Mrs. Strangelove or: How I Got My Wife to Stop Worrying and Ignore the Gun
Recently there have been a few threads about wives who were upset at their husbands for getting guns or carrying. I would have included this as a simple post in the thread, but I wanted to report something incredibly important: I finally talked my wife into it.
I too used to be in the same boat as some of you. My wife grew up not necessarily anti, but without a gun in the house. So she grew up being afraid of them, and out of ignorance became an anti. I grew up in a household of two guns, but we didn't hunt or ever use them, so I was in a similar boat, although not necessarily an anti. For multiple reasons, including personal and home defense and wanting to one day become an LEO, I became interested in getting a handgun.
And got one, I did. It was about mid-October and, honestly, the wife had no clue about it. Only two people did: two neighbors I trust. They would ask questions like, "Do you regret getting it?" which I simply responded, "No, because we're safer because I have it, even if she doesn't know." I kept it pretty hidden (except my range bag was always in the back of the SUV, covered by a blanket), and got my CCW in January. I've since carried a couple times around her without her noticing, and carried at all times I wasn't with her.
Meanwhile, I was talking her into getting a gun. (..the gun I already had, for that matter.) At first she repeatedly gave a blanket, "No. We will never get a gun." followed by the occasional, "If you had brought home a gun, you'd be sleeping at your parents'." But one thing planted the seed: I asked, "What would happen if someone broke down our door tonight? What's the plan?" As we have two little boys in rooms across the hallway, it made her think.
I didn't prod her too much. I would tell her when I was going to the range with a friend, and I'd get the stink eye. Eventually that warmed to a more "be safe" eye. And for Christmas I told her all I wanted was to take a "gun safety course," which was for the CCW permit. In the course, though, I did learn gun safety, the laws, and did some shooting. I'd say I'd mention it once a week to once every two weeks: enough to remind her, but not enough that it annoyed her.
Eventually, we talked again. I again asked, "What's the plan if someone breaks in the house? We have some shady family members and neighbors, and it would be in our best interest to have one to protect us." I also mentioned taking one with me when we went to crappy areas (we live near St. Louis) and when I jogged late at night. Again, it made her think. I told her I wanted to do everything safely with the safety of our children in mind, meaning getting a nice Gunvault in which to store them.
One thing she immediately did was send an email to a friend of hers, who is the wife of our neighbor (and both of them knew I had the gun). I was fortunate that I knew ahead of time that the wife was somewhat pro-gun and actually wanted her husband to go through the course with me. She wanted to stay out of the situation, though, so she gave a blanket statement that, "She grew up in a house with guns, and wouldn't mind it, but could understand if others did mind." Still, my wife respected her, and I think this went a long way since they're both moms.
Then she sent an e-mail to one of her professors who did a gun violence/accident study in the 1980s in a county in Texas. Apparently they saw the PowerPoint of this horribly done, extremely small study. I read it, and said, "I'll be honest.. this doesn't help either of us. These are 30 year old statistics from a county in Texas, for god's sake." I think that went a little ways to showing her that the notions she picked up were ignorant and could be refuted.
And then it hit me: she wanted evidence that would give her piece of mind. I did a PowerPoint of my own.
In this 22 page PowerPoint I first outlined why there was a risk. I compiled statistics (usually from the DoJ) about increasing probation rates, thefts, robberies, assaults, and murders. And not all of them necessarily supported me, but still showed that the risk was real, even if relatively minute. Honestly, some of the statistics I came across, depending on the source, were contradictory, so I chose the one either with the better source or the one that better supported my position. No shame in that, and I admit it. I also included statistics showing how many guns there were in America, and how there's an correlation between less crime and more guns.
Importantly, I also included statistics from when Florida enacted CCW laws. I showed that with the CCW laws the crimes went down, and what risks there were to CCW permit holders.
The next section of the PowerPoint outlined statistics with child safety. Again, some contradictory statistics, and I found many of them outright inconceivable or wrong. And there are really very few studies out there about them. I tried my best to explain to her that children who accidentally shoot themselves was because they had negligent parents who didn't keep a safe household.
Thus came my next section: how I was going to keep us safe. I included a picture of the safe along with how many combination possibilities there were, and how the safe would keep us.. well.. safe. I also reiterated to her that the Gunvault safe took local Firefighters 45 minutes to get open by bludgeoning, burning, and just generally kicking its ass. If it takes them 45 minutes with hammers, picks, and axes, our kids won't be able to get in. I also included my proposal: the safe, two guns (G26 and G27 [already had the 27]) which I explained one was for "personal safety" and the other "home safety," and a home defense strategy that included a call-response phrase should one of us be home and the other gone and we hear something suspicious.
Importantly, I included a small message in the email with the PowerPoint attached. I simply said, "You know, I just want to make sure we're safe."
Perhaps helping a bit, it was around Valentine's Day, and I got her flowers. She was not only completely not expecting flowers, but we had decided not to get each other anything, really.
The next morning I woke up to an email saying, "OK, you can get a gun. But it has to be in a safe, the safe has to be hidden (I'll put it under my side of the bed), and I don't want to see it. I don't want to take classes yet, but I'll work up to it." That's called a win, folks.
Oh, and my G26 will be here this week. I figure since my proposal said two guns, and she OKed the proposal, that gave me the OK. :)
So, folks, that's how I got it done. Hopefully, in some way, that will help someone else. She's on board with having it in the house and, perhaps, me carrying it (although I won't make a big deal out of this yet), and I'll work up to getting her at the range, classes, and other things.
Hopefully that will be sooner rather than later. :)