Fear of Firearms (Hoplophobia): Symptoms, Causes, Effects

The fear of firearms, clinically known as hoplophobia, is a complex, honest, extremely dangerous, widespread, and clinically recognizable specific phobia with unique characteristics. It has caused and continues to cause severe damage in the United States and other countries worldwide. Dr. Sarah Thompson, MD, author of two significant articles on gun phobia, states that homophobia is little more than name-calling and odd points that we discuss.

Because one of the avoidance mechanisms of this phobia involves only politics, its effects and importance are more significant than for other phobias. Comorbidities include suppressed rage, post-traumatic stress disorder, delirium disorder, and panic disorder, with implications for society. Some behaviors so far were ruled out because they seemed irrational and can be explained.


A battle is currently being waged over the causes and consequences of extreme fear of firearms and whether or not it constitutes the mental condition known as hoplofobia. Questions raised include:

  • a) Is it a severe psychological condition? b) Is it an actual phobia? c) To what extent does it affect individuals, especially people who claim to hate guns? d) How common is this condition in the general population?
  • Do those who work vigorously to ban firearms or deny other people’s firearms rights work under a relatively common mental disorder or disability? Are they afflicted by homophobia? As some professionals claim, do they project their fears, self-doubt, and repressed anger onto others?
  • Do they displace inner rage and mental anguish into the political arena – a potentially unique phobic criterion absent in the medical literature? Does this dynamic affect gun policy and threaten the continued existence of the Second Amendment?

One thing is clear:

  • It would be beneficial to address these concerns with much more scrutiny than they have received thus far, especially from psychiatric and psychological perspectives.
  • There is no rational reason to keep avoiding or dodging the topic.


  • Our research indicates that homophobia is a complex, extremely dangerous, generalized, and clinically recognizable specific phobia that meets most but not all of the indicators that the American Psychiatric Association and the medical community have established for dread, for reasons we will examine.
  • Hoplophobia proves that it falls within its category of disorders of anxiety and phobic.
  • We will explain why its prevalence has been ignored.
  • The unique parameters of this complex specific phobia explain some of the previously inexplicable features of the US gun debate and some of the irrational behaviors of people on the anti-gun rights side of the national debate.

Homophobia has caused and continues to cause severe damage in several countries. Large sections of the public and the medical community deny the harmful effects and pandemic nature of this disease. Some of what we deal with in the public arena as politics is a manifestation of this psychiatric condition. Furthermore, our thesis is that politics and ideation promoted by the media contribute to the genesis and proliferation of hoplophobia.


Dr. Sarah Thompson, MD, a psychiatrist and former Executive Director of the Utah Firearms Owners Alliance, is the author of two seminal papers that set the stage to examine the links between mental health and gun policy. Fire. She does not like the term “homophobia.” Currently, She states in correspondence with us that it is little more than a “nickname” and that it is not an actual psychiatric condition, or if it exists, it is extremely limited in nature.

Colonel Jeff Cooper, widely known and revered within the firearms community as “The Father of Modern Shooting Technique,” originally coined the term hoplophobia in 1966, a fascinating neologistic story that we will explore in a future article.

Dr. Thompson is not alone in her apparent reluctance, as the medical and mental health professional communities are firmly against guns, which is not in dispute. Many physicians are guilty of “boundary violations” when, with some frequency, they inject anti-gun political opinions or content into their clinical work as healthcare providers. We affirm that this constitutes a series of serious ethical violations, including at least:

  • The mixing of politics and health care.
  • The breach of the requirement of value neutrality in the practice of medicine and psychiatry or psychology.
  • The course is outside of recognized fields of expertise.

Driven by a questionable desire to ban firearms, many physicians have been known to use their medical credentials to validate the legitimacy of the plan typically referred to as “gun control.” The other side of the political spectrum refers to the same plan as the “denial of rights,” reflecting its inherently political and non-medical nature.

The degree to which this occurs is close to bizarre, with some in the medical community and even the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at different times trying to describe firearm possession and violence. As diseases that can be cured, and the weapons themselves as pathogens or germs. Patently absurd, this borders on irrational, a word we do not use lightly in the context of our study.

Physicians across the country, often encouraged by their professional associations (pediatricians are widely recognized to be especially at fault here), have counseled patients regarding the possession, possession, and use of firearms, areas in which Most mental and physical health care providers are uncertified and not fully qualified to give any advice.

What forces could drive medical professionals to act so far beyond the limits of their practices and experience? This is a symptom and a potentially tangential consequence of holonomic behavior. At least, it shows a concern for political loyalty and a desire for social acceptance that intrudes on the well-being of patients and the practice of medicine. In our opinion, the medical system needs to go back a bit and examine itself regarding its position and political activism on this issue. We suspect that you may resist this suggestion.

Dr. Thompson never adopted “homophobia” in her two original papers, preferring gun phobia instead. She described people who are grieving, enraged, and out of touch with the realities of responsible firearm possession, or the fundamental rights to self-defense and the balance of power that the Second Amendment was written to protect (she goes into detail about this).

We will demonstrate how homophobia (by whatever name) fits neatly into complex specific phobias with characteristics of an accompanying delusional disorder in some instances, along with some crucial additional features.

The nature of phobias

Technically, a phobia is an extreme, irrational, overwhelming, and disabling fear of an activity, situation, place, item, or object (i.e., a living thing or inanimate object).

The American Psychiatric Association’s evolving series of Diagnostic and Statistical Manuals for diagnosing mental and emotional disorders (i.e., the DSM) is the Bible of mental health and psychiatric disorders.

Define five types of specific phobias as extreme fears of particular animals

  • Natural events in the environment include fear of heights, storms, and being near water.
  • Blood, injections, and injuries
  • Specific situations such as driving, flying, elevators, and confined spaces.
  • Miscellaneous items or events such as choking or vomiting after eating specific foods or foods, popping balloons, loud sounds, clowns, ladies in red dresses, etc.

Those are the specific types of phobia. What makes a phobia complex is when it is difficult, if not impossible, to avoid the feared object or situation or aspects of it, and the feared object or situation is typically not just an object but rather a process that incorporates interactions of different things, situations, events, and phobic experiences over time.

The relentless focus on firearms in popular culture, especially in a fear-filled negative light, exacerbates this for a significant portion of the public, in our opinion. Even a cursory review of pop culture shows that this has increased dramatically in recent decades.

An example of a complex phobia is easily seen in people with a fear of flying, aerophobia. There are individual differences in the building blocks of your underlying anxieties. Some are claustrophobic and cannot bear being confined to a flight tube. Other sufferers fear the line will fall from the sky and face violent death when the plane crashes, while others fear being burned alive if the plane crashes. Much aerophobic fear all of the above and more. This diversity of underlying fears is characteristic of a complex phobia.

How does homophobia manifest?

  • Hopllophobia presents as an unusually complex phobia, with a multitude of sub or component fears that intersect in people with the condition and a surprising anomaly.
  • That anomaly, a misunderstood simultaneous connection, and disconnection exist in their contrasting perceptions and feelings about armed authority figures and firearms beyond the control of authority figures.
  • This comfortable disconnection or dissonance, a true anomaly, and contradiction remain to be examined, as well as how it mitigates or exacerbates the reactions of many patients.
  • In other words, for this group, the police with guns are OK, even welcome, while the public with firearms is a source of terror.
  • That connection to authority figures is a unique feature of the disorder.

Outside this realm of insular authority, the complexities include the fear of what they might do (“crack”) if they were near a real gun.

  • The fear of what others with a gun might do, the fear that a gun will shoot itself, the fear that a gun will drive them or others in their possession crazy, or that even the proximity may cause such a reaction.
  • Some homophobes fear that possession will lead them to be perceived as murderers or attacked, disarmed and shot with their weapon, killed, crippled, etc.
  • Lots of fantasies swirl in the minds of phobics.

Homophobia is a complex phobia that falls into the DSM category of specific blood, injection, and injury phobias. In a forthcoming documentary, we will discuss what is included in the DSM, what is excluded, the financial, political, and medical issues related to how those decisions are made, and the role of the DSM in prescribing drugs for medical purposes. Psychiatric, DSM-based insurance company billing practices, and the dramatic growth of DSM-based diagnoses, especially in children, in the United States compared to other countries. The new 5th edition of the DSM will go on sale soon. Hopllophobia will not appear. Some remarkably arcane and controversial disorders (critics say “fabricated”) will.

Why is homophobia so dangerous

  • Complex phobias vary in the degree to which they incapacitate the afflicted person socially, interpersonally, vocationally, and personally.
  • Often, the effects of a person’s complex phobia extend to the people around them.
  • This seems to be more frequent when the phobia involves firearms than with other phobias, such as aquaphobia ( fear of water ) or aerophobia.
  • If this tendency for one person to be affected somehow by someone else’s phobia were exploited politically, it would exacerbate issues in the national debate on the right to own and bear arms.
  • Hopllophobia is the most dangerous of all phobias due to its unique link to political action.
  • Because those who suffer act out their fears in the political arena, it represents a significant and underrated threat to the nation.

All phobias are reinforced and maintained through the avoidance mechanism of anxiety and panic triggered by the feared object or situation.

  • In other words, the condition is perpetuated and exacerbated by the afflicted person’s reluctance to confront the underlying fear.
  • Our view is that homophobia is by far the most dangerous of all phobias due to its unique link to political action that serves as its primary, though not the only, defensive reinforcement and avoidance mechanism.
  • Our thesis is that homophobia appears to be the only known phobia with a wide-ranging, large-scale, and socially damaging avoidance mechanism.
  • Because those who suffer act out their fears in the political arena, it poses a significant and underrated threat to the nation.

Effects edit

This means that the effects of homophobia are not innocuous, as, for example, the results of aquaphobia in people who buy houses without swimming pools.

  • Their phobia has a negligible effect on anyone except themselves (and maybe pool builders).
  • It seems that people with a fever of hope, on the other hand, who sometimes also suffer from comorbidities like PTSD and other psychiatric conditions, are working collectively to create national legislation that can compromise the United States Constitution and human freedom itself.
  • If we are correct, and psychology is predictive, we can expect vigorous denials, personal attacks, and all the classic defense mechanisms described in the medical and psychiatric literature that we have discovered and exposed with this series of papers and our research without money.
  • We would offer desensitization and the full range of evidence-based APA treatments to address this inherent and insidious confluence of issues – approaches that we believe, or at least hope, that Dr. Thompson and professionals like her will be. Agree.

You may also be interested in reading: Fear Of Being Laughed At Causes, Consequences, Strengths.

What is there to do?

  • In a measured and empirical way, we would ask ourselves how much of what you think the political debate on firearms is reduced to psychological defense mechanisms such as repression, denial, projection, evasion, and displacement?
  • “People suffer from a gun phobia, an excessive and irrational fear of firearms (emphasis in original).
  • Anti-gun constraints constantly given by the media, political figures, and others can cause a gun phobia. Some cases are caused by a real bad experience with a firearm.
  • However, most anti-gun people don’t have an actual phobia.
  • So how many are the majority? We ask ourselves to what extent the disease is widespread, to what extent the suffering is severe, to what extent those who deliberately promote the disease are to blame, and what should be done in this deplorable situation.
  • A dangerous circumstance gives us pause. Anecdotal evidence repeatedly shows that cross-sections of the American population believe that we live in a violent society. However, when investigated, most people cannot recall personally witnessing or experiencing any act of violence, severe violence, recently, or even never. Their own lives, their daily orbit, if that is any indication, are delightfully peaceful.
  • It turns out that the violence they think they are familiar with comes essentially from a single source: illuminated screens, television, movies, and the Internet.
  • The rest comes from publications called “news.” Their lives are functionally devoid of the violence in which they have been convinced they are stuck.
  • Is “our violent society” largely an invention of the mainstream media, outside of isolated incidents, crimes in bad parts of town, and video productions? Is it a massive delusion? For too many people reading this, the answer is, unfortunately, yes.

Another surprising circumstance comes to light. At least three of the nation’s most virulent gun rights crusaders suffered extreme gun trauma before entering the fray:

  • The debate about the exact nature of the condition is likely to continue for an extended period.
  • This is normal in the psychiatric and mental health fields.
  • The most pressing concern, it seems to us, are the extent of the condition, the number of people who may be affected, and the extent to which they sublimate their fear by pressuring politicians to act in denial of the rights of their fellow citizens.
  • That, it seems to us, is intolerable – the idea that a festering and untreated psychological condition may have more influence on the actions of Congress than the intelligent consideration of matters of life and death.
  • In trying to calm their confusion, the afflicted project their fears and anger onto others.
  • This is a relatively standard method of handling overwhelming fear and anger. Still, in doing so, politically active hopes violate the rights of healthy law-abiding citizens and the stability of our society.
  • This makes homophobia not unique among all phobias, but it is also dangerous.

Voices have been raised again for CDC funding on firearms issues – this neglected topic could not be more worthy of such study. Will the scientists and doctors who work in these prestigious rooms look in that direction if Congress decides to lift its funding ban?

Again, in the Thompson / Zelman brochure, “… these people cause serious harm, or even death, to others by denying them the tools for self-defense.

Feeling superior while hurting others makes reaction formation psychologically powerful and difficult to counteract. “

We also see that in many cases, these people fearful of weapons «have a diminished capacity to recognize reality … Anti-weapons people persist in believing that their neighbors and co-workers will become mass murderers if they are allowed to possess firearms. ».

Is it rational?

Because this underrecognized phobia markedly affects politics and the body politic, as we argue and have been shown – even throughout recorded history – it explains much of the irrational behavior of citizens who would otherwise be very bright and rational and would be politically involved.

  • Often when an observer is tempted to say, “That’s irrational,” about current gun policy, we find it irrational.
  • The answer is that rational people cannot, and such acts cannot provide solutions. Like many similar examples, they are an irrational manifestation of a complex specific phobic disorder. But such actions feel good, and that’s the knot.
  • This is pure psychological evasion. It does calm the anguish of the phobic patient at the expense of providing viable solutions.
  • The large-scale support that such a program sometimes finds, even within the media, implies an effect of mass hysteria or hypnosis that deserves its study, especially in light of the considerable damage such a program causes.

Acting on “remedies for hope” misleads substantial portions of the public and politicians, many of whom want to do good but do not know what they are doing.

  • Such disorientation only serves to delay the creation of real solutions, reinforcing and perpetuating the problem.
  • It confuses an easily deceptive media outlet and highly suggestible portions of the public.
  • Most importantly, it diverts scarce resources where they can do no good.
  • This is the ultimate insult of allowing phobias to fuel efforts and interfere with desperately needed pragmatic solutions to real-world problems.

The experience of fear of firearms

As a clinical psychologist and certified firearms instructor, Dr. Eimer, a co-author of this paper, has helped hundreds of people who came to his offices with specific phobias, including homophobia and the morbid fear of guns. Of fire.

  • Given the prevalence of this complex specific phobia, known as “firearm phobia,” “gun phobia,” and “homophobia,” and given its variably disabling outcomes and comorbidities (i.e., stemming from an abnormal and unhealthy interest in disturbing and unpleasant subjects, such as death and disease), there is a current need for systematic research on their causes and cures.
  • Numerous people have been observed with crippling fears about guns. Hundreds of people have been interviewed with their own stories or tales about other people’s overwhelming fear of firearms, especially firearms trainers.
  • Their stories of how they dealt with this crippling fear, how they overcame it, or how they still suffer are at the same time poignant and heartbreaking.
  • The desensitization experience that so many Americans have witnessed, where the abject horror of a gun melds into enjoyment and eager curiosity, for a terrified beginner at a shooting range, is a joy to behold.
  • It makes you feel sorry for those so terrified that they can’t risk the experience at all.

Considering the widespread and damaging nature of the condition, the literature on the subject is sparse. We add to the literature with this series of articles and an upcoming book on the subject. We invite others to join us in this critical and forgotten field of research.

  • Dr. Eimer notes, “I have witnessed how homophobia ruined marriages, ruined careers, decreased quality of life and led to the development of other anxiety disorders, especially panic disorder.
  • Perhaps most worryingly, politicians and other public figures sometimes appear to behave in a homophobic manner rather than rationally dealing with issues of great national importance. ‘
  • Without personally interviewing these people, the diagnosis is impossible. This is not to say that early diagnosis and treatment are inadvisable, especially for those with a traumatic history.

Georgia Tarrant
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Hello, how are you? My name is Georgia Tarrant, and I am a clinical psychologist. In everyday life, professional obligations seem to predominate over our personal life. It's as if work takes up more and more of the time we'd love to devote to our love life, our family, or even a moment of leisure.