Thursday, 10 December 2015

Lead or Cats.

I like so many others, like shooting, and like a good many others like cats and dogs. Both of these creatures offer a welcome relief as pets to many, many people, and they both have proven worth for the elderly as well as the sick. I’m not against anyone having either or both of these creatures, but if they are not controlled by their owners both are capable of doing sever damage to either stock or wildlife. In the UK wild dogs are not, as yet a major problem, unlike some parts of the USA, where packs of dogs roam unimpeded. Here, dogs, left uncontrolled by their owners whilst out walking in the countryside can wreak havoc on a heard of sheep or cows, often the dogs end up being shot by the farmer or his staff, much to the dismay of the dog owners.

                Cats on the other hand are not a considered threat to sheep or cattle, but over the years many domestic cats have gone feral, and live in the wild without the need for man. Many domestic cats too are quite able to survive without their can of cat food, which leads me to a point I’d like to draw your attention to.

                Recently an article appeared, based upon some very old surveys, about the effects that lead from shooting may have on the wild bird population here in the UK, and by extension elsewhere in the world. The report admitted that it could not verify its figures, and had extrapolated its results based upon the information available. The report concluded that between 50,000 and 100,000 birds may have died, each year, due to the effects of shooting and the lead shot used. As I said, this was a report taken from old study material, and since the original study was undertaken, all responsible shooters have sought out cartridges using a suitable lead replacement; This combined with legislation regarding the taking of wildfowl, and shooting over wildfowl habitat, and only using lead substitutes, have made considerable in roads to preserving both the birds and their habitat.

                As I say, I’ve no axe to grind here, but a quick look at the RSPB web site regarding the cat populations, wild and domestic, effect upon the wildlife of the UK, there seems to be a disparity in their approach. The RSPB details that somewhere in the region of 275,000,000 items of prey are taken each year by cats, of this 55,000,000 are birds. Added to this figure is the unknown quantity of creatures that are caught and escape, only to die later of the wounds. The RSPB web site goes on to say that, “Despite the large numbers of birds killed, there is no scientific evidence that predation by cats in gardens is having any impact on bird populations UK-wide.”  They go to say, “It is likely that most of the birds killed by cats would have died anyway from other causes before the next breeding season, so cats are unlikely to have a major impact on populations. If their predation was additional to these other causes of mortality, this might have a serious impact on bird populations.

                It would appear that there is, as usual, an agenda lead reason for justifying the acceptable disparity between shooting and cat ownership. Or put another way, and I hate it when people talk in percentage terms, but this time it really brings home what the RSPB find acceptable, or un-acceptable. Using only the figures that are widely available to everyone on this issue, if you take the time to look, the 50,000-100,000 figure, based on surveys and reports conducted over thirty years ago, when lead shot was widely used in wildfowling, represents a figure of less than .2% or two tenths of one percent of the 55,000,000 acceptable birds killed by cats. So will we at any time soon hear the RSPB call for stricter controls on cats, or the use of a cat substitute, I don’t think so!

Monday, 9 November 2015

Ballistic fingerprinting.

I’m sure we all have experience of something in our lives that sounded like a good idea, but in reality, it was either not practical or realistic. A good example of this is ballistic fingerprinting, anti-gunners love it, and have sold it to a number of countries, states or jurisdictions as the ultimate tool for solving crimes that involve a firearms.

What’s involved? Well in this particular example every gun sold undergoes a sample firing, the resulting bullet and cartridge case have their individual markings recorded digitally. This information, and the spent case and bullet are then stored, to be made available if required. I can hear some of you saying it now “Well that’s a good idea!” But wait, and have a think, every gun sold, that would be quite a lot. Additionally, for those in the know or with criminal intent, this can all be made an irrelevance with a few household products. Then add in the fact that, and here we go again, honest, law abiding people, by definition do commit crimes, and law abiding gun owners are in that group, and are less likely to commit a crime of any description than your local police officer.

With all this in mind, the state of Maryland U.S.A. has, after 15 years, and millions of dollars spent, decided to pack up their database and storage facility, and why have they decided to do this? Well, in all of those 15 years the information contained within all those databases, and using all of those spent rounds for cross reference solved exactly zero cases of a criminal act. That’s right, not a single criminal in the state of Maryland used a legally obtained and fingerprinted firearm. You can if you wish view the story as run by the Baltimore Sun HERE

All of this is not to say that taking the information from bullets and cartridge cases is not a good idea, it is, but only when it is used in conjunction with other evidence obtained at a crime scene in order to confirm the use of a firearm in a particular crime or crimes, as has been done since the time of this forensic sciences birth. So when your local government or police pronounce that they a new system for preventing and solving crime, just think back to this, and the other examples that have gone before. It will not do a thing that it says it will in the brochure, but it will cost more and more tax money, year on year, to administer. Money that would be better spent in other areas of the worlds police departments.

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Media arrogance!

Why is this man still allowed to work instead of being prosecuted by the law? In yet another show of arrogance by a member of the media, who for some reason fell they are above the law, not only does this writer break a minimum of two laws, but he then has the arrogance to admit his felonious deeds in the newspaper that he works for. Now don’t misunderstand, if there is a problem with society or its laws, then feel free to address those problems, write about them in whatever medium you have available to you. It is beholden upon you to engage with the relevant individuals, group, or authority to have this problem recognised and removed. This does not however entitle you to break the law in pursuit of proving your perceived problem, real or otherwise.

In a similar scenario, David Gregory, another media worker, this time in the United States, illegally obtained a 30 round magazine. In the District of Columbia, also known as Washington D.C., it is illegal to obtain, or possess any magazine that is capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition. Despite this, Gregory openly flouted the law when presented the magazine, in his hand, on his T.V. show. So was Gregory charged and prosecuted to the extent of the law, $1000 fine and 1 years’ imprisonment? No, his friends in high places decided that to prosecute him would not serve public safety or be in the public interest. Funny then how in 2012, 15 other individuals were prosecuted under the same laws.

The full report  of the first writer’s criminal activity in his words, is available HERE!, you may need to scroll down 2 or 3 articles first. In both of these cases, and there are numerous others out there in a similar vein, the media appears to get free rein to break the law. If any other member of society tried to pull these sort of stunts, and were caught, let alone openly defying or publishing their criminal activity in a major paper, I have no doubt they would be prosecuted and made an example of. But it appears that the authorities, perhaps afraid of negative publicity being hurled at them by the very media that breaks the law, seem unwilling to proceed in these or any other case where a member of the media is concerned relating to these issues.

The law is, as they say, the law, and until such time as it is disseminated evenly and fairly, there will be one law for those with power or influence, and another for the rest of us!

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

HMIC report highlights failing police forces.

There have been over the past years several high profile shootings by owners of legally held firearms, from the Hungerford shooting onwards. Firearms regulations were tightened after this event, there were few who railed against the basic proposition, although the magazine restriction, even now, can lead to lively debate. With a whole host of measures employed to control the ownership of firearms by the civilian populace, Things settled down until Dunblane; where, after this most heinous of crimes, even further restrictions were applied. In 1997 the government of the day banned the possession of all handguns by all but a very few. More recently, the shooting in Cumbria, brought the calls for even more restrictions to be placed on legitimate firearms owners.

The recent release of a report by Her Majesties Inspector of Constabularies, HMIC, states that the country faces an ever increasing risk of mass shootings if their recommendations are not given serious consideration, and preferably implemented. The interesting thing is though, whilst most agree that the current system is at best disjointed, the current guidelines cover all aspects of ownership rather well. Therefore if you take the time to read the report HMIC Report you will be at a loss to see why the current guidelines are a cause for concern. The report uses the examples given earlier to illustrate that the current system is broken and needs drastic action to resolve the problem. The only trouble is that throughout the report the failings are not that of the guidelines, the shooting industry or the vast majority of shooters.

Time after time in the report attention is drawn to a number of constabularies, who for whatever reason, have failed to implement the current guidelines. The reports response to resolve these inadequacies and failure to follow the rules, apply more rules, and give the police powers unseen in this country for many years. In yet another attempt to push forward an agenda mentioned in previous post, HMIC propose the police have a statutory right of entry into firearms owners’ property. At present an appointment needs to made at a mutually convenient time, or, if there is evidence of a crime or domestic unrest, a warrant is required, which gives the police a right of entry. The NPCC proposed this, along with the “shop a gun owner” phone line. It cannot be a coincidence that both Stephen Otter and Andy Marsh have put forward near identical proposals to resolve what they perceive as problems with the current system.

Speaking as an owner of firearms and other lethal items, and answerable to a vehemently anti-gun police authority, who appear to employ firearms enquiry officers who only know and understand firearms from the authorities dictate, it is not surprising that the failures highlighted in HMIC report occur. Thankfully they are few and far between, and the over 1.5 million owners in the country use their firearms in a responsible manner. We as firearms owners have to prove a use or need to possess our firearms, yes even the shotguns, this was debated, politely, on the last time my application was granted, a typical case of an ill-informed FEO. So, why don’t we have FEO’s that are conversant with the guidelines, who understand firearms in a context outside of the criminal perspective usually proffered by the police?

Before the police are given, which hopefully they never will be, powers to enter properties without a warrant they should get their own house in order, ensure that the guidelines are followed by all their constabularies and officers. When, and only when they have succeeded in doing this, will we be able to tell if the current system is a defective as HMIC seem to think it is. Personally, I think they protest too much, and are trying to deflect as much criticism as possible onto those who are less able to defend themselves.

Saturday, 4 July 2015

The name of a rose.

If a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. Then A.C.P.O. by any other name would still be as divisive. Under the instructions of the Home Secretary, Theresa May M.P, A.C.P.O was disbanded, and rebranded as the “National Police Chiefs Council” or N.P.C.C. new name, but the same old faces, doing the same old thing. A good example of this is Andy Marsh, and his pet project to get the public to complain about gun owners. In a previous incarnation, the Crime-stoppers hotline was removed after much public outcry from shooters, B.A.S.C., and Countryside Alliance members, as well as many others.

In its new guise as the N.P.C.C. Mr. Marsh has again put forward a, shop-a-gun owner-hotline, which he has re-named as the “Gun Safety Security Hotline”. So not only does ACPO have a new name, so it would appear do their failed projects. For those of you who follow the never ending struggle of civilian firearms ownership, against those who would for personal reasons, or for political gain, like to remove all firearms from private hands, the new wording is not new. As with all the recent moves by these groups or individuals, they try to sell their agenda under the “safety” banner, this is despite all evidence to the contrary which clearly shows that shooting and shooters are exceedingly safety conscious, and fully aware of their responsibilities when they own any form of firearms.

This link will take you to the minutes of the NPCCmeeting do please read all of it, there are some very interesting items within it that have nothing to do with the hotline. For example the Scottish police were already under full steam, prior to the general election, with their proposals on air gun licensing in Scotland. Other items that will soon be published are an updated security handbook, issued by the Home Office. So do not be surprised to see at some point that a 5 gun cabinet will not be allowed to have 6 six or more guns in it. It is ten pages long, but is an insight into the aspirations of a group of unelected officials to pursue a personal agenda.

So once again I implore you to join an organisation that will help fight for shooting in all its forms. Our friends in the US have a saying, “if you are not pulling the cart, you’re getting a free ride”, and with around 750,000 license holders, shotgun, firearms or both, in the UK, and the largest organisation membership being BASC with around 24,000 members, there would appear to be an awful lot of shooters sitting back and enjoying their sport without actively trying to protect it. Bearing in mind that for every license holder there are about another 6 people who shoot, without possessing a license, on a regular basis, that makes around 4,500,000 people shooting.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Air rifles to be licensed!

Oh how I hate it when someone says “I told you so.” It is now less than 100 days, in fact it’s less than 50 days, since the general election, and north of the border the SNP made pretty much a clean sweep of the available seats. It is therefore with a heavy heart that I would like to draw your attention to the Wednesday 18th, January 2012 item titled “Age limit, NO!” in this piece I opine that should the SNP get into a position of power in Scotland there are a number of things that they will pursue. I’m no prophet, but I like to think I’m fairly perceptive when it comes to anti-shooting and anti-hunting organisations propaganda and their ultimate aims.

Released today, and with coverage given by the BBC(click here), the Scottish parliament will have bill put to it to license all types of air guns. As previously stated here the bill is being wrapped in a public safety blanket. A Scottish government spokesman said: "At the very heart of the Air Weapons and Licensing (Scotland) Bill is this government's aim to support and encourage legitimate businesses whilst protecting public health and safety and empowering our communities. Additional wrapping is provided by aligning the use of air weapons with the illegal sex trade, and illegal scrap metal dealers, whilst it purports to help protect legitimate businesses in these fields.

With not 50 days yet passed, it remains to be seen how things will progress in the remainder of the term of this parliament for the Scottish shooting sports and countryside. I would love to be proved wrong in the other opinions passed back in 2012 but with vehement political extremism, as practised by the SNP, I fear that this may be just the tip of the iceberg. I finished back in 2012 by saying “it’s not if, but when.” Well I’m afraid to say now is when.

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Unforeseen consequences.

Many years ago my Father needed a large calibre rifle to undertake work in the management of a wooded estate which had a profusion of deer. Having already in his possession a number of shotguns and a couple of .22’s his only requirement was the burden of proof of somewhere to shoot. The permission to shoot over the estate was obtained in writing, sent off with the official paperwork and fee; ten days or so later the amended certificate was delivered with permission to purchase one larger calibre rifle.

Moving on a few years now, it was my turn to get a large calibre rifle. Again I had a number of shotguns with a smattering of .22’s (.17HMR not having been invented). I filled out the required paperwork, showed proof of land permissions, and sent it all off with the required fee. In the intervening years, police policy had changed, and the issuing police authority now demanded that before a rifle would be forthcoming, a deer stalking certificate, level 1, must be obtained. Despite many years of hunting with my Father, using what is termed an “estate rifle”, the police insisted that the DSC1 was obtained or no rifle. I contacted one of the shooting organisations, and after many months of letter writing, my amended certificate arrived.

Currently I am assisting an individual who has been shooting for many, many years, and is now trying to obtain a large calibre rifle. This individual has been to a renowned college and studied for three years at the highest level, game keeping, wildlife management, and conservation. They have achieved full qualifications and recognised diplomas and certificates, including their DSC1. In the years that have passed since my encounter with the issuing authority, things have moved on. Now it is not sufficient to have a DSC1, they are demanding that courses in rifle safety are attended, evidence of previous hunting trips be provided, and should you be granted your rifle, you will need to be accompanied by a “mentor” until such time as they decide you are safe to proceed on your own. The removal of the “mentor” is not at the mentor’s discretion, but that of the issuing authority. I have heard tales of shooters trying to get this condition removed from their certificate three years and more after having had their certificate granted.

The unforeseen circumstances are that whilst the shooting organisations are doing a fantastic job in trying to protect shooters rights, and educate new and existing shooters. Many of the police issuing authorities have seen this education of the shooting population as a means to inhibit or prevent existing shooters or new shooters from obtaining the tools to progress in their chosen area of the shooting sports. There are many guidelines, they are not laws or rules, which is the problem, and these guidelines are interpreted by every authority to suit the leanings of the chief constable.

The guidelines, however you read them, do not require any of the present day’s issuing authorities conditions to be applied for you to obtain your certificate and rifle. Experience is deemed to be transferable between quarries of all kinds. Existing shooters know this, but that’s not to say that obtaining further education is to be ignored, and additional information that can be learned should be grasped with both hands. A new shooter with no previous shooting experience wishing to obtain a large calibre rifle is so rare as to be almost unheard of; but the guidelines do address this scenario and even then they recommend that the shooter should obtain education and training from a suitable qualified individual or organisation. In reality, if someone is looking to obtain a large rifle they will have been shooting for a number of years already, and are now looking to a new challenge.

Too many people have been accepting of these conditions applied to their certificate in the past, either through ignorance; after all they are the police, they should know what they’re talking about. But from my experience it is more from fear, fear of challenging the police, and the possible consequences of doing so. Their rationale being better to have a certificate with restrictions, than no certificate at all. Joining organisations such as the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) or the Countryside Alliance (CA) is a must, even if you only have an air rifle. Both of these, and other organisations, have fantastic firearms legal departments who are more than willing to assist you in all matters to do with firearms ownership. So before you accept a condition on your certificate, have a word with the people that know, it’s in your interest to do so.

Friday, 24 April 2015

Just A Good Shooting Story

A story lifted from our good friends at The Shooting Wire.

Editor's Note: Several months ago, we told you a story that was set at the Fittleworth Rifle Club (actually the Mounteney Jephson Rifle Club in Fittleworth) in the United Kingdom. Fittleworth's John Gilbertson, shortly before his 90th birthday had put one of his regular drubbings on all the small-bore shooters. Not just at Fittleworth, but across the entire country. We struck up distant friendships through that story, and today, we're sharing another story from Fittleworth. Because of the concern over firearms ownership, we aren't using last names, but we thank Sean for allowing us to share the story of how shooting has restored hope for his dad. It's the kind of story many of us know, but few of us share. That's unfortunate, because it proves shooters are regular people- no matter how others try to demonize or marginalize us.

Yesterday I went clay shooting with my father. There's nothing unique in that I hear you say. But I'd disagree.

Just over twelve years ago, my father suffered a massive and near fatal heart attack, and whilst recovering from this trauma further complications ensued, double pneumonia, M.R.S.A, and finally a series of major strokes.

The strokes took the heaviest toll.

My father, for all of his life, an outdoorsman, had been hunting shooting or fishing right from a boy. The last stoke robbed him of his sight, leaving him initially totally blind.

He was in a really bad way, so much so, that he demanded that all his guns and rifles were got rid of, and that he would never shoot again. He was in a very dark place, and over the months that followed my mother nursed him back to health.

During this time the wonder that is the human body, slowly started to repair itself. Two years down the line he had regained a small amount of vision in his right eye, but his left eye was, at best, a blurred mass of light.

One day, about five years ago he asked about his gun collection, we told him that it was right where he had left it, and was just waiting for him to say the word and we could go shooting together again.

This was the first sign of interest, and in the ensuing years we gently dropped hints that maybe he could give his shooting another go.

About two months ago a family friend, put one of their friends in touch with Dad. This person was interested in shooting, had brought all he gear, gun included, but was not having any success.

He had been to over a dozen places and everyone had told him different things, and now he was totally confused.

Dad was hesitant to take it any further, being as how he was now registered as blind.

Mum and I pushed the matter, after all he been recommended by their friend, and he had been until his illness a good shot at clays and game, had taught clay shooting, both trap and skeet, at a local private school and had shot for a living.

In the end he caved in to the pressure, and said that he would try to help this person, provided that he was able to shoot and hit what he was aiming at; that's the deal!

So last Sunday, twelve years after his illness, aged 80 years old, my Dad picked up his shotgun and went clay shooting.

I walked with him to the first stand, right up until he got into the cage I could tell he was a little nervous. He placed two cartridges in the shotgun, raised the stock to meet the barrels, pulled the gun close into his body, assumed his distinctive shooting posture, and called pull. A small black disc came spinning straight toward him, about 20 yards out and 25 feet in the air. A loud report was heard and the disc broke into a dozen or more pieces. At the sound of the shot, another disc appeared from behind a hedge rising into the bright clear blue sky. This was on Dad's completely blind left side, he knew roughly were it was coming from, and after some searching managed to acquire sight of the target, which by now had climbed to around 60 feet and was about 10 yards in front, another report bellowed from his gun, and again the target broke into many pieces. The grin that appeared on his face was priceless, he was two for two. He broke the gun and continued to shoot the required targets for the stand.

Two hours later, with the course completed, we went back to the club house to see how well he had done.

His score for the round 19 ex 40, and as he said "not bad for an old blind guy." When we arrived Dad was a little apprehensive, not sure if he was still able to shoot. When we left I could see a side of him that I'd not seen for a long time, and already asking when we could go again.

It took a long time to get Dad back, but with patience and support, shooting truly is a sport for all regardless of age or infirmity.

Saturday, 28 February 2015

Legalise hand guns.

For those who do not subscribe to the paper in question, this link will take you to a report in the paper, regarding an interview with the leader of the United Kingdom independence party (UKIP). The reason I have posted it is not for the reason you may think; politics and religion fall into the same category, each person has their own idea on both, and who is to say theirs is right and another’s’ wrong. No the reason I draw your attention to the story, the gist of which the UKIP leader has espoused in the past, is the poll run by the paper.
Currently there is a petition, the latest in a line of them, trying to get .22 target pistols allowed back into Home Office approved clubs. When I last looked at the petition it had just over 20,000 signatures (link here ) and has been running for a number of months.
Now compare that with the article in the Daily Telegraph, dated 24/2/15 (link here ) just four days ago. The poll therein has managed to raise over 129,000 votes in favour, with just under 49,000 against, in four days.
You will see from the figures that no all agree, and the paper spoke to Peter Squires of Brighton University who stated that these proposals were “irresponsible”. Squires is a vehement anti-gun advocate who has a position within ACPO as an adviser, as well as the Home Office. He is also a colleague of Ms. Rebecca Peters of IANSA, an NGO at the UN, and an organisation funded by George Soros, none of whom believe that civilian firearms ownership has a place in the modern world.
But it is worth noting that he has been attributed within the article as saying "It will generate a demand, it will generate illegal traffic around that demand – the problem with hand guns is that they are small and concealable and they are already the weapon of choice of gangs members and criminals.”
If you work backwards through his alleged statement, and I have no doubt that the report is accurate; criminals already have hand guns, and they are the weapon of choice. Therefore there is already an illegal demand and trade in these items, so how will it generate a more illegal trade than the one that currently exists?
Making hand guns legal would indeed generate a demand, namely from honest law abiding members of society, who have undertaken to be investigated by the authorities in order to obtain their guns, people who have not committed, or are ever likely to commit any criminal act.

The current legislation, introduced after the Dunblane mass shooting, was a political over reaction, with a refusal to thoroughly investigate the circumstances. The police forces involved in all the recent high profile shootings, have, in all instances been found wanting; choosing to blame the some 250,000 plus gun owners for their failures.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Agenda driven laws.

Now here's one for you, stay with me on this; it may not appear from the start connected but really it is. FOX HUNTING! Here the hunting of any animal with more than two hounds, rabbits and rats excluded, was banned in 2005. The government of the day spent hundreds of hours, at tax payer's expense, debating the issue, and when they had secured an unassailable majority passed legislation detailing what could and could not be done when hunting with hounds. The animal rights groups and anti-hunting groups claimed victory, it had taken over 80 years to get this legislation on the statute books, but finally they had succeeded.

Now considering that the anti's had over 80 years to prepare this piece of legislation, you would think that they would be happy with the result. Not a bit of it, ten years down the line and they are now complaining that the use of drag hunts and trail hunts extoll and encourage illegal hunting, especially of foxes, and these, and other hunting techniques should now also be banned.

So what's that got to do with shooting? The answer is methodology, the methodology above was used by the anti-gun groups in the US back in 1994 with the Clinton administration's "Assault weapons ban", they hadn't had the 80 years that the anti-hunting groups had, but the end result was the same. The law was passed making a number of aesthetic items, previously legal on a rifle, illegal overnight. For example, you could no longer have a bayonet lug on your rifle, an adjustable stock, forward hand grip etc. all cosmetic features, which made no difference to the effectiveness of the rifle concerned. Again the anti's congratulated themselves in obtaining a victory.

In both of the above instances the victories were short lived; in the UK hunts, previously worried about any legislation, looked at the law and decided that, within the confines of the law, they could keep all their hounds and still hunt. The new form of hunting was to be either a drag hunt or trail hunt, they would still be able to follow the hounds on horseback, keep all the centuries' old traditions alive, and meet up with their old friends to enjoy their customs and traditional way of life, but at the end of the day no fox.

In the US, gun owners, being law abiding too, also complied with the new laws, as did the manufacturers. They continued to make and sell exactly the same rifles and shotguns as before, but without the cosmetic features outlawed. The law that was supposed to reduce crime and make everyone safer, had no definable effect on public safety. Once the anti's came to realise that their law had no effect, their call was to try to get more items added to the list, along with calibres and magazine capacities.

In both cases, the laws passed were poorly thought out, and badly executed in their implementation. They also highlight the fact that the anti's, of whatever group or association, goal is the complete removal of any and all activities that they disapprove of, and by what-ever means. In the case of the 1994 ban, the law was allowed to "sunset" after a new administration refused to sign the bill into law permanently. Here in the UK, the hunting law is equally un-workable, but to date there is not a political party brave enough to face up to the intimidation of the animal rights organisations, and repeal the law.

Lead in shooting.

When it comes to the debate on lead being used for shot or bullets, the debate is not if it's banned, more when it will be banned. The advocates for the banning of this material being used are vociferous in their assertion that lead in this form is harmful to all, and nothing but an outright ban will do to protect the flora and fauna of the countryside, and protect people from the effects of lead poisoning.

And on the face of it this seems to be a sensible stance to take, after all there is a long documented history of lead poisoning by man, on man. The Romans were most probably the first to use lead in large quantities; its abundance of natural deposits all over their empire, its relatively simply production method, and its ability to be cast at low temperature or worked with simple tools without the need for heat, and its imperviousness to water, all made lead a perfect metal for the time.

It was unfortunate for the Romans that the lead they used was still very soft and susceptible to oxidisation, as it is in its natural state when the ore bearing rock is exposed the atmosphere, the ore at the surface produces a white powder. In the Roman water pipes, relying mostly on gravity to make the water flow, there was insufficient pressure to force the water to all parts of the pipe. This resulted in pipes being filled to different levels when in use. When the levels were low the pipe would oxidise, then when the level rose, the oxide would be washed away in suspension within the water. This water, with the lead, would be consumed people, where the microscopic particles would eventually enter the blood stream. The Romans did not know this, but they did notice that water would taste sweet, and so they used the lead oxide to sweeten food. Through the century's, lead oxide was used in many, many products, until it was eventually found to be detrimental to health and in large enough quantities, poisonous.

As time passed man found ways to harness the positive attributes of lead by adding other materials to it to make it more stable. One of the first metals used to harden lead was arsenic, whilst this had the desired effect, the addition of arsenic made the lead more poisonous than ever, and any game shot would need to have the contaminated meat around the wound excised, thus making the rest of the animal edible. Later another metal, antimony, was used to harden the lead, in ratios from 0.5% to 25%. When used for shooting the lead antimony mix is between 2-8%, at this ratio the lead becomes much harder and therefore more stable, in addition, this small amount of antimony greatly reduces the rate of oxidisation to the point that lead shot these days rarely oxidises.

At this point I hear the question, "Then why is it banned in most countries around the world for shooting duck and other waterfowl, and over wetlands"? This is a simple answer really, due to the way that most waterfowl obtain and digest their food, lead can enter their bodies and blood stream. Most waterfowl feed by taking food in and then grinding the food up in the gizzard. This grinding process in the digestion of the waterfowls food is what allows shot to be ground into very small particles and thus enter into the blood stream or other areas of the bird's body. Other birds also have gizzards, what about them? Most waterfowl have bills, not beaks, this creates an inability to be able to be specific when finding food. A bird with a bill will puddle and filter food, but in the process take in small stones along with the invertebrates etc. that it feeds on. These small stones assist in the breakdown of food, but also breakdown any shot that may have been taken in. birds with beaks on the other hand peck their food and are able, to a degree, to discern between food and stones, thereby avoiding hard objects like shot entering their body.

The lead shot used in modern cartridges more stable than that used in the past, and when shot from a gun and dispersed into the environment presents no more risk of pollution than that of naturally occurring lead, and due to the antimony will sink below the surface long before it could oxidise.; once there the oxygen weak environment of the soil means that oxidisation process will be held back indefinitely.

So why all the furore over lead now, it's been used for centuries, its better managed now than ever, and science has ensured that when it is used, especially in shooting, it is safe. The answer to this is not straight forward, but in a nutshell, those that wish to stop hunting, shooting, and civilian gun ownership around the world, came up with a lead ban. The reason for banning lead is that without it, ammunition to a degree would not exist, as replacement and alternatives are either non-existent or very expensive. In order to assist their argument these groups have and are using their usual weapons, misinformation, fear, and emotion.

The misinformation source is the based around the use of lead in the chemical and petro-chemical industries, as in lead in petrol/gas. The science was undertaken and evaluated and the lead particulates in the atmosphere were proven to harmful to all. They are now taking this evidence, as evidence of lead in shooting, being of equal harm to the environment and humans. This is patently not true, and there is no evidence to support this assertion.

The fear mongering, in the face of evidence to the contrary, has centred on game taken by shooting. Lead shot or fragments (metallic lead), if taken and ingested in the normal course of eating a meal, will pass through the digestive tract without any side effects. This is quite different to the effects of someone ingesting soluble forms of compounded lead found in industrial products, such as leaded paint, gasoline and pesticides, the lead is readily absorbed in the body and increases blood-lead levels significantly.

Finally emotion, animal rights groups are especially adept at the manipulation of emotion in order to achieve their goals, and they have lent their vast skill and knowledge to the cause of banning lead in ammunition. A good example of this is plight of the California condor. In the tracts of land where this bird presides, legislation was passed that no lead ammunition could be used by anyone for any purpose. Since the bill to prohibit the use of lead in these areas, to protect the condor, and with a compliance rate from the hunting community of over 98.89%; the 2009, 2010, and 2011 condor blood-lead data, collected by the Condor Recovery Program in California, shows that the incidence of lead exposure and poisoning in condors remains static and has actually increased slightly.

Governments around the world, along with unelected bodies such as the United Nations, are promoting this and other erroneous causes in an effort to remove firearms from civilian ownership. Whilst in many cases the direct approach has failed, the removal of either a component or material used in the manfacture of firearms and related ephemera can, will, and does have a huge effect. So when lead is banned outright, do not be surprised to see that copper bullets are dangerous to the environment as they degrade naturally in the soil.