Tuesday, August 21, 2007

From the Mail Bag

A reader emailed a question about how to help a spouse become comfortable with the idea of using a firearm in self defense. I replied with some ideas of my own, but since many of us have gone through similar situations ourselves, you might be able to offer ideas of your own.

Suggestions for a concerned husband/father?

Hi JR - you don't know me but I've been reading your blog at least weekly for a long long time, and I was wondering if you could help me with something, either direct over email or even a post about it to gather thoughts from your other readers.

I'll save you a lot of the details, but shortly after I got married in 2002 I became very interested in the philosophy and culture of armed self-defense and educated myself on what I'm convinced is the most precious of all human rights and the origins of American protection of that right. The major impetus behind this sudden interest was that I never feared as much for my own safety as I found myself fearing for that of my wife (and future kids, now 2 years old with another on the way). I took to heart the principle that I'm responsible for her safety more than I ever did with my own. I now own (and have since early 2004) a handgun for personal defense and plan on applying for a CCW permit now that I'm a Texan (having fled the People's Republic of Kalifornia last year for San Antonio). I've even written a bit (letters to the editor and such), see my personal site to check some of that stuff out (though it's a bit old - I've gotten a few letters printed in the San Antonio Express-News that haven't made it there yet, though they're on my blog).

What I need help with is getting my wife to recognize that it's even more imperative for her to a) become familiar with the gun we already keep in the house so she can use it if I'm gone and b) become comfortable with shooting and owning her own so she can protect herself and our kids (not to mention that I want to pass this down to them as they get older). She's shown resistance (especially when I bought our pistol - I thought I had her blessing but apparently she thought we were still discussing it) to learning anything for herself, and a big part of that seems to stem from the fact that she was mugged at gunpoint once (in not-very-big-city CA). That incident seems to have made her more suspicious about guns rather than more suspicious about the characters she might need a gun to deal with.

Can you (or your readers) give me any helpful conversation starters or avenues to take to try and get her to have an open mind about this?

Thanks, and keep up the great writing!
Okay guys and gals, now it is your turn. I know a few of you have been in pretty much this same situation. What works, and just as important, what does not.


AlanDP said...

Boy, this is something I'm still working on, and my wife grew up essentially in the same area I did. She's comfortable we me having guns through sheer force of volume, but I don't think I could ever convince her to carry one herself. Which is odd, because the few times she's gone shooting with me she has proven herself quite adept with revolvers in .38 Special.

Your contact mentions that he has a site and lives in San Antonio. Could you let me know the url for his site? I'd like to check it out, since he's nearly my neighbor.

Fits said...

Without knowing her age and more background this is an impossibility. Since they've only been married 5 years the presumption is she is young. And has precisely the same attitude about guns that her parents had. If they were noncommittal then this is a good thing. If they were anti's or shied away from firearms, then it may take years. With that in mind, NO ONE can be rushed regarding gun acquaintanceship. Everyone in their good time.

John R said...

Alan, sorry about that, I added the hot links.

Fits; That was the main gist of my recomendation, patience is the key.

Anonymous said...


I had a similar challenge:

Wife home alone in our Santa Cruz, CA mountain home with our newborn daughter and me, a one-hour commute away.

My words were:

"Please, don't let me return from work to find out that something horrible has happened to you or to our daughter because you did not want to defend her with the tools we have (firearms)."

"Your objections (to guns) was your decision when you lived alone, but now that we are a family, you have to take our daughter's needs, and my needs, into consideration."

The protection instinct for mothers is one of the strongest in nature. Those words hit home instantly.

The rest of the afternoon was target practice; loading and unloading practice; the four rules of safety; and much relief for me.

Several weeks later, when a dead battery caused me to be late to work, I entered the kitchen (about two hours after I should have been at the office) and heard the click of the cylinder rotating in a Ruger Blackhawk.

My dear wife took the lessons seriously and reacted appropriately to the unexpected sound of the door opening mid-morning.

I was both proud of her and thankful (for me) that the safety rules were understood as well.