A guest post by one of our supporters, if you have any ideas for a guest post please contact us as we feel it is vital to show exactly how the community feels so that we and others may better represent our community and do all we can to protect and promote shooting sports.
Hello fellow firearms enthusiasts!
My name is Duncan Wardlaw and I’ve been shooting actively and working in firearms retail for the last 5 years. My experience and enthusiasm for the subject goes back much further and I’d actually say that I’ve been pursuing knowledge of firearms and advocating the subject for the last 16 years.
I’ve been following the political side of gun debate at length and considering the current consultation on certain calibres and actions of firearms on the table, would like to throw in a few comparisons of note.
First off, to give some context I’d like to draw everyone’s attention to what I believe is a key example of the gun control debate in the U.S.A. and to bring a few points of note up for hopefully a bit of range-side discussion.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, on Mars or some kind of deployment to the deepest jungles you’ve probably heard of “bump stocks” by now. One of these simple add-ons was used in Las Vegas, Nevada to commit a horrible crime which sparked a lot of controversy around the western world. The bump stock itself is a simple bit of kit, a slide on stock that covers the rifle’s trigger blade, only being exposed when the rifle is pushed forward with a fore-grip which causes the index finger to “bump” the trigger. Recoil and a buffer spring repeat this process allowing the trigger-pull process to operate in a near-automatic manner.
The reason I bring this up is that after this horrible incident, the NRA in an unusual move said they would be willing to “discuss” bump-stocks. This immediately divided their members, much in the same way as that of several outspoken members of the community here in the UK. The NRA in my opinion gambled wisely, because the resulting 8-9 pieces of legislation that were drafted, were so poorly worded that any upgrade component of any firearm would be effected and restricted. The NRA reaction was swift and immediate from all its members who could now challenge the entirety of the legislation. This effort is being made from a consolidated user-base. Shooters from every discipline saw the pitfalls in the legislation and voiced their concerns. State representatives have been barraged with calls to vote against any restrictions and the advocates of gun control have been able to shout on social media, but have gained very little tracking where it counts, in the law.
Coming back to the UK scene and comparing the response to the recent consultations it’s saddening to see that not all UK enthusiasts are responding so passionately. Our gun-sports here in the UK are driven apart by shooting discipline and cliques that only serve to keep us apart and arguing among ourselves. That is not a damnation of UK shooters, however it’s a stark reminder that our opponents on the topic have been very successful in making a love of guns a taboo subject in general conversation which has fuelled these divides.
When looking at the .50 calibre rifles, M.A.R.S. and lever-action rifles, it’s easy to sit there and think that it won’t affect me, so why should I do anything about it. What about the guy at the end of the range using a M.A.R.S. action to overcome a disability, or the guys in Wales who enjoy shooting long range in the .50 calibre club. In the U.S.A. even the wording of legislation is fought over, let alone the concept however back here on home soil all we get is a badly written online form (that a lot of shooters I imagine will have skipped) and what seem to be pre-written responses from MP’s.
A lot of the social media groups on shooting subjects all talk about coming together, but that’s very hard to do when the aforementioned people that do have a bit of a following throw other disciplines under the bus. I suspect there is also a lack of manpower behind a central organisation that can pool our ideas, views, concerns and voting power to ensure the future of all our sports.
If you’re nodding your head at this point, my advice would be to watch the social media groups, share the consultation documents and links around your fellow shooters. Your local MP’s should be hearing from your gun-club members. If your MP responds positively to the contact, share their name around the area so that others can send letters of support as our fight needs to be as much carrot as it is stick.
See those awesome new pellets online from abroad, or the scope that someone can post overseas to you? Source it locally or at least from a UK dealer so that the value of the sporting firearms economy in the UK increases. Most important of all, the range down the road that does a shooting discipline you don’t (and grumble over), drop in and see them, invite a friend to come at the next available opportunity do everything you can to promote shooting and show it is a welcoming and inclusive sport.
Why you may ask?
A community of friends is stronger than a community of enemies.