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Legitimate fear of guns?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by TNboy, Mar 12, 2012.

  1. TNboy

    TNboy Well-Known Member

    We've all heard about people saying that they are scared to death of guns, of course most of this adds up to never being around them and having an irrational fear of what they do not know. However a friend of mine is going through something right now that I have never seen before. This lady friend of mine admitted to me that she doesn't like being around guns but couldn't really tell me why. She wanted to overcome her fear and even get her carry permit. Well she went out and shot with someone else this weekend and has been having panic attacks every since. These panic attacks consist of lots of crying, nervousness, and suicidal thoughts. When she told me about the suicidal thoughts I told her to seek medical treatment immediately, but she refuses. At this point I am against the idea of her getting a permit or buying a gun and there is nothing in this state that would prevent her from doing so since she has not been involuntarily committed. It's like she has a legitimate phobia of guns, anyone ever heard of such?
  2. J-Bar

    J-Bar Well-Known Member

    This person needs professional counseling.

  3. The War Wagon

    The War Wagon Well-Known Member

    Seconded. Hoplophobia IS a mental disorder. :eek:
  4. Deus Machina

    Deus Machina Well-Known Member


    'Hoplophobia' is usually used as an epithet around here, but there really is a phobia of weapons.
    The trick here would be to figure out if it was a fear of weapons (such that big knives would provoke it, too), guns specifically, or post-traumatic stress disorder from a previous experience, or just an anxiety disorder in general.

    That's a job for a professional, not us.

    A panic attack around firearms is bad. A panic attack involving suicidal thoughts around anything is really bad. She needs help.
  5. tnelson31

    tnelson31 Well-Known Member

    Wow, I think self applied immersion therapy did not work out for them. I would bet money a therapist would not have sent the person shooting to start off.

    I hope the person can get help without triggering EVEN MORE unintended consequences.
  6. TNboy

    TNboy Well-Known Member

    Thanks to all that have responded, and yes, I agree she needs help immediately but she thinks that she has this under control. I know that she does not but I feel that I am pretty much helpless here as far as getting her help. Nothing I can do to make her really.
  7. TNboy

    TNboy Well-Known Member

    She had fired a gun one time, as in one round, several years ago and had no issues. Therefore when she went shooting this time around there was no reason to believe that there was an issue, it wasn't until she actually pulled the trigger that she started having issues.
  8. Quoheleth

    Quoheleth Well-Known Member

    My wife had a similar, albeit less severe, reaction last January. She went to the range with me, fired 12 rounds through my K-22, and needed to go. By the time I had us signed out at the range house, she was in the truck, sobbing. To this day, just seeing a gun live and in person gives her the willies and a full-body shiver - but, thankfully, no suicidal thoughts.

  9. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

    By their very nature phobias aren't "legitimate" because they're an irrational fear.

    OTOH, if you recognize that your acquaintance has a real emotional/mental disorder and there's any indication of self harm they have a real disorder and need professional help.
  10. Sniper66

    Sniper66 Well-Known Member

    As a practicing psychologist, I supervise an Anxiety Disorders Clinic. Your friend does not have to live this way. Anxiety disorders, including panic symptoms, are quite treatable. I would be willing to bet there is something else going on in addition to a phobic response to guns. Unmanaged anxiety can be troublesome in many situations; when shooting, driving a car, or even shopping for groceries but is almost never "dangerous". Suicidal thoughts and guns, however, never mix and should be taken seriously. Strongly urge your friend to get help and volunteer to accompany her to help her overcome her reluctance. Help her find suitable services or even offer to call her family on her behalf.
  11. shiftyer1

    shiftyer1 Well-Known Member

    It's possible something in the past caused the fear?

    Went to school with a kid the shot his daddy in the belly duck hunting.....he lived.....but unless something has changed as he aged he wouldn't have nothing to do with guns after that.
  12. makarovnik

    makarovnik Well-Known Member

    There might be silver lining to this if she gets help. This manifestation may be the tip of the iceberg.
  13. Sav .250

    Sav .250 Well-Known Member

    " Suicidal thoughts." You know that not going to turn out well.
  14. fallout mike

    fallout mike Well-Known Member

    There are people with phobias against anything you can possibly imagine.
  15. Gtimothy

    Gtimothy Well-Known Member

    My gut feeling is for her to get professional help and keep the firearms away from her at all costs! Suicidal thoughts and guns are a BAD combination!
  16. brnmuenchow

    brnmuenchow Well-Known Member

  17. Mp7

    Mp7 Well-Known Member

    i bet there are enuff people with other phobias on board this forum.

    All are irrational. But not all can be cured. I know people with dog phobia that have never been bitten. Some folks get scary pics in their heads, when sum1 uses a large blade of any kind.

    Some people have fear of height or flying, even so they chose to climb the stairs or board the plane.

    guns are dangerous, ya know. That´s what we admire in them ;)
  18. GEM

    GEM Well-Known Member

    Sniper is on the money. You do not get a handle on this by yourself so easily.
  19. heeler

    heeler Well-Known Member

    I spoke with a good friend about something similiar to this a couple of years ago.
    His neighbor and shooting friend had some guests that came over from Holland for a visit.
    Since neither of these people had never even fired a gun before,most likely due to where they are from,they decided to take them to the range.
    Well according to my friend the woman's husband throughly enjoyed this new freedom.
    The guys wife sunk deep.
    The mere fact that they were firing at your standard B 27 target had the woman crying and carrying on in such a bizarre fashion that after three shots she just put the pistol down and was quite an emotional wreck for the rest of that day but the following day as well.
    I cant imagine that but there you have it.
    The mere words "suicide" would be enough for me to steer them away from any firearms and straight to the head doctors office.
  20. zxcvbob

    zxcvbob Well-Known Member

    [I am not a psychologist] It might not be what you think. The "suicidal thoughts" could have been along the line of "what if I have a sudden urge to kill myself?" or even "what if I accidentally shoot myself and it looks like a suicide?" and that might be what triggered the fear. She was just afraid of holding something that she could kill herself with that easily. It's not that different from being afraid of walking too close to a high ledge -- just taking it up a notch to a full-blown irrational phobia.

    I had a phobia once about filling a certain tax return where I'd filled an extension and then missed the filing date cuz what did it matter; I was getting a $5 refund. Then found out I had miscalculated and owed like $1000. Every time I tried to take care of it, I would break out in a cold sweat. Finally (2 years later), I said "this is stupid" and filed the return and paid my penalty and it wasn't that bad -- once I got through it. But the fear was real, and knowing it was irrational didn't really help much; if anything it made it worse.
    This makes me laugh:


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