How to discuss firearms with your significant other
The Talk - explaining your views on firearms and your intent to carry to your significant other - is one of the most important conversations you will have in a relationship. Let's face it: firearms are a very touchy subject, especially if the two of you have different views on using them. Today, I'm going to walk you through the process of having the Talk and ending the conversation in a way that won't drive a wedge into your relationship.
The Importance of Mutual Understanding
Most of the stories in the media that involve guns are negative - school shootings, murder/suicides, or police officers gunning down a violent criminal (and while this last one is arguably a positive thing, it won't stop people from forming the emotional link of "Guns = Criminals").
This is why you should start the conversation by asking how they feel about guns and your intent to carry one. If you're fortunate, they won't have a problem with this, but you have your work cut out for you if they're morally opposed to the use of weapons.
If you find yourself dealing with the latter, the core of the problem is their belief, on a fundamental level, that they are correct in their views on firearms.
However, one thing you should not do is dismiss their views out of hand, no matter how much they disagree with you about carrying a gun - that is one of the fastest ways of destroying your relationship.
Instead, talk about their views and why they feel the way they do. Perhaps they watched someone they cared about get shot, or were raised with their parents constantly repeating that guns were "bad things". Your goal is not to win an argument or a debate - it's to continue having a healthy relationship with someone you care about while still being able to carry your gun. Honestly listen to your partner's explanation of why they dislike guns, because this will be the starting point for the rest of your discussion.
Each person has a different view on firearms, and many of them object to guns for different reasons, so there's no one way to have the Talk. However, to succeed, you should focus on their main objections and see if you can reach an agreement on them. Here are some examples to get you started:
- What they're really saying is that they're afraid you'll get hurt if an incident occurs. Try explaining that you have no intention of fighting fair or exposing yourself to danger - it may help to mention your most accurate range and how you can use this to avoid being spotted.
- If your significant other says this, they're worried about somebody inside the house (whether a part of your family, a pet, or a guest) being hurt because of negligence. This is a good time to explain about gun safes and the proper handling of weapons - no firearm will be a threat as long as it's safely locked away. They may not be happy about the presence of guns in the house, but clearly doing everything you can to avoid accidents can make all the difference in their final acceptance.
- This is one of the most emotion-filled things you will ever hear... which is what makes it such a good time to agree with your partner. In a way, they're right - violence isn't the best solution to a problem, but it is occasionally a necessary one. Your partner is far more likely to accept your decision to carry concealed if they believe that you don't actually want to use your gun - especially if you point out that there are people who think violence is the solution, and it could come down to you or them. Emphasize the defensive nature of carrying, and don't be afraid to promise to only draw your weapon in defense of yourself or others.
Regardless of what your partner's objections are, start your response with an acknowledgment of their views and agreeing that they have a point. This will help you come across as mature, responsible, and trustworthy - thereby drastically increasing the chance that your partner will ultimately accept your decision to carry.
Once you've discussed their main objections, and hopefully received their blessing to carry, it's time to move on to the next step.
Educating Your Partner About Firearm Safety
Most people are afraid of the unknown, so you should bring firearms into your relationship as quickly as possible. This is where firearm safety comes in - by teaching your partner how to assemble, disassemble, and safely move a weapon, you'll give them the tools they need to deal with problems like a loaded firearm accidentally being left out in the open.
More importantly, however, going over household safety will reinforce the idea that you know what you're doing and can be trusted to carry a firearm outside of your house. Educating your partner is something you should be doing anyway, but working it into the Talk can help you turn it to your advantage.
What If Nothing Works?
Your partner may refuse to listen to you if they have particularly strong feelings about firearms. If they seem to be leaning in this direction, try changing the topic - and emphasizing how important your relationship with them is. Explain that you don't want guns to be a topic that will drive you apart and ask them to trust that you're mature enough to take responsibility for your actions. If they truly care about their relationship with you, then chances are they'll ultimately accept your choice and relax over time.
You may even need to make some compromises along the way in order to get your partner's blessing to carry, and that's not an easy thing to do. However, this is a conversation you need to have - and it's better to have it sooner instead of later.
About The Author
James Eder is a professional writer with an interest in the 2nd Amendment and the impact of firearms on their communities. Not satisfied with the conventional wisdom of his peers, he often spends his time asking questions and looking for ways to improve the world around him.