As shooters here in the UK we are often under attack from many sides and at regular intervals. The UK public are as a whole generally very misinformed on firearms, shooting sports and our shooting community thanks to an endless campaign by the media and politicians of vilification and propaganda.
For decades now the public have been misled in regards to gun crime and don’t see that legal ownership has nothing to do with criminals using them or how easy they still are to obtain on the black market. The bans in the UK did nothing to stop gun crime in fact it only made it worse, has never dropped lower than before the handgun ban and in 2018 we are seeing cities like London in the grip of a startling rise in gun crime once again.
THE ENEMY WITHIN
So as shooters here it would seem logical that the community sticks together and looks out for each other right? That we promote the sport when we can and bring in new participants at any opportunity, that we converse with each other about legislation, the licensing process or indeed the legal bodies governing them…….yes?
It was brought to my attention however that there are those in our community that openly threaten shooters with reprisal and (for want of a better terminology) to “grass up” people with valid criticism of FEOs, police, the licensing system or even legislation. The picture at the top of this article was taken from a Facebook group called “Clay shooting UK” only a couple of days ago, and it sums up in one screenshot exactly the problem we face, the cancer that is infesting shooting sports here and why we need to fight back.
I was shocked when I was alerted to this post and quietly watched as some shooters made their disdain known to the “admin” in question in the comments. It didn’t take long for remarks against the policy to start disappearing and then finally comments were switched off altogether, this convinced me I had to call the group out publicly and so I made a warning on my own Facebook page to alert any UK shooters in the hopes they could make an informed decision and perhaps boycott the group. After all a group that openly threatens members that speak out is not good for shooting.
24hrs after making the post the group had lost around 2000 members and I had many messages thanking me for my vigilance and for trying to protect shooters. However it also showed me those in the community that would rather support them such as this screenshot taken from another group that shared my post.
As you can see my warning was actually taken as a green light by some wanting to support this behaviour, that we as shooters can’t be trusted or be allowed to discuss freely legislation or our experiences navigating the minefield that is FACs etc. “It pays to keep an eye on em….”
Or this screenshot from a post wherein an ex service member asked the question (after the London Bridge attack), “Perhaps we should discuss the right to carry after these terrorist attacks, if you were trained to a high level and strictly vetted it could be a viable way of actually saving lives. I know many would want to at least talk about it” The response……
It is of my opinion that this behaviour needs to stop, that groups that advocate it need to be boycotted or indeed shooters making threats like this need to be cut out of the community. If they want to be that way fine but I will be blocking anyone I see behaving in this manner. Freedom to speak your mind, to discuss legislation or the entire process should never be used as a stick to beat people into silence. To threaten their license or to try to control the narrative. That group is out of line, those comments are just as bad and as a shooting community we need to make a united effort to cut this out.
If you see a group like this leave it, don’t give them power, use your feet to take a stand.
Don’t attack others for valid criticism, don’t grass shooters for an opinion. Grow your sport, promote your passion let non shooters have a go.
Otherwise you won’t have a sport to promote.
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