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.