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Insisting on Firearms Training for Loved Ones....Prudent?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Sharpie1, Nov 9, 2003.

  1. Sharpie1

    Sharpie1 Well-Known Member

    I am commonly known by my family and friends to be a very avid gun enthusiast. I am an NRA certified instructor (pistol, hfs), and do a lot of training for people wanting the CCWs here in this part of the state.

    I like to make sure that both my wife and myself are adequately prepared. For everything. I have a little trouble understanding why some people can be so complacent with their own safety and general well-being.

    I was visiting with my aunt the other day, and she commented on how she is sometimes afraid in her home in the evening, when it's dark outside. Her home does not have adequate lighting in the rear of the house. I offered to install a double floodlight in the rear of the home, as this would be very simple and quick to do. I then asked her about her home defense firearm(s).

    She told me that there were a few guns in the house, and that her husband keeps them all unloaded. One revolver however (a Rossi .32 S&W Long), is kept in a drawer in the bedroom. An unopened box of cartridges is also kept with this gun in the same area. The gun has never been fired. It is still in the factory box.

    I asked her if she knew how to load and fire it. She said that she did. I asked her if she would be interested in practicing her shooting with me sometime at a private shooting range (which is built on our family farm). She (as expected) declined. I asked her if she would bring the gun to me and let me see it. She didn't want to. She didn't want to go get it, and she told me she was afraid of it - and that she feared that if she handled it the wrong way it would go off by itself.

    I started to just drop the matter because I didn't want to be rude, but then I realized that this fear of guns is not good and would not change unless I did something about it. I asked nicely several more times, and she reluctantly agreed to let me see the gun. She told me where it was and I retrieved it myself.

    It was in mint condition. I immediately checked to make sure it was not loaded. I showed her that it was not loaded by showing her the empty cylinder. Then, I closed the cylinder, reminded my aunt to please keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction, then handed the gun to her.

    I asked her to demonstrate how to load the gun. She grasped the gun and began trying to force the cylinder out of its locked position, completely ignoring the cylinder release button.

    I then showed her how the cylinder was opened, explaining how to use the cylinder release latch. She told me that for the past 25 years she thought she knew how to load and fire it, but she obviously didn't. Without actually putting live rounds into the revolver, I explained how that was done, that the cylinder was then closed again, and the trigger could simply be pulled (as this is a DA revolver). I again showed her it was unloaded, I demonstrated DA dry-firing, then got her to demonstrate it while pointing it in a safe direction.

    She thanked me repeatedly for showing her how to it - saying that she thought she knew how to do it all along, and that she was glad she let me see it. She said she wasn't afraid of it anymore, and felt more confident that she could (more effectively) defend herself. She told me that she has never fired a gun before in her life. She is 48 years old. I told her that I would be more than happy to take her and Mom up on the range and teach her shooting basics, and that I had proper hearing and eye protection that she could use. She immediately declined out of perceived fear of the gun again, (I think).

    My QUESTION is, am I wrong to push the matter? I care about the well-being of my family, and no one else is going to teach her or my mother how to use their guns. My mother has a Charter Arms .38 spl snubbie revolver that is kept loaded in her bedroom. I put it in a bank zipper bag with a 2 AA cell flashlight for her. She has reluctantly went up to the range with me at least twice in the past few years to fire off a few rounds, and she was quite proud of her marked improvement after just a little bit of practicing and instruction. It is like pulling teeth just to get her to go twice per year, but she feels much more confident afterwards.

    I now always INSIST that my mother practice with that revolver at least twice yearly, and promise to do her a favor in return to show good faith. She has had the gun since before I was born (I am 24), and she had never fired it until I was 22 (which is when I finally persuaded her to do so). She was under the impression that the gun would break her hand.

    When I insist for days on end, until she finally agrees to go - I know that it gets on her nerves, but I think that it is worth the trouble and inconvenience. To me, it is worth bugging someone that you care for to help them take care of themselves.

    My aunt NEEDS to learn to load, shoot and unload that revolver! She won't be able to learn how to do it unless I show her, and insist that she learns. It is just a .32 Long, and now is not the time to recommend an upgrade, but she has never even fired a gun at all. Would I be wrong to just insist that she fire the gun at least one session?

    It is very hard to teach someone a skill when they are not motivated to learn it, but this is my family and I care about them. I don't want them to dread me coming to visit, and I feel guilty for being pushy, but this is life and death.

    It is easy to say that if they don't want to learn it, just let them be and don't push it and that they're adults they can make their own decisions. But if something were to happen to them that could be prevented with just the LEAST BIT OF PREPARATION, then that would be quite a shame.

    Where should one draw the line when trying to push training and preparedness on another?

  2. Zundfolge

    Zundfolge Well-Known Member

    You know her better then us and as such have a better idea how far she can be pushed.

    I say if you think pushing her will get her out there at least once you'll win and might get her out with your mom on those bi-annual shooting trips.

    Worse case scenereo is you piss her off and she'll never touch the gun again (which is right where she is now).
  3. TarpleyG

    TarpleyG Well-Known Member

    Might be better off getting your mom to broach the subject with her in a casual way. Convince your mom to go shooting using the usual tried and true method then get her to agree to invite her sister along. Maybe if your aunt realizes it hasn't negatively affected her sister, she'll be open to the idea. If she goes, keep it short and concentrate on the 4 safety rules and loading/unloading. Worry about accuracy next time.

  4. Sharpie1

    Sharpie1 Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the responses. Like I said, I don't want to be a bother, but to me this is worth quite a bit of bother to others.

    Thanks again.

  5. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

    Nope, nor would it be wrong to insist that your relatives and friends keep spare tires in their cars and first aid kits and fire extinguishers in their houses. Most people know preparedness is the right thing, but an awful lot need to be nudged into actually preparing for emergencies.

    I hope they never need to thank you for demonstrating how to save their lives.
  6. Tommy Gunn

    Tommy Gunn Well-Known Member

    Your mom and aunt are both examples of why people need to be trained when they are young. Let 'em reach their late teen-age years without training and their minds will be made up about not wanting to learn.

    You really should try and get your aunt to join your mom and you on those bi-annual shooting practice sessions.
  7. Sharpie1

    Sharpie1 Well-Known Member

    I agree completely. Many of the people that come to me for training for their CCW are not interested in learning at all. They show up and say they have all kinds of experience, and really just need to go through the motions to get the permit. I have had two people come right out and tell me that! These are the folks that end up embarrassing themselves when it comes time to shoot, but of course it's the wind or the gun - not them.

    I suppose I will continue to be a pain, but I at least I will get the job done.



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