hoplophobia, (n), a mental disturbance characterized by an irrational aversion to weapons.

The term hoplophobia was coined by Jeff Cooper over thirty years ago, “in the sincere belief that we should recognize a very peculiar sociological attitude for what it is -- a more or less hysterical neurosis rather than a legitimate political position.”

Born in 1920 in Los Angeles, California, Cooper has been a professor of history, holds the rank of lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Marines, and is widely recognized as the father of “The Modern Techniques of Shooting”, a composite of gun handling, marksmanship, and mindset.1 He is the author of several books, including Fireworks and To Ride, to Shoot Straight and Speak the Truth, founder (in 1975) of the American Pistol Institute, and Editor at Large for Guns and Ammo magazine (where many of his controversial Commentaries can be found.) He is, not surprisingly, a member of the Board of Directors of the National Rifle Association of America.

His explanation of the term hoplophobia:

It follows convention in the use of Greek roots in describing specific mental afflictions. "Hoplon" is the Greek word for "instrument," but refers synonymously to "weapon" since the earliest and principal instruments were weapons. Phobos is Greek for "terror" and medically denotes unreasoning panic rather than normal fear. Thus hoplophobia is a mental disturbance characterized by irrational aversion to weapons, as opposed to justified apprehension about those who may wield them. . . We read of "gun grabbers" and "anti-gun nuts" but these slang terms do not face up to the reasons why such people behave the way they do. They do not adequately suggest that reason, logic, and truth can have no effect upon one who if (sic) irrational on the point under discussion. You cannot say calmly "Come, let us reason together" to a hoplophobe because that is what he is -- a hoplophobe. He is not just one who holds an opposing view, he is an obsessive neurotic. You can speak, write, and illustrate the merits of the case until you drop dead, and no matter how good you are his mind will not be changed.
. . . The essence of the affliction is the belief that instruments cause acts. It may be that certain degenerate human beings are so far gone that they will use something just because it is there -- a match, for instance. (I saw a bumper sticker in the Rockies that admonished "Prevent Forest Fires. Register Matches!") One who will burn people because he has a match is the same as one who will shoot people because he has a gun, but the hoplophobe zeroes in on guns because he is -- let's face it -- irrational. He will answer this by saying that we need matches (and cars, and motorcycles, and power saws, et cetera) but we do not need guns. He will not accept the idea that you may indeed need your guns, because he hates guns. He is afflicted by the grotesque notion that tools have a will of their own. He may admit that safe driving is a matter of individual responsibility, but he rejects the parallel in the matter of weapons. This may not be insanity, but it is clearly related to it.
One cannot rationally hate or fear an inanimate object. Neither can he rationally hate or fear an object because of its designed purpose. Whether one approves of capital punishment or not, one cannot rationally fear a hemp rope. One who did, possibly because he once narrowly escaped hanging, would generally be referred to a shrink. When the most prominent hoplophobe in the United States Senate says that he abhors firearms because their purpose is to put bullets through things, he reinforces the impressions that many have formed about his capacity to reason.
My point -- and I hope it is clear -- is that hoplophobia is a mental disturbance rather than a point of view. Differences of opinion -- on economic policy, or forced integration, or the morality of abortion, or the neutron bomb -- these we may hope to resolve by discussion. But we cannot so resolve a phobia. The mentally ill we cannot reach. But we can identify a form of mental illness for what it is, and so separate its victims from the policy considerations of reasonable people.2

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1 http://home.sprynet.com/~frfrog/cooper.htm 5/24/02 2Jeff Cooper, To Ride, Shoot Straight, and Speak the Truth. Boulder, Colorado: Paladin Press, 1990. (pages 16-19) ; quoted on http://teapot.usask.ca/cdn-firearms/Misc/hoplophobia 5/24/02


Author's note: this has been brought to you by one who believes knowledge is power. I wasn't familiar with this term (or the man) before RubenAzarja found and reported the nodeshell to the CRT; you might not agree with this viewpoint, but it's worth knowing that it exists; even if you're violently opposed, now you're armed with information.

I understand the point that Mr. Cooper is trying to make, and I think he states his case fairly well, but my concern is that in actuality he (or like-minded individuals who read his work) would dismiss ANYONE with an opposing point of view as mentally unstable. That in itself doesn’t leave much room for discussion.

P.S. Before you jump in with arguments pro or con, follow some of the softlinks below. Your radical ideas about gun control have already occurred to others. Have a nice day.

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