Recently the issue of Doctors fees was brought up on the BBCs Countryfile programme and in the aftermath it seems that the anti-hunters/anti-shooters took to their social media pages to complain about “blood junkies draining money from the NHS” or questioning “why people need to own guns/ban guns” and saying if we want the “privilege of owning guns we should pay”, “licence fees should be increased” and so forth.
Reading through these comments the level of ignorance, prejudice and hypocrisy is astounding. Much of this seems to be about the perception that all shooters are rich “toffs” when in fact many shooters are ordinary working class people who shoot for the pot or shoot for pest control, a service that is vital to food production and protecting the UK countryside and something that will likely be done for free. Indeed it seems as if it is more about sticking 2 fingers up to the wealthy than about any noble concerns of animal welfare.
They ignore shooters will most likely be tax payers and already likely cover these costs through their taxes, they are also blind to the estimated £1billion that shooting is worth to the UK economy and the much needed jobs and services that it provides in the rural communities of our nation.
Many of them claim it is blood lust and it is people killing “innocent animals” but likely eat meat themselves and even if they are vegetarian or vegan, animals will be shot to protect the crops consumed by them. If they weren’t then food costs would rise, the countryside would be damaged and animals would suffer themselves from overpopulation and starvation. To give an example of the kind of damage that can be done, rabbits alone cost in the region of £260 million in damage to crops, business and infrastructure. Regardless of what “anti’s” think it has to be done and there is “blood on their hands” as much as the people they despise. Only the people they despise have a respect and connection with their quarry that they will never likely understand. It is shocking that in this day and age of technology people hold such strong opinions based on ignorance not fact.
Then we come to the complaints about how cheap a “gun licence” is, how if you can afford a shotgun you can afford to pay more. Often with flawed comparisons made to television licences and drivers licences. (Neither of which is required to own or use a television or motor vehicle on private land, the exact opposite of a FAC/SGC) A point on certificates is they are forced upon us by the state, apparently passively supported by the public in the name of public safety. It adds no value to us, is often inconsistent in service, we are potentially held to ransom by some unscrupulous GPs and we are held to much higher standards of behaviour than your “average” member of the public yet everyone seems to want to add more costs, hurdles and any number of arbitrary restrictions they can think of..
Well I say if you want these restrictions then it’s only fair it should come from the public purse. Shooters are themselves members of the public, likely pay tax and effectively pay twice for this procedure. This is no subsidy to our sports, if it was applied to any other sport it would be considered a hindrance. We do not seem to see any real desire to improve efficiency or effectiveness of our laws or systems, we just see a continued desire to increase regulation or restrictions unnecessarily, maintain power over people and passing responsibility for decisions. We don’t seem to see any real discussion or study on what laws could be passed that have been shown to benefit public safety and what could be done away with as costly wastes of shooters time, police time and taxpayers money that do nothing for public safety.
I also say to them, check your prejudice, it may not be obvious because shooters and hunters are considered an acceptable target but consider the language used and if it was directed towards a protected minority group and it would quickly become apparent that this language would not be tolerated. It is no different from any other kind of bigotry or racism based on opinions formed from ignorance and I can guarantee all these antis would not tolerate that kind of prejudice, that is their hypocrisy.
The fact that shooters are among the most law abiding people in the country, contribute considerable amounts to the treasury, perform vital rural work in terms of land management and conservation and even bring glory to the nation at international sporting events is continually ignored.
Anti’s may be great at dressing up in masks and calling for the deaths of innocent people on social media (which doesn’t seem to do much when such comments are reported) but I don’t think you’ll see them out in the field looking after the landscape or out in estuaries collecting litter to preserve and protect our valuable resources.
As a community there is lots to be done we need to keep educating people as to the facts of our sports and hobbies, we need to introduce people to them and let them experience it first hand and hopefully become firearms owners themselves. Finally we need to get involved with politics to start making our politicians do what is right by us and not just what gets votes from the ignorant or prejudiced to further what seems to be an agenda in the continued reduction of legal firearms owners.