There is no doubt that anything you enjoy and even love is going to play a significant role in your life. This could range from activities you embrace to the people you hold dear, both of which will occupy a good bit of your time. At some point you may run into a conflict between the two in that they simply do not mesh, compromising your happiness in relationships as well as your ability to freely do the things you enjoy without resentment.

While guns are a part of your life, be it through hunting for sustenance or recreational shooting sports, you may find that to be untrue for some of the people you meet in life. There is unfortunately a stigma attached to guns that causes some individuals to strongly object to their presence and use. If you, as a gun owner, find yourself in a new relationship with someone who feels this way, that relationship is bound to hit some rough patches. In order to overcome this, there are some steps you can take to show gun ownership in a positive light and create comfort with and even enjoyment of firearms for all involved.

For starters, be open about the fact that you own firearms. With major women’s publications such as Cosmopolitan associating gun ownership with domestic violence and encouraging women to ask questions, be prepared to answer such questions or better yet, open the conversation floor yourself. Freely discuss where and how you purchased your guns and why you chose that avenue to do so. Explain why you own guns, such as for home defense, hunting wild game, recreational or competitive shooting, and anything else that may apply. Also detail your firearm experience, such as growing up with firearms and any classes you may have taken. Even if going into such detail may seem arduous, you have to remember that our modern society in some ways is training people to conclude that gun owners are dangerous, so your goal is to nip that misconception in the bud even if the process is a painstaking one.

Of utmost importance to cover when introducing a new love to your gun habit is safety. Not only do you want to demonstrate safe gun handling and storage habits, but you also want that person to understand how to be safe as well. This is especially important in the event your relationship moves to a level where you’re living under the same roof. In the event that your partner has to move or handle your firearm, it is important that they can safely and comfortably do so, and it is your responsibility to teach them.

The best option for getting someone new to your life acquainted with the firearms you own is to make it into a fun yet informative activity. A good option for creating that exact scenario is by creating a date on the shooting range. Take your partner out and let them see and experience for themselves that guns can be perfectly safe when used properly. Let them observe your own proper handling and get a feel for it themselves under your watchful eye. You can even step it up to include some appropriate targets to fit the taste of your partner. When in doubt, use something neutral, but you can always incorporate different types of target subject matter to further relax your date and open the lines of communication. As their comfort level grows, you may even wish to include some friendly shooting competition between the two of you not only to inject some lighthearted fun but also to boost their own confidence in terms of being able to acquire and hit a target successfully.

While this date is taking place, it is possible for many good things to happen. Your safe actions on the range are going to give you credibility as a responsible gun owner, increasing the comfort and trust level between you and the person accompanying you. It will also further open the lines of communication as to the role guns will play in both of your lives moving forward, which is especially important if the relationship has long term potential and/or the two of you will be living together. Last but not least, by teaching the person you love to shoot, you are giving the priceless gift of being able to self-protect. In addition to learning how to safely handle and shoot a firearm, also developed is invaluable muscle memory that could someday safe his or her life in the event self-defense became necessary and you weren’t present at the time to provide it.

When it comes to firearms and new relationships, a compromise is often necessary, but that should not come at the expense of your overall protection and safety. If you take the time to introduce the person you are wooing to firearm use in a reasonable, responsible way, allowing them to accept and embrace it on their own terms, it can only have a positive impact in the long run. As hunters and recreational shooters alike, we must unify in our efforts to promote guns in a positive light, and sharing your hobby openly with the person you love is an excellent place to start.

Image from Wheeler Cowperthwaite on flickr

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