The Firearms UK led Unity campaign was launched on 20th March 2014. Although the focus of the campaign is on .22 pistol shooting it presents a further opportunity for the entire shooting community to unite and support each other, to support the sport as a whole, hence the name Unity.
Being one of the most diverse sports available offering a huge variety of disciplines to the many demographics who enjoy shooting, it is obvious that not all will be interested in the discipline of .22 pistol shooting, or any specific discipline for that matter, it is the variety that helps make the sport so inclusive, there is something for everyone.
We do all love the sport though, we want it to survive, to thrive, to be around for our children and grandchildren and their grandchildren… don’t we?
Assuming the answer to the above question is “Yes”, why then as a community do we still experience in-action and division… whether it be political lobbying, contributing to the PACEC study or signing petitions, why do the many continually leave the work of defending the sport to the few, when it is the responsibility of everyone?
Yes there are differences in law regarding the right to hold SGC and FAC, but when those who would see the sport dissolved and forgotten start to target the next aspect of shooting, when it becomes the turn of another discipline to have their particular interest targeted, if this division and inaction to support ALL shooting persists, who will become the last man standing, or don’t we care anymore?
Unsupported effort breeds unsupported effort, the resignation that failure breeds failure and that is the cycle to be broken, and unless someone takes the initiative, puts behind them the constant barrage of negativity, rises above the difficulties and drives forward little will ever change for the positive.
So, we have decided we love shooting, but we recognize the lack of action, the lack of unity in ourselves or in others, we have probably all heard an excuse given to requests for positive action , lets debunk a few of them.
That’s what I pay XYZ Organisation for
No organisation, however large or well-funded can do everything. Threats to shooting come in many forms, and the established shooting organisations work tirelessly to defend the sport from them to the best of their ability, but as with any organisation there are limits on what they alone can do. One of the biggest strengths any membership organisation has is its membership, an active body of supporters willing to stand up for what they love, yet within shooting may are quick to get the benefits, but do little to support the organisations who actually defend what they love, day in and day out. Being a member of a shooting sports organisation funds vital work, much of which will not be published, and in return many benefits; such as insurance are awarded but simply being a member is not an excuse for failing to act as an individual. Many initiatives can be created and or are supported by organisations; petitions and consultations are a clear example, it is individual’s en-masse that will make the difference.
I’m only interested in my discipline
The shooting sports is not one discipline, not one discipline is superior or even takes center stage, even if you are only interested in rifle shooting or shotgun shooting within those categories are many different disciplines. It is this richness and diversity offered by all of the disciplines within the sport that helps promote and defend it.
Threats to shooting generally attack the entire sport, if we continue to counter them by division and protecting our own interests rather than the entire sport as a whole, we weaken our defence not strengthen it. Shooting contributes greatly to many aspects of UK society, providing many opportunities for recreation and sport and contributing to conservation efforts and the economy, but it is the sport as a whole which does this, if we were to cherry pick and tally our efforts for each discipline we would be far less effective.
As a clay pigeon shooter, you may not be interested in game shooting, but the conservation efforts employed by those game shoots help defend the sport as a whole, where you can benefit as a clay shooter.
As a target rifle shooter you may not be interested in practical shotgun, but developing disciplines like PSG and Mini Rifle appeal to a whole new generation and their involvement and financial contributions support the sport as a whole, increasing the economic contributions from the shooting community to the UK economy, which in turns helps protect the sport from those who would see it further marginalized.
XYZ doesn’t give the sport a good name
With a growing influx of new and younger shooters coming into the sport, thankfully this is less of a problem than it might have been some years ago. All of the disciplines within the UK shooting sports are unanimously positive to the sport individually and combined promote a diverse and interesting sport which is incredibly inclusive and open to anyone, of virtually any taste. The wide variety within the shootings sports is obviously an attraction to newcomers into the sport, anyone who is not interested in bench rest rifle shooting can try gallery rifle, anyone not interested in rifles at all can shoot shotguns, muskets and in Northern Ireland or the Channel Islands even pistols.
Some however would happily dismiss all of the above, ignore the economic and other benefits of all the disciplines and instead would rather the sport reflected their own view, perhaps offering limited opportunities or a reduced number of disciplines to appease those who have no interest, knowledge or actually wish to harm the shooting sports. Is this really the approach we should be taking, ignoring the many benefits and actually harming our own sport to appease those who would rather the sport not exist at all?
Lets no longer be inactive or dismiss the proactive efforts of others or leave everything up to the organisations doing all they can to defend our sport, the sport we apparently love so much… instead lets show some Unity, lets work together, lets support each other to the benefit of the shooting sports and help ensure they are around to the benefit of generations to come.
We at Firearms UK are committed to creating more Unity and positive action.
Full details of our Unity campaign can be found on our website https://firearmsuk.org/unity