One thing that always strikes me as unusual with the gun control debate is an apparent unwillingness to acknowledge the good that can come from shooting. I’m not just talking about the fact that guns are used a majority of times defensively in places like America – rather I’m referring to the good that can come out of the community involved in shooting and clubs that pursue the sporting side of the firearm spectrum.

It’s no secret that I got into shooting again thanks to my own disability and I find it immensly therapeutic for body and mind. My condition is a particularly painful one and I can’t compete with people usually in any sporting sense with physicality – shooting however doesn’t discriminate, the firearms are a tool that are an equaliser in more ways than one, and if you can aim and squeeze a trigger……. You can shoot. It’s a means to a certain exclusivity that many sports couldn’t dream of emulating, yet shooting is always seen as a negative rather than a positive in mainstream media or with some notable MPs

My own club here in Northern Ireland was very welcoming from day one and an extremely forward thinking club in regards to the all encompassing term, equality. Their ethos is one of if you want to come and shoot, do it. And it matters little about religion, Colour, sexuality or even gender identity.

For a club sometimes joked about as being “mountain men” (yes we hear the jokes lads) amongst others, they have it spot on, while the others remain cliques.

I found it hard to get back into any form of shooting here in the beginning with a rather off putting introduction into the world of clubs and range use. So finding one with the attitude that they have was very refreshing.

We need to be more like this in the UK shooting world, more inclusive and open to new shooters, get our numbers growing, get more people applying for licenses. We used to be a nation proud of its shooters, what changed?

Why can’t we make it mainstream, after all shooting has evolved and is more exciting these days. Couldn’t we promote the hell out of it and get people interested in firearms again?

Can we try to make the Pew life accessable and maybe even……….. Cool?

-Mike

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