Firearms or guns are used in both hunting and in the pursuit of peace among societies miscreants. These weapons are considered by many to be useful and can be used to prevent violence. However, the other side of the argument suggests that in the wrong hands these weapons take lives. While a healthy respect for firearms is important there is a segment of the population that live in mortal fear of firearms. These individuals may suffer from Hoplophobia. The fear of guns may be attributed to the sound they make or the damage they leave behind, but these aren’t the only considerations when it comes to fear.
What Causes Hoplophobia?
When it comes to personal encounters with firearms there can be a substantial fear based on an incident when an individual fired a gun personally. They may not have been prepared to see an animal die, or their shot was accidental and harmed another human being. The trauma experienced in these moments will have a tremendous bearing on present and future fear.
This trauma might also be due to observing an incident in which another individual shot a gun and then seeing the damage it caused or wondering if that same individual might be capable of causing you personal harm.
Because much of the fear experienced by an individual is learned or modeled in the life of a trusted friend or family member the fear of guns can be assumed by an individual who had no previous fear of firearms. Well meaning adults show undue caution and fear regarding guns and that heightened sense of mistrust can be easily transferred to another.
Symptoms of Hoplophobia
Police dramas and westerns will not be on the list of must watch television for the hoplophobe. They will avoid anything to do with guns. They may have an interest in learning more about the history of war, but will be reluctant to read descriptions of the use of guns.
Other symptoms may also include…
- Air hunger
- Control loss
- Elevated heart rates
- Panic attacks
- An urge to flee
The frustration that so often comes with fear is something that the hoplophobe must deal with on a daily basis. Often a gun will not need to be present in order for the hoplophobe to experience panic. Sometimes a sound that mimics a gun or pictures can send them into a full blown panic attack.
How to Overcome The Fear of Firearms
No one is suggesting that there is nothing to be afraid of when it comes to firearms. They can in fact do damage and even kill. However, in then hands of most owners there is little to fear about their willingness to use the weapon against you. There are only a small minority of individuals that would use a gun to harm another human being – even if the news reports only seem to point out the ones that do use guns.
A therapist can provide assistance in dealing with your fear. Even if the fear is not completely eliminated the therapist can provide skills in managing the fear with a different mindset. This new thinking can eliminate most if not all symptoms.
The fear of firearms is also referred to as:
- Firearms fear
- Fear of guns
- Gun fear