Why Some People Fear Guns – and Solutions for such Fears

Published by the LearnAboutGuns.com Author on May 18, 2008 at 4:12 pm
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I’ve noticed that many people who aren’t familiar with guns tend to fear them.  I’m not referring to the fear of a criminal pointing a gun at them, but rather a fear of owing a gun themselves.  Recently I asked coworkers and other people who have such a fear of guns why guns scare them. This article lists the answers I’ve been given, along with solutions for such irrational fears of guns.

1.“Guns are Loud”
It is true that most guns can be loud when fired, but they are not much louder than many other everyday experiences.  For example, a freight train passing close by can be louder, and unlike a gunshot that lasts just a fraction of a second, a freight train continues to make noise for a much longer period of time.  A combination of sound reducing ear plugs and ear muffs can quiet even the loudest guns to something anyone can tolerate.  I wear a combination of $1 ear plugs that last for about 30 uses, with a pair of very durable $30 ear muffs, and find it makes shooting at the range much more pleasant.

2. “Recoil is Scary”
The more effective self defense guns do to have noticeable recoil, but selecting a low recoiling gun can greatly reduce this problem.  Recoil is also something that people can quickly become accustomed to, as my anti-gun coworker learned.  Starting out with a very low recoiling gun, such as a .22 caliber handgun or .22 caliber rifle is a good idea too, since the virtually non-existent recoil can be handled by even the least physically strong or recoil adverse person.

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3. “Guns are Confusing”
Although those of us who are familiar with guns will attest that they are some of the most simple and easy to use tools imaginable, those who are new to guns may be confused by them at first.  I have seen intelligent and scientifically inclined people worry that a simple revolver would confuse them.  Like any other new thing, reading the owner’s manual and having an experienced person describe the basics can help alleviate this concern.  Local gun stores are generally quite happy to explain the basis, and often have a financial interest in helping out too.

4. “I’m Afraid I’ll Accidentally Shoot Myself of Someone Else”
Guns are tools worthy of respect and requiring the utmost care, but I am firmly convinced that virtually all reasonable and responsible people can safely handle a gun.  Following the basic rules of gun safety make it just about impossible to accidentally shoot yourself or someone else.  Also, guns are single function tools, rather than combination tools, which reduces the risk of an accident.  What I mean by this is that guns are guns, and not combination gun/toothbrushes, so there is no need to casually handle the gun.  Unlike other potentially lethal object like cars, knives, or natural gas guns need not be interacted with on a daily basis.  This lack of casual handling helps further reduce the already low odds off a negligent discharge.

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5. “I’m Afraid My Children Will Accidentally Shoot Themselves”
Storing guns in safe and responsible ways can easily prevent a child from gaining access to the guns.  For less considerably less than the price of the gun, a small safe can be purchased, and much larger safes are available too.  Most guns, either by law or because of decisions by the gun manufacturer, come with trigger locks or other devices to keep the gun from being fired by a child.  Also, guns that are not loaded cannot be fired, so keeping the ammunition stored separately can further prevent a child from discharging the gun.  Just as importantly, teaching children not to play with guns can prevent such tragedy too.  This education can start out as a blanket prohibition against touching a gun, and then progress to safe and responsible gun use as the child ages.  Such education can protect the child should they find a gun at a friend’s house or on the street too.  For those who think guns and children simply don’t go together, recent and distant history shows us that making an object taboo causes children (and adults) to become more interested in it, and to act irresponsibly when they experiment with it.  Prime examples of this are alcohol, drugs, and sexuality.

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6. “Criminals will Steal My Gun and Use it to Commit a Crime”
Again, keeping the gun stored in a safe and responsible way can defeat just about any criminal intent on stealing your gun.  The few high sophisticated criminals who could bring blow torches or explosives to break in to your gun safe already have plenty of guns themselves, and won’t waste their time stealing your gun.  The typical burglar wants to get in and out as quickly as possible too, and won’t have the time or desire to scour your house for a gun.  If criminals do break in to your home while you are home, the gun may just save your life and your family’s lives.

Each of the above fears about gun ownership or use seems to stem from a lack of understanding of guns, and perhaps the way that guns are portrayed in the media.  Each cause of concern can be mitigated quite easily, often with only a little effort.  Taking an anti-gun friend shooting for the first time can also go a long way.

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