Ignorance is not a personality flaw.
In this age of instant information, it can be very easy to mistake reading about a subject for learning about the subject.
So, when the gaps in our knowledge present themselves we can become defensive or oblivious, pretending that the gap doesn’t exist at all.
Whether it’s survival tactics or how to handle dangerous animals, those gaps in knowledge can be as dangerous as the topic itself.
So, what happens when a loved one’s passion for a dangerous piece of equipment outweighs their knowledge?
That was the issue facing Redditor and Original Poster (OP) Specialist_Prompt_54 when they came to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for judgment.
WIBTA for buying my partner (30M) gun safety training courses for the holidays?
OP began with some history.
“My partner has owned a few guns during our relationship that usually have been stuffed in a drawer or in a case.”
“I personally have never trusted his competency with using a gun. I believe he’s gone to maybe one or two gun ranges with friends in the past decade.”
“I didn’t grow up with guns and see no purpose in having one beyond hunting.”
“We’ve never had an event that has garnered the need for one.”
“We also live in a very safe neighborhood. However, my partner is quite paranoid about people breaking in.”
They explained their plan.
“I would like to get him a safety refresher course and range time as a gift this year.”
“I’m not sure how he’ll take that because I think he thinks he’s confident in his experience.”
“However there was a night months ago where he was examining his gun, removing the magazine, pulling back the slide on the chamber, all while hap hazardly pointing it in my direction multiple times while I stood in the room.”
“I, of course, freaked the f**k out because despite not handling guns in my life I know the cardinal rule is that you never, under any circumstance, point a gun at a person unless you intend to shoot or kill.”
“You always triple-check that it’s unloaded or empty chamber before being handed over and make sure the muzzle is facing down as it’s handed.”
“He freaked out back to me about how I didn’t know what I was talking about. And… the kicker was there was a bullet in the chamber while this happened.”
OP was left to wonder,
“WIBTA for buying him a safety course and some gun range time?”
“I have a feeling it would be seen as a passive-aggressive action when in all reality I just want him to be 100% competent.”
“Pricing wise I would also take those courses because if I ever need to use that weapon I would know how.”
Having explained the situation, OP turned to Reddit for judgment.
Redditors weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Redditors decided: NTA
Many considered this a safety issue.
“Always assume a gun is loaded, period.”
“Too many stories of people accidentally killing themselves or loved ones dicking around.”
“Firearms are designed to kill things. They are not toys” ~ WholeAd2742
“Um, seriously, save that money and move the f*ck out. He pointed a live gun at you.”
“Dealbreaker.” ~ Skizzybee
“Gun owner here. I would NEVER point a gun at my SO. Loaded or unloaded.”
“My partner would leave me in a heartbeat if I did, and they would be 100% right to do so.”
“That’s INSANE.” ~ IsardIceheart
“Unfortunately, I’ve heard too many times in the news about someone keeping a loaded weapon by the bed and accidentally unaliving their partner because they were walking in the dark.”
“The most recent high profile case was the Oscar Pistorius case.”
“OP, for your safety, your partner has demonstrated that they are irresponsible with a deadly weapon and have no regard for the safety of you or others.” ~ jasperjamboree
Commenters tried to make the point as clear as possible.
“YWBTA – part one (the minor issue) – “
“Gifting: While I get where you are coming from, it’s not a gift. It’s an ultimatum.”
“He won’t appreciate it, and he definitely won’t attend because of this. He will, however, resent you for it. Not that it really matters because:”
“YTA – part two (the major one) -“
“Gun safety: holy sh*t you need to leave this person until they understand that you do NOT point a gun at someone, EVER.”
“It’s always loaded. It’s not a toy.”
“Holy sh*t you should have left the moment he did it the first time. YTA to yourself and your personal safety for even sticking around.” ~ Encartrus
“I agree with this, and not because I think OP is wrong for wanting their partner to take safety classes (they’re not wrong). I just think presenting it as a gift is not the way to go.”
“OP I appreciate your thought of getting the classes as a gift to try to assuage your partner’s ego, but I don’t see this coming off any other way than passive-aggressive.”
“He doesn’t sound like he’s being realistic about gun safety or his own capabilities, and as you said he thinks he’s got everything down so why would he need classes (from his POV)?”
“It’s not that I’m all that concerned about preserving his ego, it’s that I think gifting the classes may create more problems than solutions.”
“What will you do if he simply doesn’t go?”
“You’ll be back to square one with needing him to learn gun safety.”
“And if you insist upon it then, I can almost guarantee the discussion will be derailed into ‘you bought me a gift that wasn’t actually a gift.'”
“Honestly in this scenario, I think being upfront about what you need him to do is absolutely warranted.”
“He doesn’t need to be gently encouraged to take classes, he needs to understand that he is NOT a safe gun handler and if he’s going to own guns around you (or at all, tbh) he MUST learn proper handling and safety.”
“The moment where he accidentally pointed it towards you was fraught with both of you freaking out, but now you can approach him calmly and firmly and tell him that for your own safety (as well as his and everyone else’s) he must learn proper gun handling from an expert.”
“And if he’s simply not at all willing to admit that he mishandled the gun in that scenario you described… well, I wouldn’t be comfortable living with him, I’ll say that.” ~ RonsGirlFriday
There were also personal stories.
“I am an avid gun owner, AND I CAN’T AGREE WITH YOU MORE!!!”
“If you can’t take gun safety seriously you have no business handling a firearm. Tell him, don’t ask him, and don’t wait to give it as a present.”
“And it is grounds to leave if he pushes back. Please stay safe.” ~ Dry-Bullfrog-3778
“I grew up with a lot of firearms in the home and NONE were ever ‘stuffed in a drawer or in a case.'”
“They were kept unloaded in a secure location.”
“The rule of never pointing a gun at someone unless you intend to use it is non-negotiable.”
“So much so that one day when my father came home to find me playing with a squirt gun he immediately took it away from me and crushed it underfoot.”
“He didn’t want us even pointing a play gun at another.” ~ MidwestNormal
“I fully agree with this.”
“OP, my friend is a combat veteran and avid firearms collector.”
“He’s absolutely militant about gun safety, but one time he had a negligent discharge while cleaning a gun.”
“He didn’t hurt anyone because he followed the first rule of gun safety.”
“Do not stick around a man who won’t follow the basic rules of gun safety.” ~ throwawayoctopii
Many commenters mentioned the rules.
“I’m not in a relationship with the guy, and I want to get further away from him.”
“If the guy doesn’t know the Four Rules, he shouldn’t own a gun.”
“If he’s opposed to training, he shouldn’t own a gun.”
“If he treats them like a toy, he shouldn’t own a gun.”
“If he refuses to learn, GTFO.”
“He is an active threat to everyone within half a mile.”
“I’d say the same thing about someone randomly firing arrows into the sky or lighting off fireworks in an area where wildfires are a thing.”
“Someone this dangerous is not someone you want in your life.”
“This is one of the few times where I’d say an ultimatum is on the lighter end of the scale rather than a bad idea.”
“If you REALLY think this relationship is worthwhile, lay the ultimatum on the deck. If he doesn’t follow through immediately, run.” ~ ExcitingTabletop
“My kids were 3 or 4 years old, and they could recite my gun rules (even though we didn’t own any).”
“1- always assume a gun is loaded”
“2- pointing a gun at someone means they could die (I clarified ‘never point unless planning to shoot’ as they got older).”
“3- if you see a gun at a friend’s house (or they’re holding it), immediately tell a grownup. And don’t touch the gun.”
“Eventually they had a chance to try at scout outings.”
“My son is required to take a gun safety lesson every year by his scoutmaster, whether or not he chooses to shoot on the camping trip.”
“(All boys are excited to shoot the first time, but once they’ve done it a few years guns aren’t as cool).”
“A grown man treating a gun casually turns my stomach.” ~ dehydratedrain
Knowledge is a beautiful thing and is always worth sharing.
Ignorance is not a personality flaw, it is an opportunity to find out new things and revel in the learning.
Never, ever, stop learning.