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4 Helpful Firearms Safety Reminders for My Abusive Ex

To No One’s Surprise, He Was a Cop

By Veronica WrenPublished about a month ago 4 min read
Photo by author: Veronica Wren

Firearms safety isn’t just a personal responsibility; it’s a matter of life and death, especially in the hands of those who use them to intimidate and control. We can make a meaningful change by advocating for meaningful support for those with mental health issues and those trapped in traumatic situations.

Gun Shy: Reluctant Owners are Responsible Owners

The police academy was the first place I ever held a pistol. It’s also where I met the fellow officer who would become my violent abuser for the next five years.

From the beginning, I wasn’t a fan of shooting. The full-sized pistol was uncomfortably large in my hand, and I struggled not to flinch with each recoil.

On top of that, the range was where we were most likely to be physically punished to the point of cruelty, usually under brutal weather conditions.

It was one of my least favorite parts of training (and I have some stories about training), yet it took up a huge chunk of the academy.

While I became a decent enough shot with practice, I hoped to be lucky enough never to need to use a gun against another person. Thankfully, I managed to make that a reality when I finally left law enforcement in 2021.

Accidental Discharge: Beware the Cops Who Love “Runnin’ and Gunnin’”

My abuser, on the other hand, loved guns. They were probably the one thing in life he was most loyal to. He was obsessed with the point that he was, quite literally, never without one or more.

Oddly, for someone who’d regularly rant about the recklessness of irresponsible gun owners, he sure was a prime example of one.

You’d think at some point between the years of military, hunting, and law enforcement, he would’ve been required to memorize the basic rules of safe firearm handling (I’m being facetious: I can confirm that we were forced to recite it nearly every day in the academy).

Since all the excessive drinking and normalized violence seem to have clouded his memory, I thought I’d do him a favor and throw together a quick refresher on the 4 most basic rules of firearm safety:

1. Treat every firearm as if it were loaded.

Because let’s be real, you know they are; you made sure of it yourself!

Ever the catastrophist, you’d laugh at the unprepared fools who kept their ammo and weapons in separate rooms. All 20+ of the guns you had stashed throughout our home were loaded and ready to fire on a whim. Still, they were your favorite toy; you played with them constantly, even when you sleepwalked (something both common and horrifying).

Indeed, a woman is five times more likely to be murdered when her abuser has access to a gun. — EFSGV

But hey, I was supposed to blindly trust you 100%, right? Anything else was unacceptable to you, so what did other numbers even matter?

2. Keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction.

It will shock you to discover that aiming your gun at the chest of your significant other does not count as pointing it in a safe direction.

To an alcoholic combat veteran-turned-cop who was obviously in denial about their PTSD and other mental health issues, any moment could morph into a potential ambush. Despite the loaded guns hidden in every room; in drawers, behind doors, under couches, you insisted on carrying one in your hand from room to room.

Do you see how that hypervigilance could become a problem when mixed with a 12-pack of Coors?

To be honest, probably not.

3. Know your target and what lies beyond it.

Even when you’re randomly shooting billboards out of moving car windows, the ATF kindly requests that you take proper safety precautions.

A bullet can travel a long way whether it misses, goes through, or ricochets off of its intended target.

While it’s clear you don’t care about your long-term health or the safety of others, you must have some sense of self-preservation. Or at the very least, some desire to avoid being arrested again?

4. Keep your finger off the trigger unless you intend to fire the weapon.

I couldn’t count the number of times that we had the term “trigger discipline” (I refuse to link to the gun advocacy blogs that come up when Googling that term) drilled into our heads in the academy.

About tied with my concern over your reckless, drunken firearm handling was my fear that you were abiding by this safety tip, only slipping your finger onto the trigger when you were willing to fire.

How often did I see it casually resting there, ready to fire in a twitch if I made a wrong move, said the wrong thing?

It gives me chills to think that you’d certainly thought about what you’d do if that happened. When that happened.

Your Deluded Takeaway, Probably

All gun owners are responsible for educating themselves on the risks associated with guns and the best practices for storing them securely.

But hey, at the end of the day, if you happened to black out from drinking and slip up here and there, no big deal! Everyone makes mistakes. If only everyone else would relax, crack open a beer, and quit nagging you. As usual, you know exactly what you’re doing, they’re the ones with the problem.

To My Fellow Survivors

Trauma sucks. Recovery shouldn’t. Subscribe to receive your FREE digital copy of my new guided journal, “Empower and Heal: 90 Days of Transformational Prompts for Trauma Recovery, Self-Discovery, and Growth”, delivered straight to your inbox!

If you enjoyed this article, I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

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About the Creator

Veronica Wren

Trauma sucks. Recovery shouldn't. Subscribe here for your FREE exclusive guided journal

❤️‍🩹 bio.link/veronicawren ❤️‍🩹

Domestic Abuse & CPTSD Recovery Coach

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    Veronica WrenWritten by Veronica Wren

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