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Old May 8, 2013, 12:27 AM   #1
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Join Date: February 25, 2013
Location: Greenwood, South Carolina
Posts: 2,768
Teaching someone who is terrified of guns

I touched on this briefly in another topic but thought it would do good to post here for in depth thoughts.

I'm getting my first pistol soon. I've shot before but haven't had one of my own. When I turn 18 I plan to find the best way to keep a pistol in my car (it's legal here). Having it with me when I'm driving is better than not having it at all. There have been some homicidal road rage incidents here among others that I don't want to touch on too much but suffice it to say I'd rather have it with me some of the time.

My girlfriend, who will probably be in my car 4 or 5 times a week, has stated she doesn't want it to be in the car without knowing how to use it. I agree with this. She has some anxiety at anything that "explodes" (result of a house fire and explosion, I think, that she feels she started) and is terrified of the thought of guns. Her dad owns a rifle and a couple handguns but they are in a safe and she has never seen or used them. She fired her grandpa's rifle when she was younger but for whatever reason had not developed this phobia.

In the end, I have no misconceptions that she'll end up carrying a gun in her daily life. This saddens me but if somebody can't have the mental preparedness it's better for them not to do so. I have no ideas that she may enjoy shooting with me one day or even be happy to have them in the house. However, I do need to get her to the range and teach her. Something like an NRA first steps class is not out of the question but is kind of pricey.

I think she needs to know the rules of gun safety, how to safe the gun, maybe some basic laws, and how to shoot it if it comes to that. I don't know how to do this. She went with us to a gun show once, which was a huge step for her, but it caused her anxiety and she said the sheer amount of guns and the way people feel about them causes her confusion. She's declined to hold several of our visibly locked firearms out of fear of the object itself. So, some questions:

People who have taught people like his before; in your experience, do they react better to a loved one or a professional? She knows and is comfortable with me. I'm not macho and don't have bravado but there is still the possibility of her feeling pressured to do it for me or more upset if she makes a mistake. On the same hand, I don't know if somebody she meets for the first time will be able to connect with her or help her fear.

When it comes to loads, I may be able to get a .22lr conversion (Kadet Kit for CZ 75) and have her shoot that. It is less likely to scare her, but will under prepare her for the gun if she needs to use it one day. Does anybody have relevant input one way or the other?

I feel concerned she may get to the firing range and clam up or become distressed at the first gun shots she hears. Hearing them from a half mile away at an outdoor range distresses her. I jump hearing the first few shots when I roll up to a gun range until I get acclimated. Has anybody had a loved one who was this visibly anxious who managed to learn to shoot safely and maybe even enjoy it?

Again, I don't want to get her primed to carry a gun every day. We both feel that to coexist she should be able to handle one should the need arise.
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