Positive UK Article (with stupid comments from the public)


August 13, 2006, 09:13 AM

Shooting down stereotypes
A holiday at Bisley
Last week the Magazine published an article on people who holiday at Bisley, home to the National Shooting Centre. It prompted a flood of responses on how the media represents shooters. It is often sensationalist, says Ronald J Scaglione, in our Readers' Column.

I am a Scottish shooter and was in my fourth year of High School when the Dunblane massacre took place. I joined my school's own shooting team earlier that year and have been shooting ever since.

I can remember the day clearly when we heard of the awful, sickening news. I was in my Standard Grade Art class when the school caretaker walked in to inform our art teacher. The mood of the class was decidedly different that day.

Despite the news I don't think I ever considered giving up shooting. My decision to continue wasn't based on politics, bloody mindedness or as a gesture against public feelings, but based on standing up for myself.

I was never an automatic choice for a more aerobically-challenging sport at school but I found I could shoot and with practice; could shoot well. Shooting offered me a chance to be good at a sport for once. I first shot for Scotland, albeit at a junior level, later that year.

Ronald J Scaglione
Banning firearms will not stop people from killing others
Ronald J Scaglione

To this day I continue to shoot and have had the honour of representing Scotland at a senior level. I enjoy the accuracy, the challenge, the people I meet and the places I go.

Target rifle shooters have been relatively unaffected by the pistol ban but there is still a strong public sentiment which is against private ownership of guns (of any kind) and treats shooters as people you should be suspicious of. Undoubtedly, a lot of this stems from media sensationalism.

The media - particularly the tabloid press - are not very good at treating all walks of life fairly. Celebrities, politicians, the Royal Family, religious faiths, the police and shooters (to name a few) have all received bad press. Too many people adopt opinions from words written by an individual who may have a less than impartial stance.


And yet, people from all over the world enjoy shooting different disciplines. Some use handguns, some use shotguns and others use rifles. The vast majority of these guns can kill, and were designed to do so. There is no escaping it. But we are not using these guns to hone "killing" skills, we are using them for a different purpose altogether. We use them as a recreational device and most of us use them safely.

The human beings behind Dunblane and Hungerford, and the many other shootings, have all possessed firearms legally and illegally but they have also possessed a will, a desire and a conviction to kill.

Banning firearms will not stop people from killing others because the people who commit such atrocities posses one of the strongest convictions a human being can have. You can't take the tools away from a killer and expect to live happily ever after. Therefore, I honestly believe these people would simply find another method to inflict harm or death.

Media 'not impartial' on guns
To ensure privately-owned firearms are used properly and stored securely the police are in charge of issuing licences to individuals. These individuals must first satisfy the local police they are competent and safe members of the community to hold a firearm. The police will then check your security arrangements before issuing an authority (licence) to acquire a firearm.

During the course of the licences' validity you can expect a visit from your local firearms liaison officer to check you are continuing to store you firearms securely and that you don't have anything you shouldn't have.

It goes without saying, you must have a reason to own a gun and those with a criminal record need not apply. You simply can't get a licence because you want to own a gun. Individuals must attend club meetings prior to firing a gun or applying for a licence. Clubs secretaries must also report inactive members to their local police authority.

Firearms remain perfectly inert and non-dangerous objects until a human picks one up. The knife was originally designed to kill and yet millions of normal people can use one everyday without incident. But of course thousands of people are murdered every year by someone with a knife.


The bow and arrow is in many ways similar to the knife and yet we do not propose to ban their use. If we are all true to ourselves, we should be able to recognise a pattern here. The objects are not the problem - it's the people who kill. Banning weapons won't make a blind bit of difference while we have unstable individuals in our community. And frankly, I don't think that will ever change.

There are a multitude of arguments people offer against the private ownership of firearms and a multitude of arguments which the pro-shooting lobby will use in their defence. I wish only to propose this - we have to be able to trust one another to do the right thing in life, not remove all the variables so no one has any other choice, other than to do the right thing.

Our society is loosing valuable qualities in today's political mindset. We need to be open minded and adapt and consequently I urge all of you, who have convictions against my sport to meet shooters and perhaps even participate in the sport. To form an opinion on a matter which will affect the lives of law-abiding people you should experience first hand what it is you are forming an opinion about.

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El Tejon
August 13, 2006, 09:32 AM
Not using weapons to hone "killing skills"???:confused: Then why have them, mate?

Firearms are not golf clubs; firearms are weapons to be used against fellow human beings. That's why we have them.:)

Jim March
August 13, 2006, 03:15 PM
That's exactly the problem.

The British "gun community" gave up self defense as an issue LONG ago.

At that point, if your "hobby" is seen as potentially killing people, you'll lose your "hobby".

In the US there is a balance between the criminal downside and the legal self defense upside of guns. The upside is winning.

Take away that upside, we'd be more screwed than Britain.

Malum Prohibitum
August 13, 2006, 04:32 PM
You gotta read the comments! 2 examples:

I think the comparison between knives and guns is unfair as knives still serve a useful and practical purpose in society. Guns on the other hand serve no useful purpose except for indulging the self esteem of men and, well, killing. Look at the United States, a prime example of gun ownership, and a prime example of a huge gun related death rate, whereas looking at countries with lower gun ownership like Britain/Europe you begin to see an incredible reduction of gun deaths. Is it worth it to indulge this sport if it means risking even one human life?
Marty B, London, UK

Hmmm. Shot down in flames by one of his own sentences: "We use them as a recreational device and most of us use them safely." So he accepts some don't use them safely and he thinks it's an acceptable risk. Well, democracy doesn't work like that, the safety of the majority has to take priority over the indulgencies of a few. Would his opinion remain the same if he suffered directly in one of the tragedies he mentions?
Simon Ward, Newcastle

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