Don’t tell and no one will ask…

So I have just been made aware via several Facebook groups of a situation arising in Lancashire Constabulary regarding shooters posting pictures on social media.

It seems that investigations took place after complaints by a member of the public, and it was passed to a serious crimes crimes unit, the images printed off and then sent to Lancashire Chief Constable.

Long story short the Chief Constable appears to have threatened the Certificate holder with a final warning and revocation if the images were not removed.

It was acknowledged by the local FEO that no law was broken and banning sharing images privately and on shooting groups would be too far but public images is a risk to security. All in all the FEO seems to have been pretty sound about the matter and it is coming from higher up

I suspect the publicly stated reason behind this will be something along the lines of “Criminals or Terrorists are cruising social media for gun owners” which sounds quite reasonable and understandable at first glance and I full acknowledge and accept we should all be mindful of social media and who can see what and not give too much away but it can get extreme.

Let us just consider the full implications of this for a moment and ask the following questions.

If criminals are cruising social media why are private groups ok? Once
everyone is intimidated at one level will these groups be next?

If a crazed group of terrorists wants firearms what’s to stop them attacking the armed officers we seem to see on more and more routine patrols?

If criminals ARE cruising social media and we are fairly mindful of personal security what exactly are they going to gain apart from seeing you might have a few guns? Surely a more likely scenario for them is to spy on shooting clubs and follow shooters home? So what next do we ban shooting clubs? Do we restrict them even more for advertising for members?

What is the difference between social media and the shooting magazines?



Why are potential victims of crime being treated as if they are criminals. Change the scenario to the police going through Facebook or Instagram and telling any lassie that’s dressed in a revealing outfit to take her pictures down as there are perverts on social media and she is encouraging them to rape her.

Should you not post pictures of your big screen TV, your home or your new sports car in case you encourage burglars or thieves?

Should you not take pictures of you on a day out with your kids in case it encourages a nonce?

Change the situations and you start to see how risible it is.

If firearms theft and risks to security is such a threat then why don’t we do what happens in other parts of the UK and in Europe? In Northern Ireland you can get a Personal Protection Weapon if you are deemed to be at risk of attack usually Police officers, politicians etc but it is not exclusive to that and indeed gun owners could come under those conditions. In other parts of Europe your sports shooting Licence automatically qualifies you for Concealed Carry and it has no negative effects but certainly must deter theft. If the idea of armed civilians scares you (no matter how much the evidence shows the massive deterrent effect is has on crime) then surely a pepper spray or other less lethal item wouldn’t be an extreme option if it helps keep firearms safe, indeed it is something that should be open to all members of the public. It is against all the principles of this nation that guilt is assumed, yet so many laws are based on exactly that.

I simply do not believe that people doing nothing should hide what they are doing because of criminals in society. Now that is not to say we shouldn’t all take sensible precautions, such as not giving out exact locations and keep some control over friends lists but there is a line and I think it is dangerously close to being crossed if it has not been so already.

Given the nature behind most firearms laws in the UK, the cynic in my simply thinks this is another way to reduce the public to exposure of legal firearms ownership in the UK and potentially encourage an increase in ownership. It has long been known that there has been an agenda in the reduction of private firearms ownership since the 1960s/70’s and this is it continued. Genuinely public safety is not the real concern because if it was then we would be treading a different path.

Social media has given us a powerful voice to advertise shooting and challenge misinformation and it is being taken away from us. It gives us a chance to show people out with the community that they can take up this wonderful hobby or educate them about field sports but of course if we can’t tell them, then who is going to ask?

We are not the criminals here and shouldn’t be treated like such. It is high time the powers that be stopped pandering to ignorance, media hysteria and got tough on the real causes of crime.


So again stand up, argue your case, do not be intimidated unreasonably, get involved in the politics, make sure you are in an organisation and most importantly get more people shooting. The next few years are going to be make or break for gun ownership in the UK. If we don’t get our act together now, it will definitely be too late.




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