Thursday, 27 November 2014

Distraction tactics.

More political shenanigans are afoot, it’s all smoke and mirrors, in an effort to get the populace to agree to the changes.
Sorry, I expect you are wondering what I’m talking about; well it’s the newly released Home Office public consultation on the increase in shotgun and firearms licence fees. Big business does it all the time, it will raise the price of items around October by say 10%. This is just long enough for the public to become acclimatised to the price, then say around the beginning of December they drop the price by 10%, claiming a special offer price for the Christmas period.
The timing on this consultation is not greatly different, released today, 27th November, it is offering prices to rise by varying amounts, but a renewal for a coterminous certificate will be offered at £65, a 30% increase on the current price of £50. This is in contrast to the press release earlier in the week by the shadow home secretary, of an increase to £200 for a certificate. It all boils down to either accept these proposals or you could end up with a fourfold increase.

Home Office consultation here valid from 27/11/2014 to 29/12/2014. I strongly urge everyone to complete the questionnaire.

We have a system of licencing in the UK, which on the whole works quite well, but it still treats owners with a criminal mentality. There are few countries in the world, to the best of my knowledge where you can legally purchase a firearm without a background check of some description. Yes, even the USA has background checks on firearms purchases, which are applicable wherever you buy your gun from, including gun shows! And here these checks are carried out when you get your licence. Now these checks, as with everything else cost money to undertake, so someone has to pay.
So the grant of a licence may be a little more expensive, but once granted, I can see no reason to go through the whole system when renewals are due. My reasoning; revocation of a licence by the police is as close to instantaneous as you are likely to get once any small transgression has been committed, or not in some cases. Owners are guilty until proved innocent and then it is not a guarantee that you will get your guns back. Pretty much if the police come to see you about anything, including driving offences, you lose your licence. So if they haven’t had cause to see you since they granted your licence, nothing will have changed, and therefore the background check will produce nothing.

So until the police get their house in order and work more efficiently, and are open about the management of the money obtained through licencing, I propose that increases may be necessary, but they should be kept to a bare minimum.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Small victory over ACPO.

In an update to the post "Beware the Jack boot", I'm pleased to report that all of you who took the time to contact your M.P's did make a difference. ACPO will be issuing a statement to all gun owners explaining the new way they will be handling the situation, and the crime stoppers hotline, which apparently never existed, will be scrapped. The hard work undertaken on shooters behalf was completed by the Countryside Alliance and B.A.S.C. the two largest organisations supporting and protecting shooters rights, the few that we have, against such unwarranted attacks.
This does however raise a question, where were the N.R.A. and N.S.R.A while all this was going on? There were no reports, no emails asking members to get involved, nothing on the web site, if you just relied upon them for your information you would be surely lacking and ill-informed. Membership of both these organisations is not cheap, so unless you were thinking of, or actually take part in shooting competitions, you would be better served by joining one of the former organisations, as both have excellent insurance policies which include activities from rambling to shooting included in the subscription price, and also both are very active in protecting shooting in all its forms from spurious attacks like that of ACPO. Perhaps if these organisations had been as well supported in the past, as they are now, maybe pistol shooters would not have been thrown under the bus in an effort by other shooting organisations to pacify those anti-gun organisations, and government, pre 1997.

Monday, 20 October 2014

This old chestnut.

It's appropriate that at this time of year, this petition re-appears, for this is the season of the chestnut, and this old chestnut, the re-introduction of .22 pistols for competition shooting, is once again doing the rounds. If you are interested, the petition can be found HERE. In all the time that this petition has run, and with all the petitions that have gone before, there is not a snowball in Hell's chance of it ever getting to the required 100,000 signatures in order for it to be considered for the backbench business's committee. The reason being that there are just not enough shooters in the UK that can be bothered; they can muster the energy and resources to get themselves to the clay ground, Scotland for a bit of stalking, or out for a night of pest control, but as none of these activities involve a pistol, then it doesn't concern them. Their myopic approach to shooting, is to be fair, more like tunnel vision, "I don't shoot (fill in the space), why should that affect me?" well it does, anything and everything in the shooting sports effects everything else, from the '97 pistol ban to the hung act, right up to the latest anti-gun guidelines put forward by ACPO.
Over the years anti groups and politicians have used everything at their disposal to curtail firearms ownership, and the weapons that get the best results are, dividing the shooters themselves by discipline, and then compounding this with class hang ups; and shooters swallow it every time. Despite a large turnout in the years leading up to the pistol ban for the march in London, and the many petitions, with a few exceptions the only people marching and signing, were pistol owners, all the other shooters, by absentia, were prepared to throw this group under the bus in order to save their own discipline. And just to prove that shooters are consistent in their approach to life, now they have an opportunity to redress the balance, they leave it around 18,000, out of approximately 1,500,000 gun owners, to do the work.
It is my opinion, and feel free to disagree, that the pistol shooters who shoot for the UK in international competitions, including the Olympics have a responsibility to do more in this matter. The elite few travel to foreign parts in order to practice, this now brings in that class divide, for only "rich" can afford to undertake this sport. Now don't get me wrong, if there were facilities here in the UK, were practice could be undertaken by everybody, but those who chose to use facilities abroad, for whatever reason, take advantage of those facilities, much the same as tennis players for example, then fair enough! But there are not, and we only get the shooters that can afford it, not the best we can offer.
So for this, and many other reasons, the target of 100,000 signatures will never be obtained, and around this time next year there will be another petition asking the same question, requesting the same thing, with the same result. This is not to say we should stop trying to overturn this ridiculous legislation, but without more people getting involved and doing their bit, pistol shooting will remain an elitist sport, undertaken by the wealthiest, not the best, for a country that rejoices in the winning, albeit quietly, but doesn't trust the most trust worthy member of its society, just the richest.

Monday, 13 October 2014

Beware the Jack boot.

In a statement not to dissimilar to that issued in the 1930's by another police state, the Association of Chief Police Officers, are at it again. This time they are asking family, friends, neighbours, or for that matter anyone who feels like it, to report to their local police, anyone who is storing any firearm irresponsibly. The guidelines, for it is not law, as issued by ACPO and the Home Office is as follows: "Where it is judged necessary, based on specific intelligence in light of a particular threat, or risk of harm, the police may undertake an unannounced home visit to check the security of a certificate holder's firearms and shotguns. It is not expected that the police will undertake an unannounced home visit at an unsocial hour unless there is a justified and specific requirement to do so on the grounds of crime prevention or public safety concerns and the police judge that this action is both justified and proportionate.
It is recognised that there is no new power of entry for police or police staff when conducting home visits. To mitigate any misunderstanding on the part of the certificate holder the police must provide a clear and reasoned explanation to the certificate holder at the time of the visit."
As our friends at the countryside Alliance point out, and there is no-one that I am aware of, that disagrees with keeping your guns safely and securely stored when not in use, and that you make sure your security is adequate. But as with "Guidelines" of this nature it is open to malicious abuse; from a neighbour who maybe an animal rights activist, someone who doesn't agree with you parking your car where you do, the list is endless. And you, as a law abiding member of society will hear the thump, thump on the door demanding to see your security, because the police are acting upon information received. They will not be at all concerned that the information was given anonymously, and if a name is given, it's doubtful if they will go to the trouble of verifying the source. The information need not be that specific either for example; "I saw a woman, in a house, with a gun, in Acacia Avenue." That's it, as they have your details on their computer, they know all the holders in Acacia Avenue, likely as not she's the only one. All the information required has been received to make an unannounced visit to the holder. Of course this statement may be true, the individual could have seen what they said they saw, but the holder could have been getting ready to go hunting or the clay range, they may have already been, and were cleaning their gun before locking it away. I live in a small house, with widows in every room, and providing I'm not breaking the law of the land I may do pretty much as I wish within those confines, this includes cleaning and servicing my guns or dry firing them, to practice with one of the many laser systems available. All within the privacy of my own home.
The police have a difficult enough job to do as it is, so why do ACPO feel the need to pursue those in society that are the most law abiding, most responsible, and the arguably the best allies they have when it comes to fighting crime. My guess is career police chiefs with political ambitions, from within large towns and cities, who see all firearms ownership as something that must be stopped at all cost.
A Crimestoppers line has been opened to enable members of the public to report concerns about certificate holders and firearms security. The Countryside Alliance is strongly opposed to this, and has contested it vigorously. If you believe that any action taken by the police may be as a result of false or malicious information they may have received from a member of the public, then you should tell the Countryside Alliance or B.A.S.C.immediately, because you are a member of either, aren't you?

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Double standards.

It is interesting to read the report from the Department of Transport on the current state of car deaths and related accidents. Here, as in the most of the rest of the world, driving a car is a licensed activity, but once you have your licence, provided you can afford the insurance and the vehicle, you can drive anything you like in the domestic car range. The DoT states that 60% of people lose their life on Britain's rural roads approximately 862 deaths with another 7537 people being seriously injured.

The separation of rural and non-rural car deaths is, in my opinion, used to infer that rural drivers are in some way less safe than non-rural drivers. It does however omit the percentage of rural drivers to non-rural drivers who were killed in these accidents. With no figures that I could find, but speaking from experience, my money would be on a very high percentage of the car driving deaths being non-rural drivers, driving on rural roads as though they were on the stage of a rally. Additionally, a high proportion of the rural deaths I'll wager are rural people going about their lives when some maniac comes hurtling round a bend on the wrong side of the road, ploughing through either horses, sheep, cattle, or more increasingly deer, as well as pedestrians; there are rarely footpaths or pavements in the rural environment.

The extrapolated amount of car deaths per year, wherever they occur, is in excess of 1400, with over 12,000 serious injuries. Every single one of these numbers is a life and having any number in either of the categories, other than 0 is something we should all strive to address. So how about some common sense laws that would help reduce these terrible figures.

Firstly, lets require that anyone wanting to drive a car must have a good reason for needing to do so, after all, in most non-rural environments the train and bus infrastructure is so intense that you will see more buses in 5 minutes there than in a week in a rural situation. Then, should they be granted a licence, they should have to prove that they have used the vehicle in the previous 12 month period and have purchased sufficient petrol to enable the use of the vehicle over such distances. A vehicle can only be purchased with a licence, and any and all vehicles must be detailed on the said licence. If you wish to get a new or different vehicle you must apply for permission to change your vehicle, and you cannot get your new vehicle until the old one has been disposed of in the manner prescribed. Failure to purchase a vehicle within prescribed time periods, show use of vehicle, or purchase petrol, will all result in the revocation of the licence. Once revoked re-application will be required, but having previously had a licence revoked, for whatever reason, will count against you in this endeavour. Your licence will also be removed from you if you show signs of an anti-social activity whilst in possession of you vehicle or at any point during your normal daily life. Parking and speeding offences will not immediately see your licence revoked, but you must declare any offences incurred since the last time your licence was granted, when you re-apply at the prescribed 5 year interval. Now I am sure that these few small steps would go a long way to making our roads and streets a safer place.

All of the above and good amount of others, too numerous to mention, are applied to firearms owners. Falling foul, even in the slightest, will have the police at your front door in no time, eagerly waiting to remove your firearms. Firearms and cars are very dangerous items if used in an inappropriate way, and yet the misuse of a car or an accident involving a car very often does not, as a rule, generate enough interest to get a bye-line in the local paper. For some reason society seems to accept that killing 1400 people per year, every year is an acceptable price to pay for people to be able to drive their vehicle, however recklessly or irresponsibly they undertake that task.

Friday, 3 October 2014

You’re never too old!

Here is proof, if proof were needed, that age, and all the things that accompany living a long and fruitful life bring, need not be an obstacle when it comes to the shooting sports. Our good friends over at Fittleworth rifle club have scored yet another fantastic achievement.
      Small-bore rifle shooting often gets over looked by the big boys, clay shooting, game shooting, and stalking; and whilst if you shoot with a shotgun, it will not help your shooting one little bit, but, if you hunt with a rifle, it will highlight all the bad habits that you have acquired over the years.
      A relatively new dimension to small-bore target shooting is lightweight sporting rifle, all you need is a rifle and ammo, no other special gear. Any sights are allowed, and you will shoot, un-supported, standing up, over 20yds to the target. I have seen many a good shooter fall down at this discipline through poor trigger control, bad sight picture or head position. But, when they have come to terms with this discipline, they have all noticed less un-attributable misses.
      So, if you think you can do better, why not contact your local rifle club, after all a nonagenarian can do it, how hard can it be?

He's done it again!

Two years later, and just shy of his 90th birthday, the Mounteney Jephson Memorial Rifle Club's oldest member has done it again. During the summer, in the Sussex county lightweight sporting rifle competition, John Gilbertson again emerged triumphant in his division of this growing, highly disciplined and competitive sport. All the members of the club offer their heartfelt congratulations to him on this phenomenal achievement. Click here for previous story. However, this time he was not alone, other members of the club also won their divisions, and those that did not win were, on the whole, placed in the top three in their respective divisions.
         With the start of the winter season now just around the corner, the club has not only got John and the rest of the summer shooters competing, but also new members who have joined the club, but too late to be trained to a sufficient level in order to compete. With the shooters ages spanning 77 years from the youngest to the oldest, and divisions within the competition to accommodate all levels of ability, we are looking forward to more awards at the end of the season.
          As for the prone rifle shooting, we are still able to participate at a club level, and this year we have two junior members shooting in the National Small-bore Rifle association, national counties league, for Sussex. We know they will do their best and do the club and county proud.

With over 112 years of history as a club, and never having been the largest by any means, during those years, we have consistently trained members who have gone on to represent the club, the county and the nation; not bad for small, rural club.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

A voice in the wilderness.

    Whilst the politicians and elite social classes around the world do their very best to prevent honest, law abiding members of society from owning and possessing firearms of any description. The criminal, non-law abiding, and terrorists continue to have a seemingly inexhaustible supply of not only small arms, but arms of much greater calibre. With all the current unrest that there is, combined with enormous fiscal pressures on states to control spending within their economic systems, cuts are being made in aspects of state spending. Therefore it is ironic that the many states around the world that are oppressing the ownership of tools, such as firearms, that could provide personal security, which by extension, would protect others as well; are reducing theirs systems of protection in order to save money.

    Over the years, those in power have tried, and in many, many countries have been successful in convincing the populace that, they do not need to protect themselves, they do not need the tools to protect themselves, and they do not need a right to protect themselves. If you will surrender these premise, then we, as a state, will supply you with protection in the form of a police force/service. There are some problems with this premise though, the police cannot be everywhere at once, and whilst they may only be a phone call away, that distance translated into travelling time can be a lifetime, especially if you are being attacked, or the victim of a home invasion. Also, those that have convinced the masses that personal security is a bad thing, do not think that their security should be surrendered, and with a few exceptions, these people now hire or have the state provide them with armed security; as if somehow their life and wellbeing is more important than everyone else's.

    With the rising unrest in certain areas of our world, and the ability to reach out from their bases in far off countries to inflict terrorism and destruction on their perceived enemies with armed cells, the police are not ever likely to be in the right place at the right time. An unfortunate, but convincing example of this inability of the police to protect everybody was the beheading in the middle of London. There were numerous people about at the time, many recording the whole grisly incident, but where were the police? With credit to them they got there as fast as they could, but it was not quickly enough to save the life of the victim. There were, as I have already stated numerous people on the scene, the vast majority armed with their mobile phones to record the incident. Now just imagine if one of those people had been able to offer help to the victim with their own personal defence tool.

    Well recently there has been one person in the world who has a different take on things, Interpol chief, Ronald Noble. He has asserted that, "Societies have to think about how they're going to approach the problem." "One is to say we want an armed citizenry; you can see the reason for that. Another is to say the enclaves are so secure that in order to get into the soft target you're going to have to pass through extraordinary security." He then went on to say, "How do you protect soft targets? That's really the challenge. You can't have armed police forces everywhere."

"It's Interpol's view that one way you protect soft targets is you make it more difficult for terrorist to move internationally. So what we're trying to do is to establish a way for countries … to screen passports, which are a terrorist's best friend, try to limit terrorists moving from country to country. And also, that we're able to share more info about suspected terrorists." He continued, "Ask yourself: If that was Denver, Col., if that was Texas, would those guys have been able to spend hours, days, [Westgate mall] shooting people randomly?"

"What I'm saying is it makes police around the world question their views on gun control. It makes citizens question their views on gun control. You have to ask yourself, 'Is an armed citizenry more necessary now than it was in the past with an evolving threat of terrorism?' This is something that has to be discussed." "For me it's a profound question, people are quick to say 'gun control, people shouldn't be armed,' etc., etc. I think they have to ask themselves: 'Where would you have wanted to be? In a city where there was gun control and no citizens armed if you're in a Westgate mall, or in a place like Denver or Texas?'

    Mr. noble's thoughts and words are not likely to change anything over night, but just for once it is pleasing to hear that someone in a position of power is prepared to trust members of society to be responsible for their own and others protection. As Benjamin Franklin opined "Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."

Friday, 29 August 2014

Thoughts on a tragedy.

The recent tragic incident of a nine year old girl shooting her instructor with the firearm she was being taught with has brought out the anti-gun media with a vengeance, along with its usual misinformed and uneducated pundits.

There has been much made of the fact that the weapon in question was an "Uzi machine gun", along with the statement that, "this is a high powered weapon". So in an effort to get a bit of balance here let's have a look at the details.

The Uzi is a "sub machine gun", which by definition is a machine gun that fires cartridges of a calibre and size found commonly in hand guns. The calibre of the Uzi is 9mm, the same calibre as the side arm issued to many police officers, army, navy or air force personnel, and widely used by security forces throughout the world, and where allowed, for personal and home defence. This cartridge has an effective range in the Uzi to between 100 -200 metres.

A machine gun, as alluded to by every report that I heard, is a weapon that fires a rifle cartridge. These cartridges are many and varied and range in calibre from .223 (5.56) up to, but not limited to, .308 (7.62~) being the more commonly available calibres. The effective range of these cartridges is out beyond 600 metres, depending upon the platform used.

There are and have been many instances where the recoil involved from the rifle, pistol or shotgun has proven too much for the shooter involved to maintain their control of the weapon concerned. This is not the fault of the instrument, but the instructor, who has failed to educate the student in the correct handling of weapon In question. In this case the consequences proved to be fatal for the instructor.

In addition to handling the weapon correctly, the stature of the student should also be addressed. Being of slight build myself, I can attest to the fact that due to a lack of mass to place behind the weapon, utilising what is available is crucial in an effort to prevent the weapon from taking over the shooter whilst firing. Before letting anyone shoot anything, all of these things should be taken into account and addressed before the trigger is ever squeezed.

Much has also been made of the fact the poor child in question was nine years old, and is it right or proper for children to handle, fire, or be involved with firearms of any description. This should be your personal choice and that of the child involved, and based upon the criteria outlined above. In addition, the demeanour of the child is paramount. They should be able to follow instructions, but equally they should be confident enough to question or ask for clarification on a subject if they do not understand what is required of them. In my experience, age does not guarantee this, having instructed adults who think they know better; and as an instructor it is my duty to advise them to the contrary.

Shooting is a safe sport, hobby, pastime or recreation, undertaken by millions of people around the world every day. Thankfully accidents are rare, very rare, which is why the media and those who would prevent the ownership of any firearms by the civilian populace are trying so hard to make a really big issue of this truly terrible accident. Shooters around the world must not let these groups use this incident to push for further restrictions on young shooters, or those who may wish to take up the sport. Whilst this incident is tragic, it was an accident, and accidents happen to all of us every day, though thankfully most of us get to go home at the end of the day, but not all. It is through the vigilance and true professionalism of shooters as a whole that these accidents are so rare that when a tragedy does occur, it is, headline news.

Friday, 22 August 2014

What is un-armed?

In recent weeks there have been two high profile shootings of individuals by law enforcement in the US. I'm not here to argue whether the shootings were justified, that is for a court of law, based upon the evidence made available at the trial. The issue of being armed however is an issue, in the first instance, the shot suspect was said to "not be in possession of a weapon of any sort". In the second instance, the victim was "only armed with a knife".

So let's look at each of these cases in turn; firstly no weapon of any sort, well this individual had the same weapon we all have available to us, his fists. A clenched fist is a formidable weapon, even in untrained hands. A blow from a clenched fist to the head will cause at least dis-orientation from the first blow landing, should subsequent blows be aimed and land in the same area, anything from severe bruising to broken bones, right up to a blow being fatal. But you do not have to rain punches down on someone to kill them, just one punch will do it, as in the case of the football/soccer referee in Michigan. A link to the story is here from USAToday. The unfortunate punch, thrown in a brief fit of rage, had devastating consequences. Then consider what could happen if someone, intent on causing harm, did it to you, how would you fair? This person will invariably be bigger than you in some way, or at least consider themselves to be better physically than you. If the blow is thrown with intent, it will be thrown from a position of surprise and advantage to your assailant. You may never recover.

In the second instance, "only armed with a knife", well that's a pretty dangerous item, especially in the hands of someone intent on causing you harm. If you are confronted by someone with a knife, and they intend to use it fully to achieve their aim, and you are un-armed you will be fortunate to survive the encounter.

In both of these scenarios, your assailant must get close to you, if you are un-armed then your only course of action is to create as greater distance between you and the aggressor. Not always the easiest thing to do. But how much distance should you have between you and your attacker? When people are asked, they seriously under estimate how much distance can be travelled by an attacker, balanced against their ability to react. If you are fortunate enough to live in a country that will allow you to carry your own protection, then you may have a chance to survive one of these encounters. This protection is a personal firearm, but this is not a cure all solution, you still need distance between you and your attacker.

This distance has to be greater than the time it takes you to draw your firearm, point your firearm, and fire your firearm. That distance must be at least 21 feet (7 yards or 6.4 metres) for that is the least amount of ground that can be covered by an attacker and still give you a chance to draw your firearm. Of course if you have more space the balance of power changes, but the chances are your assailant will be aware of this and will take every opportunity to close down this gap. Not convinced, then follow the link to PDTV to watch a short video, but bear in mind whilst they are only enacting the scenario, the victim new he would be attacked, but not where, so he had a small advantage, and still came off second best.

In conclusion, the rights and or wrongs of the two shootings by the police will be decided in a court of law. But if you were in their position, given the information currently available, what would you do?

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Loud, and right?

Why is it that the "Nay" sayers are always the ones that shout the loudest, do the least, and have no idea how to resolve the problem? Perhaps it is the fact that those who "Do" are busy doing just that, getting on with the job in hand.

In the vast amount of cases, when some individual or group wishes to obtain information, where do they look? It is human nature to first try the obvious, the obvious being the group or organisation that you hear about most. On a local level, this equates to going to one of the major supermarket's, who bombard us day and night with TV, Radio, newspaper, and any other form of advertising they can get hold of. This has and is to the detriment of the local high street, where small firms deal in a single product and are exceedingly knowledgeable about the products they keep.

A good example of this is an independent off licence, they keep a vast array of products, some well-known, others not so well known. They have an enormous amount of skill and are knowledgeable about not only what is on their shelves but also the myriad of other products available. Then counter this with a super market, limited amount of available stock, only stocking what will bring in a large return (profit) per unit, and from experience, staff that only know what they have been told to say, which often just saves you reading the label.

All of this applies to all the shops in a high street, and yet people have been convinced that the supermarkets are the go to people, why? Because they shout the loudest, we are cheaper, more convenient, everything under one roof, and many other claims. Prices may well be less, and times are hard for all at present, but through experience I've found prices at the local shops are equal and on numerous occasions, better than the supermarkets. As for convenience, well, using a pedometer to do my shop locally I covered less distance than I did when shopping at the supermarket, as I only went where I needed to go, not where they directed me, additionally, the shops have been in the same place for many years, butcher, green grocer, bakers etc., unlike in the supermarket where they move around on a monthly basis, but how much longer we will have our shops is in doubt.

Now if we look at things on a national level with slightly less tangible assets, who does the most work in looking after the rural idyll, the hedgerows, the flora and fauna, and the countryside in general. The countryside that provides for the nations larder, although nowhere near as much as it used to.The many countryside and welfare groups that exist all say that they do, but on closer inspection you have the same scenario as before, those that shout the loudest get the attention. And in these cases, their attitudes are somewhat blinkered, only looking at the areas of the countryside that they wish to address.

The countryside is a work place, it has few walls, rarely has a roof, but it needs constant maintenance. This maintenance takes on many forms from ploughing the soil, to vermin control, and a myriad of other tasks, all designed to make the countryside a safe, productive and pleasant environment to undertake business and keep as a nice place live and to look at; much like your garden at home, but on a much bigger scale.

For example there is an ornithological group, very keen on protecting our native birds and their habitat, a wholly commendable thing for them and the birds. But in their efforts to protect the bird life they fail to address the broader picture, to allow some form of maintenance for their endeavour, they need to manage the vermin, rats, foxes, corvids etc. that literally eat into their basic premise of protecting the birds.
In their efforts to protect the birds, they campaign strongly against those that do manage the countryside and the methods that they use to do so. And yet in the area where this group has full control of the habitat and environment, its success is limited.

Properly maintained and controlled habitats, where all vermin is managed in a humane and environmentally balanced way, has a much greater success rate. Good examples of this are places such as the moors of Yorkshire, where the ground is managed for grouse, the controlled burning of selected areas of moorland, to encourage new shoots on the heather, a process which occurs naturally, only less controlled and less often, provide cover for the grouse and many other birds, insects, and wildlife. In turn this rich and fertile area is now a pantry for those creatures that prey upon the increased number insects and birds. If left unattended too the predators would simply eat what is there and move on; much in the same way if went away for a week and left your dog a week's supply of food, they would eat it all on day one then go hungry the rest of the week, not being able to move on.

So who should we ask when it comes to the management of our countryside, one of the many blinkered single interest groups or those that are doing the work day in and day out? Going back to the dog on holiday, you either put your dog in kennels or get a friend to take care of your dog whilst you are away. They will provide your dog with its daily meals, and by working together there is enough food today and tomorrow to keep your dog healthy. Working together for the good of all, rather than just one group or individual is the best way to keep our countryside healthy and well maintained for this and future generations.

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Power is control.

Well there are two things that have me jumping up and down at present, but whilst the subject matter is different, the reason is the same, the people with the power are the ones who decide, or control, what we say or are told.

In the first instance the good old BBC interviewed Olympic champion shooter, Peter Wilson, for their flagship countryside and rural affairs program, Countryfile, and according to him, his views were misrepresented in the final edit which was transmitted. To read his comments take this link to ShootingUK.

In the second instance, the power lay in the hands of those in charge of Facebook. A 19 year old from the U.S.A, Kendall Jones, went with her parents on safari to Africa, and whilst there she shot and killed a number of legally hunted, licensed game animals. Being a member of the technology generation, she wanted to share pictures of her trophies with friends and family. Now, we all know there are a small number of vociferous anti-hunting and shooting individuals around the world. This small but very active group lobbied, (yes that's right lobbied, see my previous article on this subject) Facebook to have the pictures, that they deemed offensive removed by the owners and operators of Facebook, which they duly did, bowing to this pressure.

This same group of self-righteous, anti-hunting individuals set up a Facebook page calling for anything from rape, up to the murder of Kendall Jones, and the members of her family. The response of Kendall and her family has been to contact Facebook and try to get this insidious web page removed. The last information we have pertaining to this story is that the Facebook Management are looking in to it. It would appear that Facebook do not have a problem with individuals or groups inciting possible murder, but do appear to show the same tolerance of a young woman taking part in a legal and licensed hunt.

The upshot is that those who are in control of the press, control what we read, or their own version of what they wish for you and me to read. These same individuals or groups will also set themselves up to be arbiters of what is right or wrong despite what the law s of the land may be.

Monday, 28 July 2014

Guns on T.V.

Whilst there are a few days left of the Commonwealth Games, the shooting sports so far have fared poorly in the coverage assigned to them over the period to date, this combined with little or no notice that an event would be televised, has left many looking on the inter-net to watch the stages and finals. This is in marked contrast to many of the other sports being covered which have been shown, then repeated on a number of occasions. You may almost think that the media in control of this event does not want the Nation to see people shooting in an organised, controlled, and positive way.
But just in case there are some people out there who may have watched the skeet, air rifle target, 50metre pistol, prone rifle and 3 position rifle shooting to name but a few, and thought "well that is well organised event with responsible people using years of practice and training to achieve sporting success for their respective country. Perhaps I have been misinformed about shooting and those who participate in the sport." Well just in case there are some people out there who have thought like that, channel4 has an antidote, already receiving more air time in the form of trailers (personal opinion, I was looking for the sports coverage without luck. I was not looking for the trailers but have seen them on a number of occasions.) They are pushing their latest expose on guns and firearms ownership. I have contacted channel 4 for a transcript of the programme along with sources they have used to obtain their information, at this time I have not received a reply from them.
From the information they have placed upon their web site, it would appear to be yet another out pouring of misinformation and anti-(fill in the group) propaganda. A brief synopsis of the programme can be found HERE. I would not be surprised to find contributions to the program from the likes of Michael Moore, Michael Bloomberg, the Brady campaign, and many other anti gun individuals and groups.
We will have to wait until 10p.m on the 31/07/2014, on channel4 to view the programme, but do not expect to see shooting, guns and gun owners portrayed as "normal". I have no doubt from the information currently to hand that this will be yet another snow job, using smoke and mirrors, to make all legitimate shooters appear to be dangerous, and irresponsible. Of course I could be wrong!!

Friday, 11 July 2014

Vote in BBC Countryfile poll on shooting.

Vote in BBC Countryfile poll on shooting
Following BBC Countryfile's report last Sunday into The Value of Shooting - the most extensive research ever carried out into the economic, environmental and social contribution of shooting to the UK - the programme's website is carrying a poll which asks:
Click on the heading link above to visit the poll. Take careful note of how the question is worded and vote Yes to endorse the shooting industry's positive impact on wildlife.
If you missed Countryfile last Sunday you can catch up on BBC iPlayer here until next Sunday:
You can find more details on the Value of Shooting report on the BASC

Monday, 7 July 2014

More media ignorance

It's bad enough that the media is ignorant on shooting and the shooting sports as a whole, and it would appear that every time they, the media, open their collective mouths they put their foot in it. This does not however prevent them taking the moral high ground, and being judge, jury, and executioner.

In yet another case of lazy journalism, a term used in its loosest sense, the American mass media has again jumped on a band wagon in an effort to not only demonise shooting but also a 19 year old student. What heinous crime had this student committed, well she, along with her parents, spent their money on a trip to Africa to go on safari. When the student returned home, or maybe beforehand, I do not know for sure, she posted pictures on her Facebook page. Facebok after receiving complaints from anti-hunting and animal rights groups, removed most of the pictures from this student Facebook page, without her permission.

Rather than the media being concerned at the abuse of freedom of speech, a right they wield every time they are accused of a legal infraction, they used the opportunity to push their anti-hunting stance. In area where the media, on the whole, refuses to be educated, they reported that endangered animals and wildlife were shot. This was and is wholly inaccurate. A link, for as long as it works, to an item on this issue in more detail can be found HERE.

From the perspective of those involved in conservation and management of nature and wildlife, there are certain truths that have to be addressed. The countries where these legal hunts occur receive large amounts of financial income from wealthy hunters around the world.
These countries are all too often too poor to provide financial resources to help protect, monitor, and track these animals, or to provide medical assistance were possible. The income from these legitimate hunters is also used to help finance the authorities who try to protect the wildlife from poachers, [animal rights groups often identify these people as illegal hunters, one assumes so that word hunter becomes synonymous with the word illegal] an immensely costly undertaking, which has to be maintained all year round.

The hunter also aids and assists with the necessary cull of animals in order to keep the breeding stock healthy, and to remove the sick and elderly animals in an effort to prevent undue suffering. These actions could be undertaken by the state, but in the countries where health care for human population is almost non-existent, the state could ill afford to underwrite such an expense. In the cases where there is meat fit for consumption by the local peoples, this hunting supplies an additional source of protein in the form of the meat from the animals, little if anything is ever thrown away.

In wealthier countries where hunting is undertaken, the hunter also provides a vast amount of financial assistance in the protection and conservation of the respective countries wildlife, for it is an inconvenient truth that hunters and conservationism go hand in hand. The hunter does not want to obliterate either their chosen game or its habitat, it's beholden upon them to ensure that there is game and habitat for tomorrow, and in the years to come. Whilst these countries may have the finances available, they more often than not, do not have the will to undertake such house-keeping activities; preferring to support the mass urban populace, who have little if any understanding of the management requirements to keep this green and pleasant land a viable place for food production, and for nature to exist.

The animal-rights and anti-hunting groups are conspicuous by their absence when it comes to assisting in these areas, preferring to attack the obvious target in an effort to get as much coverage and exposure for their group as possible. In recent months there have been high profile instances where animal rights/anti-hunting groups have fallen at the Public Relations fence. In the UK, the R.S.P.C.A has lost income and support from the public all because of its attitude to promoting prosecutions of either groups or individuals, rather than on protecting animals.

In the U.S, Dallas Safari Club held an auction to hunt a rhino, this was a legal hunt, with all necessary paperwork and authorities well aware of the situation, and once again the animal to be culled was identified. If the hunt was not successful no other animal would be culled, then undoubtedly, another auction would be held, raising more money for the wildlife protection body. The D.S.C auction raised in the region of $600.000 on this one item. The animal welfare group's response to this was to contact lawyers in an effort to prevent either the hunt or the importation of the subsequent trophy. The cost of this legal action, well there are no figures available at present, but from similar types of actions undertaken by these groups it will be in the area of $500,000 - $750,000.

So all the time there are people like Kendall Jones and her family, prepared to pay large sums of money to undertake what the state cannot, there will be wildlife for hunters with either a rifle or a camera to shoot all across the African continent. Closer to home, small game shooting from Lands' end to john O'Groats, will continue to subsidise the state, in every effort to keep the countryside we know and love a pleasant place to be.

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Where is the support?

I have a small business, and during the year I'm contacted by countless charities and organisations, all wishing me to support their organisation. What all of these groups have in common is that they are nothing what-so-ever to do with the trade I'm in; therefore, I make a decision to support, where possible, those that I have an affinity with.

Now given that shooting and shooters in general are given such a bad press by nearly all the main stream media, you would like to think that those in the industry would be only too pleased to be associated with a positive, youth shooter, using firearms in a responsible manner, in order to obtain a nationally and inter-nationally recognised award, story, to help promote their products and shooting. Well in a nutshell, no they wouldn't. In light of the responses from the major manufacturers, which were all very polite and courteous, it would appear that their interest is only engaged when the person in question becomes an inter-national or Olympic level shooter.

The young and youths of today are the shooters of tomorrow, and they need to be supported as much as we can to make sure that our sport survives. Many of the clubs that are in my locality are slowly dying, mainly at the rate of the membership, and they have no youngsters waiting in the wings to make up for the losses.

The shooting industry needs to try to support as much as possible shooting at the grass roots level, rather than just the small elite group at the top of the tree. Our club has worked very hard in securing the support of the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme to accept that target shooting was not only a skill, but a sport also.

Our club helps and supports numerous youngsters take their first steps into the world of shooting. We purchase many, many thousands of rounds a year from these manufacturers, and every now and then, a little support put back into the system would be appreciated.

For anyone interested, the shooter in question is only just 17, has been shooting for just under two years, has attained bronze and silver awards, and used small-bore 25 yard target shooting as their sport for the silver award. Their attention is now on attaining their gold award, and for this they have elected to shoot 50 metres and 100 yards, again using a small-bore format. For those that have undertaken this discipline before know what a demanding area of the sport this can be, with numerous new skills to learn in a very short period of time. I have every confidence that this shooter will achieve their goal, and we will make sure that we let everyone know. It's just a shame that the shooting industry here in the UK doesn't support such commitment and enthusiasm in our younger shooters.

Monday, 2 June 2014

Saying "Knife" Not Family Friendly, M&Ms Rejects Order from 2A Group

You will hear that we live in a global society and that this is a good thing for everyone, but what if you have an opinion, belief or way of life that doesn't conform to the global ideal? You will be at the whim of the group or individual at the top of the heap. A good example of this is the recent Knife Rights group and the manufacturers of M&M's; In order, Knife Rights is a legal, civil liberties promotional organisation, doing what it can to address the legal possession and use of knives. M&M's are part of a multi-national, world-wide organisation, Mars, whose business is the manufacture of food stuffs to sell to us, the public. A list of some of the products that are made by Mars is available here.

M&M's made an offer that you could have special packets of M&M's made up with your name, group or organisation printed on the packet. So when Knife Rights heard about the offer they contacted M&M's to place an order in an effort to help promote their organisation. The following is a breakdown of the ensuing discussions between Knife Rights and M&M's eventual refusal of the deal, courtesy of our good friends at the "The Outdoor Wire".

Saying that the word "knife" in the Knife Rights logo "is not family friendly," M&M's rejected a Knife Rights order for promotional packages of M&M's candies with the Knife Rights logo on them. Then they lied in an effort to avoid taking responsibility for their absurd action. 

The candy was ordered for an upcoming promotion through M&Ms' customized Business to Business department. The customer service representative, Christian, was very helpful and the order was placed. Then four business days later we received a call from Christian to let us know that they would not fill the order since "the word knife is not family friendly." That certainly came as news to us. Christian apologized for the delay getting back to us, we had called twice seeking confirmation the order would arrive in time, saying he had argued hard for us, but that his bosses wouldn't budge.

We asked for a confirmation in writing of what he had told us, but when that was not forthcoming, we sent an email to him confirming the conversation we had and asking the company to correct anything that wasn't factually correct. Shortly thereafter, Christian's supervisor, Kathy, called. We had a similar conversation with her, to no avail, and again asked that they confirm that they were rejecting the order for the reasons both Christian and she provided, that "knife" was not "family friendly." Instead we received a totally disingenuous email:

"Thank you for your email and allowing us to respond to your concern. 

We would like to confirm that we have received and processed your request to cancel your order. We are sorry to hear that you are cancelling your order and hope to have an opportunity to make your next event more special with personalized MY M&M'S® Chocolate Candies".

To which we replied: 

Thanks for this, but your email falsely states that this order is being cancelled at my request. Please note that I do NOT wish for the order to be cancelled -- it was your company decision to cancel the order because you object to the name and mission of our civil rights organization. I have had several phone calls with representatives of your company trying to save this order. Your cancellation notice falsely stating that the order was cancelled at my request only adds insult to injury, and is outrageous.

With that email they went from simply making what we view as a poor business decision by irrationally discriminating against Knife Rights, America's knife owners and our many Second Amendment supporters, and moved on to falsely describing the entire transaction in a outrageous attempt to avoid responsibility for their actions. Knife Rights did not cancel the order; M&M's did.

We just thought you ought to know. For ourselves, we intend to wean ourselves from their products. Mars, Inc. is the parent company and one of the world's leading food manufacturers, that while perhaps best known for its chocolate and candy brands (M&M's, Milkey Way, Altoids and Life Savers to name but a few) is also in food, pet care and drink products with many brands you know, including Wrigley, Uncle Bens, Seeds of Change, Pedigree and Whiskas. You can find lists of their products at:

Come Halloween this year our family will carve our pumpkins using several different knives, but instead of giving the children who come to our front door M&M's, Snickers and Milky Ways, as we have for many years, they will be given a treat that will not bear the Mars, Inc. brand.

If you'd like to let them know how you feel about the word "knife" not being "family friendly," you can contact M&M's at: 1-908-852-1000 (only M-F 9:00-5:00) or via email using the form at:

Friday, 23 May 2014

Latest F.B.I statistics.

In the early part of January of this year the Federal Bureau of Investigation (F.B.I) released the latest data regarding the use of firearms in murders in the U.S.A. Now these figures are compiled from official data, received from all the states, the information is released every year regardless of the incumbent president's personal agenda.

The latest figures, for 2012, show that more citizens in the U.S were killed by being punched or hit with a blunt instrument of some description, like a hammer for example, than were killed by shotguns or rifles. The total number of deaths committed with fists, hammers and other blunt objects 1196. That breaks down further to 518 murders by people using hammers and other blunt objects, and 678 were killed by people who used their fists.

You may wonder why this information is important, well the figures relate to the U.S, not here, but at least their government publishes the figures for all to see in an open and readily available manner. Now the U.K government also publishes figures, which are available if you know where to look, but they are not so specific. Firearms crimes are not broken down in the same way so as to be able to draw any concrete conclusions. They include all firearms, whether legal or not, I am more than cognisant of the fact that if you do happen to be unfortunate to a victim of a shooting, the legitimacy of the firearm is pretty immaterial at that point, but that's the trouble. The use of legitimately held firearms being used in a criminal activity is negligible to say the least.

To put it another way, not so many years ago it was proposed that seat belts be fitted to trains, so that in the case of a train accident, the occupants would be held securely and lives saved, just the same as when you drive your car. The mathematicians got their calculators out and opined that the chances of being involved in a train crash were so small, that the risk was inconsequential. The cost of fitting the belts and enforcing their use would cost far too much to the rail operators and for no discernable gain.

The statistical chances of being harmed in way by a legitimate firearms user are as rare as a train wreck, let alone being shot by them. However, the chances of you being harmed by a criminal, should you be unfortunate to encounter one, are at best 50/50. All criminals have weapons which they will use to achieve their aim, they may punch or kick the target of their attention, these weapons when used cause minor abrasions all the way to death for the victim. Some criminals will have a knife, and on the whole this is not the tool that hunters, shooters or fishermen and fisherwomen use, it is the utensil that we can all find every day in our homes. A small minority of criminals, certainly here in the U.K, will carry a gun, and again not the sort that hunters, clay shooters or target shooters use, but usually an illegally imported, un-regulated firearm.

Politicians here in the U.K like to keep these statistics in this vague, all-encompassing manner, as it enables them to introduce ever more stringent and onerous laws and regulations on law abiding members of society. Cases of "illegal" knife possession appear on a regular basis, but when you look further into the case, it's often some poor fisherman, who has grabbed their coat, or been driving their car, having left their pocket knife in the glove box or boot, and then not having a legitimate reason for being in possession of said knife at the time of arrest. It is not limited to the perceived appearance of a knife either, Swiss army knives, Leatherman's and multi tool owners have all fallen foul of the "proper reason for possession". Placing all of these, up until this point, law abiding members of society in the same statistical figures as muggers, burglars, rapists and criminals of all description, allows them to produce figures saying how well they (the politicians and police) are doing in stopping crime, which in the real world could not be further from the truth.

So do not forget that at the end of day, whether it's a hammer, knife, gun or any other inanimate object, the object commits no crime. The crimes are committed by the person, using the objects in a criminal manner, and the most common weapon used is the one, that at present, the political classes have not found a way of controlling.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Up-Coming Elections.

Not long to go now before the next round of elections are upon us. Here at the N.S.A. we're not afraid to put our vote where it will do the most good. We advise that you take care when you vote and do not rely on the mainstream media, either in the printed press, the radio or television, as on the whole our sport is generally misrepresented by all these mediums.
To find out if the candidates in your area are supportive of your sport, why not contact them at Write to them it is a very simple process and takes just a few minutes and you should get a reply within a few days. After all, these candidates are after your vote, and are elected to represent your view; a little thing that so many in recent years seem to have forgotten as they ride the gravy train for all it's worth. The observant amongst you will have noticed that I said "view" and not "views". This is because life is so very complex these days, and right from my very earliest days of being able to vote I had problems trying to find any candidate from any party that thought the same as I did. Not surprising really, and things have got a whole lot more complicated since then. So, I decided to make a list of all the things that were important to me, then went and sought out the information on the candidate's views, on my top ten reasons to vote for someone.
As times have changed, so have some of the things that I consider important, but my core values are the same; one thing that has come in, and slowly over the years worked its way to the top of my list, is a candidate's views on shooting and rural affairs. These two issues form the basis for a candidate to get my vote and to a certain degree they go hand in hand, for most shooting is undertaken in the outdoors, and the outdoors (the countryside) is what we need to protect to continue to shoot.
Over the years successive governments, from all parties, have imposed more and more onerous restrictions on the civilian ownership of firearm's and invariably in the name of safety. This is despite the fact that any sort of injury or fatality is almost unheard of by those within any of the shooting sports, legally possessing such firearms. That is not to say they never happen, they do, but they are so rare that when it does happen the main stream media is all too keen to exploit the situation in an effort to get even more restrictions on ownership. With the removal of handguns for any and all purposes, though here in the U.K they were sporting only, no right to self-defence here, you would be forgiven in thinking that death by hand guns would be zero, and yet the last figures that were available to me showed that there were 39 deaths, and over 150 non-fatal injuries, solely down to hand guns. When you look at the figures for legally held firearms, this figure drops considerably to 15 deaths, with less than 50 non-fatal injuries. But even this figure is misleading, as the government includes in these figures, but without breaking them down, suicides, members of H.M. forces killed or injured whilst not on active duty, and shootings by the police.
With this skewing of figures, shooting and the shooting sports need to have informed politicians at every stage and level of the political process to argue our case to enable us to continue to undertake our chosen sport. The European elections are no different, there are those across Europe that are pushing for stronger regulations, and one or two that advocate that only the army and police forces have firearms. From a shooting perspective there are groups all across Europe that are busy working hard to help protect our sport; but this will count for nothing if the elected officials in the European parliament, or the house of commons will not listen, or enter into a dialogue on the issue.
So in these European elections get out and "Vote Your Sport", then once you have, remember what you did, for the next 2 years are full of elections, local elections, parish elections and finally the general elections, they all need your vote to stay in power. And remember, whoever you vote for, they are there to work for US, and not the other way round.