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I’m dating again. Early in the process, I learned to use the word “process.” Women still seem to like psycho-babble. What they don’t like is guns. Not in these parts. Rhode Island is such a blue state they pipe Muddy Waters into elevators. The Ocean State is so liberal you have to hug a homosexual homeless person before you get married. During every one of my recent dates, I eventually got the impression that my female companions think I’m Travis Bickle. You know, certifiable. This occurs through the process Ralph calls “guided discovery.” In other words, my female companions ask questions clearly designed to reveal dangerous hopolophila. Here are the three most common queries and how I parry them. File it under “a man’s gotta do”. . .

Why do you feel that you need to carry it all the time?

Implicit in the question: you don’t need to carry a gun all the time and what the hell’s wrong with you? There are lots of standard replies to this one, from “Because cops are too heavy” to a bunch of heavy stats about crime mixed with hyper-local anecdotes.

None of these jocular or rational responses address the real problem: the obscure objects of my desire are scared of guns and, thus, me.

I go with “I don’t need to carry it all the time. I probably don’t need to carry it at all. But there may come a time, and I hope it never arrives, when I do need a gun. Maybe when my daughter’s life is in danger. (Note: not me.) If I need it then, I’ll have it.”

The obvious long-term solution to me-specific hopolophobia: I take the woman in question to the range. Once it worked. After an adrenalin rush of epic proportions, my date chilled the f out. Another time, not. She was a terrible student: the kind who doesn’t want to learn. Litmus test yes. Bummer? Definitely.

How many guns do you have?

Implicit in this question: if you have more than, say, three, you’re a nutcase. The standard reply: “some.” “A few.” “Not many.” Vagueness = defensiveness =  Travis Bickle. Worse, deflection invites further inquiries about number and type. Answering that line of questioning honestly feeds the paranoia. Not answering feeds the paranoia.

I go with “How many pairs of shoes do you have?” The important play here: I MAKE HER LIST HER SHOES. Then I talk about different shooting solutions (not using the word solutions). I’ve got a handgun for target shooting, a handgun for personal defense, a rifle for long distance target shooting (not hunting) and a shotgun for trap shooting (not home defense).

Note: “a” gun. Yes, I have multiple firearms for all these disciplines. But there’s no way around the fact that saying “I’ve got three shotguns for home defense and ten handguns” puts me on a hiding to nowhere. I.e., another night watching Westerns. Alone. If she asks me how many guns I have in total, it’s “six.”

The obvious long-term solution: I buy her a gun. In theory. For someone living in Rhode Island that’s almost the same as telling someone with back pain to become a licensed chiropractor. I reckon the trick here is to get her to handle my most beautiful weapon. And then I unload, make safe and hand over a firearm.

How often do you go shooting?

Implicit in the question: just how obsessed are you? The standard reply: once a month. Which is, of course, a lie. (The honest reply: “As often as I possibly can.”)

I go with “Enough to make sure I can shoot safely.” Let’s call that a half-truth. The important play here: I change the subject before she can ask for a number. Either that or I hedgehog. What’s the best thing to do if someone hands you a hedgehog? Hand it back. “How many times do you think someone who owns a gun should practice with it?”

Note: practice? Well sure it is. Another half-truth? To quote Marge from Fargo, “you betcha.” Although this website is called The Truth About Guns I am not going to live a Soup for One lifestyle. Unless I have to. Because there is a long-term solution.

Bail. The only power I have in any negotiation is the power to walk away. If I’m on an actual date, chances are it will last long enough for me to pay the bill no matter what I say about guns. Sometimes, that’s enough. And if it isn’t, well, it isn’t. C’est la vie.

My chances of sustaining a relationship with a closed-minded anti are precisely zero. Conversion is one of those risk reward deals. If it’s not worth it, it’s not worth it. If it is, well, nuts.

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  1. No one has walked away due to my interest in firearms – yet. One woman saw my desktop wallpaper picture of a Desert Eagle and was kind of surprised, but she was already into me, so it wasn’t too much of an issue – her summer camp rifle scores were even listed in an old NRA booklet from way back when. I even took her to my local range a few times, and we both had a good time.
    For other women I’ve met, I use this line: “Did you go to summer camp?” Almost everyone in the NYS suburban areas has, at some point. “Did you do any rifle shooting or archery?” If their reply is “Yes, and I enjoyed it!” or “No, but I’ve always wanted to try” – then that’s usually a good sign.
    Everyone I’ve taken to the range has enjoyed it tremendously.

  2. Haha. I don’t envy you, but a man’s gotta do… good luck finding someone who supports you and your interests. Those of us that do are lucky, I think.

  3. “I reckon the trick here is to get her to handle my most beautiful weapon.”

    Is that a euphemism? Or did I get off-track while reading your post about dating? 😉

  4. No good way to mention firearms here. Just saying the word immediately brands you as a gun nut with the women.

  5. BTW… there are actually “dating events” with firearms… including one that involves shooting a .22 at the West Side Pistol Range in NYC. I went to one, and unfortunately(?), the ladies there were more interested in meeting a gun than meeting a prospective partner.

    • Yeah, theres a lady’s night here in Chicago at Maxons. Problem is they don’t allow men, and most of the ladies weigh more than me (180lbs)

  6. Maybe it’s my area, maybe it’s just me, but my guns have never been an impediment with women. Part of that may be that I’d often meet them in or take them to alcohol-serving establishments, where I have to leave the piece at home or in the car. My general principle is the same as for my hand (I lost part of a couple fingers some years back), I don’t talk about it unless asked and I don’t act embarrassed or furtive. I don’t apologize, ever, and that includes sounding apologetic (in fact, I consider that good advice when speaking to women in general). I know some girls have been off-put by it, but I have some extremely liberal female friends who are fine with it, and my girlfriend who was initially skeptical loves it. Says it makes her feel safer. Most of my conversations about it go something like this:
    Her: “Is that a gun?”
    Me: “Yep”
    Her: “Why are you carrying it?”
    Me: “I always carry a gun, everywhere I am legally allowed”.
    Her: “But why?”
    Me: “Because I take responsibility for my own personal safety and the safety of those around me. It’s important to me to be prepared, you know, like a Boy Scout.”

    And with that segue way, move the conversation along.

    My job is made easier by the fact that I live in an extremely high-violent-crime city, but I think the principle works generally.

  7. Another way to ask “What the hell’s wrong with you?” is “What are you afraid of?”.

  8. Travis Bickle sounds about right. I’m glad to hear you’re getting out, Robert. It might do you some good to see yourself from the perspective of others who are not part of your world.

    And I thought I was about the only one serving that purpose for you.

        • MikeB is afraid of anything that isn’t issued to him monthly by the government. So unless whatever European country he’s living in has a monthly prostitute allowance, I’d say you’re spot on.

  9. “Maybe when my daughter’s life is in danger.”
    I wish I could use that line, not only does it not make you seem crazy, but women and baby/child crazy.

    “I go with “How many pairs of shoes do you have?””

  10. As soon as the gun issue comes up, it’s time for a range date. The girlies live shooting even if they won’t admit it. Usually that makes the issue go away.

    If she’s not interested in going to the range to even try it, I’m not interested in her.

  11. RF, good piece. You have given some deeper ways to respond versus the boiler plate replies that often don’t work too well. It made me smile reading the reply about carrying for another (your daughter) subtly implying how your carrying a gun might also save your date/lover/future wife sometime.

    My Brooklyn NYC sister, who does not have an excess number of shoes (she’s Orthodox), once asked me why I need to have more than one gun. I responded with asking her why she needs to have more than one style or type of knife in her kitchen: different situations require different tools. I was tempted to ask her if she would like to have more than one type of husband (like one who actually helps out, works, and provides something) which would probably have gotten a laugh out of her.

  12. My gambit is to compare shooting to fencing. Swords were originally intended for killing people, but now we just enjoy the challenge and the competition associated with them and call it “fencing.” No big deal. Shooting is a martial art like any other.

  13. I fear that you are , shall we say …bumping into.. one of the fundamental problems with american politics. conservatives believe liberals are well meaning but wrong, but liberals believe conservatives are evil and hate them. Women seem to be a to be less ideological than men though so there is hope . I think the “I dont live a life of one soup lifestyle” answer would be a good answer for both the “how many ” and How “often questions” . Your ability to move past this issue will depend on how wedded they are to that ideology. Most gun owners I know are married or in stable relationships. Remember there are lots of fish in the sea, and don’t listen to mike.

  14. My wife and I’s first date was to the shooting range. We were in a college class we had together, talking about what we were doing that weekend. I mentioned going shooting and she mentioned she had never been before so I offered to take her. Had a great time, my first anniversary present to her was a Ruger Mk III and she just sent in her Utah non-res permit app.

  15. Since you’re paying for the dinner, the drinks, the movie or concert, the transportation and the babysitter, all of which is going to set you back hundreds of dollars, your date should be the one concerned about what you think of her, and not the other way around.

    You’re paying a whole bunch of Franklins for the dubious “pleasure” of her company, she’s getting a free ride (so to speak), and she’s going to judge you? Are you effing kidding me? What a topsy-turvey world we live in.

    • dont ya love feminism? half the time she isnt wearing a dress/skirt either. and if you make a unwanted move, dont be surprised if she kicks you in the balls and screams rape.

    • #1 Ralph you are the best.

      Fifteen years ago, I was aggressively interrogated on a first (and last) date by a Jewish femi-nazi therapist. She put me through the shopping list questionnaire. Later, I swore that was the last time I would put up with such disrespectful treatment and the last time I paid for a woman’s meal (meeting up for a coffee exempted) and entertainment on a first date. I could have instead donated that money spent on her to charity or something worthwhile such as ammo or a new knife.

      “for the dubious “pleasure” of her company”
      It’s an endless roll-of-the-eyes how so many of them over-rate their beauty and charm.

  16. “The stars at night, are big and bright,
    deep in the heart of Texas”

    Move here. Date women. Shoot guns. Listen to music. Eat great food. Never shovel snow.

    • Texas sounds great but I don’t think I could deal with that heat. I’d consider it if the family business wasn’t here.

    • Here in RI it’s 72 degrees. It’s 90 right now in Dallas. Sorry; I’d love to live in Texas for all the reasons stated above, but this yankee would melt down there.

      • Idaho. It was 40 this morning, probably going to hit 75 this afternoon. In Idaho, anyone who does NOT own many guns is considered a certifiable weirdo or a transplanted Californian.

        “How many guns do you have?” Not enough.

  17. I don’t need a gun.
    I have never needed a gun.
    I hope I never need a gun.
    And, in all likelihood, I will never need a gun.
    However, should I ever need a gun, I had better have a gun.
    Therefore, I have a gun.

    In the mean time, guns are cool. Guns are fun. Have fun and be safe.

  18. Maybe your first date needs to be, “I’m going to the range Saturday, do you want to go with me?” Your going is not predicated on her answer. You are going either way. The ladies interested in you and open to guns will go.
    As for the “need” Q? I’ve needed one twice and make no excuses for still being alive.
    I save the Zombie Apocalypse stuff for later…

  19. I got to miss out on all that hoplophobia nonsense because I married a woman who was also military at the time. I once asked her father how many firearms he owned and after thinking about it for a long time he admitted he didn’t know. When I mention something about firearms now and get a bad reaction from someone, explaining that I was active duty for thirteen years and became accustomed to being armed usually calms them down because of the preconception that it’s OK if you’re in uniform so it’s OK if you used to be.

  20. 1) Go get your NRA Basic Pistol Instructor ticket if you don’t already have it. Start teaching a basic pistol class for female students only. You are pre-identified as an open-minded guy, and the issue of hoplophobia is vastly diminished.

    2)Meet women.


    • You forgot a step between 2 and 3 – take pictures of attractive women shooting said guns and post them on a website…THEN you’ll profit.

    • Mike S, RF already has his NRA ticket. So do I, along with my MA State Police cert. I’m thinking of running a women-only class, but only because women (and children) seem to be the most attentive students.

  21. Alright, going on dates with girls is not a debate. You should not answer these questions with well reasoned responses. It won’t work. That’s not how girls brains turn into romance mode. I’m not saying women won’t debate you, but even if you win, you lose. Better responses.
    1. I’m hunting wabbits
    2. it’s complicated
    3. It’s complicated

    • “That’s not how girls brains turn into romance mode.”
      That is what alcohol is for, or rufies.

  22. I don’t CCW (yet) but this is how I broke the ice to a woman I was dating at the time with a heavy religious background. It came to my birthday and was asked, “I’ll do anything you want today (going out wise) because it’s your birthday”. OK lets go to the range. Uh, OK was her response. I rented her a .22 and she loved it! Never an issue after that since, so I married her. Except that to this day she swears she shoots better than I do! What are you gonna do……..

  23. The funny thing is that my daughter has similiar problems with guys she dates. ‘Wait, you like to shoot guns? .45 is your favorite?”. Many of them are weirded out by a chick that likes guns. Oh, she lives in LA, so that may explain some of that.

    • Tell your daughter she can come to NC and we can go shooting anytime! No disrespect, of course.

  24. You seem to be approaching the whole matter from a defensive position. Be enthusiastic! Act a little bit surprised if she objects to guns.
    “Why do I have guns? Because they are COOL! Seriously, shooting is such a mind / body discipline. And I’m a guy, I like guns and cars and stuff! Oh I’m ALL about safety, absolutely. You should check out my website, it is highly regarded and got a MILLION BAZILLION hits last month. I’d be happy to bring you for a basic lesson, just let me know. (look down) Wow, um, I don’t know much about shoes but those are nice! What are they?”

    • Agreed. “Because they’re f***ing awesome” is my most-common first response- though I’ve been married 10 years so I’m not having this conversation with prospective Ms. Mike S’s. However so long as the person in question appreciates the humor, and the mood lightens, you know there’s potential for a relationship.
      They scowl, and continue the interrogation…. “Check, please.”

  25. 1. Why do you lug that purse around?
    2. What’s your SSN?
    3. Whenever the world needs saving 😉

  26. I also note that the more money a man seems to have, the better his dates tend to go.

    It’s gotta be some kind of coincidence.

  27. When they meet you for the first time, most women will assume that you are an ax murderer until proven otherwise. Never, ever talk guns on a first date. If you are carrying, remember that concealed means concealed. If she spots it, you have failed and will never get a second date no matter how convincing your arguments are.
    The time to allow a woman to discover that you are a gun-guy is after she is very comfortable around you. If you are not sure whether or not she is comfortable yet, then she is not and you need to wait. Assuming that you are in the market for a long term relationship, you have plenty of time to talk guns. Once she gets to know you, you with a gun won’t be a problem. The fact is that most of your dates will be out of your life before the subject even comes up so what’s the rush?
    Take hoplophobia out of the equation and look at it from another angle. Guns are cool so we assume that we are cool as well but in many respects gun-people are just another nerdy sub-culture. We have our own culture and dialect that is just as foreign to most people as a bunch of Trekkers speaking Klingon. You wouldn’t talk about your love of all things Star Trek on a first date, would you? So leave your nerdy gun obsession out of the conversation as well and get her to talk about herself.

    • Don’t ya love double standards, I’ve had to endure boring conversations about her of Coach products, or her art, or her period, or shitty local punk bands…

      • As I read and reply to this my wife is telling me about her day. No distraction from checking out the posts here at all.

        On the other had she likes to shoot so on average we’re good to go.

      • Asking leading questions and feigning interest in the answers is an essential dating skill. Don’t expect it to be easy…or fair.

        • I know, but where did we as men go wrong? How did we allow feminism/the womens movement to happen? Was there more too it than that? I’m too young to know (28), and being publicly educated doesnt help either.

    • damn you missing edit button. my favorite was some drunk girl at a new years eve party who keep on repeating the same story about how her grandfather was a Nazi, ignoring that mine was in the US Army Air Force or that i’m Polish/Ukrainian.

      • I think you hit the nail on the head. Feminism filled peoples heads with all kinds of nonsense. Dating and courtship has never changed and will never change because human nature never changes. Women, even feminists want the same things they have always wanted.

  28. Yeah the Mother-in-law asked that last weekend at a grad party for a step-nephew-in-law. I told her quite honestly that I stopped counting at 20. “OMG! What do you need all of them for?!?”

    I tried to deflect with the ‘How many shoes’ but she wasn’t buying it (besides unnatural woman that she is she only has 4 pairs). So I decided to play with her: “Well,” I replied “there’s the pistol under my pillow in case someone breaks in while I’m in bed; the pistol under the bathroom sink in case someone breaks in while I’m on the toilet; the pistol under my computer desk, the pistol in the bookcase, the pistol in the fridge, the pistol behind the cookbooks in the kitchen and the one behind the cookbooks in the study . . .” at this point her eyes were getting *really* wide so I told her that I was just funning her.

    Truth is unless I’m carrying it or it’s under the pillow under my head I keep them all locked up. I got a nice gun safe (not cabinet) for Christmas last year and it’s bolted to the concrete pad in the basement (G-d bless contractor friends who work for pizza and Guinness) and has a 32-digit electronic lock (4 billion+ possibilities with the factory set default code reset (G-d bless friends who work for security companies) and the keyhole welded over).

    For the “Why do you carry . . .” question I usually go with “Same reason I have smoke detectors, fire extinguishers and homeowner’s insurance. I hope I never need any of them, but if I do then I’ll be *really* glad I do.”

  29. Three Questions Gun Curious Women Want to Know:

    How big is it?
    Is it slow to shoot and fast to reload?
    How often do you go shooting?

  30. I come from the school of thought that says leave gun stuff out of the first date. My reasoning is that there is PLENTY of things that are not proper to talk about on the first date, and guns are one of them.

    That being said, when women find out I’m a gunny, I tell I do black powder, and it’s all about the BOOM, smoke and flames. This always tweeks their interest, and next thing ya know, I’m showing them photos of black powder in action. Discussion of modern guns comes afterwards.

  31. Solution: Move to Texas. They love guns here, AND they are the best looking women in the world.

  32. Sigh.

    RF, need we remind you that in this, as in all things, “Prior Planning and Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance.”

    When I was single (and living in the belly of the beast at the time, aka “California,”) I knew how a female would react to the discovery that I, a) was “into” firearms, b) advocated for RKBA and c) owned “more than one gun,” long before I asked her out.

    How did I know these things? Well, *duh*. I made sure I knew more about her before I asked her out than she knew about me.

    The ones that my intel gathering showed were going to have various phobias and hang-ups… were never asked out, even if they hinted that they wanted to be asked out.

    Same deal with money. Long before I asked a girl out, I already knew how she handled money – both her money and other people’s money.

    • “Long before I asked a girl out, I already knew how she handled money – both her money and other people’s money.”

      How’d you do that, only date friends?

      • No, one needed only observe and listen to their conversations with other women.

        If you can steel your brain to listen to the inane nonsense that women discuss when they’re with each other, all the while feigning non-interest or complete boredom, you can learn rather quite a lot about a wide range of things.

        • Yeah, it’s amazing how much one can learn through the simple and lost “art of listening”…and not repeating.

  33. Why try to fit a square peg in a round hole (no pun intended….)?

    If your ownership or enthusiasm for firearms is a significant negative to her, then the answer is simple: move on, she’s not the right one. Find someone who is either enthusiastic herself, or at a minimum, views your interest in guns as a just one of many “guy hobbies” that good women put up with, but have no interest in themselves.

  34. 1: To protect myself and others from criminals..
    2: Not enough for my personality, but, enough to do the job,
    3: As often as I can.
    And then I would walk away just to watch her head explode because I am not engaging in the argument she wants. 🙂

  35. I guess I got really lucky with my wife. For her last Birthday we went out shooting. I did miss out on some of the gun issues because I didn’t have any when we were just dating & she is ok with me fixing that issue when we can afford it.

  36. Absolutely no insult, Robert, but from the pic on the About page, you look like a fairly average guy–just like a writer, business pro, or most of the soldiers I’ve met. Me, I look like a movie villain, so I don’t get so much the “Why do you have guns? (and knives and swords and whatever else…)” as the “Why DON’T you have a secret lair hidden in an active volcano?”

    I’m also old enough to be selective (it reduces the drama, which really isn’t worth it), so ladies: you have to be enthusiastic about the dangerous weapons (many of them are, or convert as soon as they get to shoot one), no hippies and no vegans (we are so not going to get along). If the way I look doesn’t scare off the non-candidates, they’ll definitely get chased off by the attitude. (There’s a reason my friends started sticking “Darth” in front of my name as soon as I decided I was done apologizing.)

    Good luck, brother Robert. Just be you.

  37. Why not just tell her up front that you carry. If she has a problem than just don’t date her. Simple as that.

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