity of guns, the noise... My wife took a gun course that was 50% female, which included a range component.
I didn't make the mistake of teaching her or forcing her to shoot, because any time you try to teach a significant other anything relationship dynamics can make things worse. She liked the course, can competently shoot a gun, thought the cops teaching it were nice, but still thinks guns are loud, dirty, eject hot brass everywhere, and will only go to a range sporadically to keep up her skill set.
Last edited by thedudeabides; April 21, 2013 at 06:09 AM.