What is hoplophobia?

Hoplophobia is the fear of guns and armed people. This phobia causes a person to have irrational and obsessive fears about weapons and the dangers they can pose. It is considered a typical reaction, and not a phobia, for a person to be afraid if they are in a store and a thief walks in with a gun. On the other hand, a person suffering from hoplophobia is always afraid of firearms, even if they are in no immediate danger. Symptoms of severe phobia related to firearms can control a person’s daily actions, thoughts, and decisions.


Some people with hoplophobia may have been caused by a traumatic event in their childhood, such as a home invasion or the loss of a parent with gunshot wounds. Other people with hoplophobia may have their symptoms popping up out of nowhere. When a person with a gun phobia sees a gun or thinks of a gun, physical symptoms such as sweating, chest pain, difficulty breathing, and tremors can occur. Some hoplophobes even have full-blown anxiety or panic attacks if they encounter a gun or even see a picture of a gun.

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Symptoms of Hoplophobia

Not all hoplophobes are affected in the same way by their psychological state. Some people with the condition may not show symptoms until they see a gun in person and can avoid panic attacks by staying away from shooting locations or any other place where guns may be present. People with extreme hoplophobia may not be able to work, socialize, or even leave home due to the damage they believe guns cause. Some extreme hoplophobes fear that strangers carry concealed weapons that can be used to harm themselves or others. People who are hypoplophobic may even have a hard time.

A person who suffers from hoplophobia so severely that daily life is affected should seek the help of mental health professional. A psychologist or psychiatrist can work with the patient to overcome fear or find ways to manage it during an anxiety attack. Some mental health professionals use exposure therapy to slowly introduce the dreaded object into a person’s life. Cognitive behavioral therapy and biofeedback therapy can also be used to treat hoplophobia. Patients can also be taught deep breathing exercises and other relaxation techniques to help make anxiety attacks shorter and less painful.

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