Goal: Get GG to feel comfortable with guns in the house.
When I first met my boyfriend a year and a few months ago, I didn’t like guns. I didn’t hate them. I didn’t care if someone else, some abstract person I didn’t know, owned some. Hunted with some. Went to the shooting range with some. Even carried some. I just didn’t want that for me.
I had a touch of fear about guns actually. When my boyfriend tried to talk to me on the phone about guns, after the first five minutes or so, I felt uncomfortable, icky, sinking-stomach feeling inside. I was less than not interested. When I saw handguns and rifles in person, I felt quite cold inside about them. I didn’t want to touch them. I felt nervous and unsafe.
But when GB and I started talking about moving in together, we knew we had to figure something out because guns were important to him and it was important to me that I have nothing to do with them. He agreed to keep his firearms in a separate part of the house and out of all communal areas. This way I wouldn’t feel uncomfortable in my own house. I agreed to go to the shooting range with him, once. To just try it. If I didn’t like it, I could be done with it and at least he would know I had honestly tried to be a gun person.
Agreeing to go to the range was too big of a step though. What were we thinking? Before I could go shoot one, I had to be able to talk about one and touch one! He kept badgering me about guns and I kept balking at him because he wasn’t coming down to my level. I felt like he was trying to make me a gun professional by talking AT me, not TO me. Finally, I figured out a battle plan that worked for the two of us and talked to GB about implementing it. He thought it was a bit basic and he wanted more from me, but he was willing to try it.
This is how it went: after he moved in with me, I would go to the “gun room” in the evenings before bed. He would come too. We’d do a quick rundown of the guns that he had: their names, their safety features, how to tell if they’re unloaded, how to load them, which ammo they use, their various pieces and magazines, their slings, their cases, where they go in the gun safe, how big of holes they could make, weather they’re carry guns or plinksters or home defense guns, the times he’s been to the range with the guns, who he bought them from, why this gun is cool/needed/special, who of his friends also owns one like this, etc, etc.
That plan failed miserably. After awhile of doing this I felt no more comfortable about handling a firearm. There were so many guns and the information was coming in floods. Nightly monologues using verbage and props I didn’t understand. I couldn’t tell the guns apart, which ammo they took, and importantly, I couldn’t tell if they were loaded or unloaded before I handled them.
This time, I picked a gun. ONE GUN. I picked the Ruger 10/22. It wasn’t too scary looking, I could handle it easily because it’s light and it’s controls are simple. It’s ammo was small and cheap. This one gun was all I wanted to know about. Then, every night we went to the “gun room” and I received a SMALL spiel on this gun, about 5-10 minutes. This worked! Instead of feeling overwhelmed, lectured, frustrated, bored, dumb under the previous plan which used waterfalls of information, I felt empowered. There was one gun in the house I knew about.