Monday, July 30, 2007

Making Gun Sports Fade Away

Alphecca covers this article about a proposal to let up to 50 of Great Britain’s top handgun shooters practice shooting in England. This would allow them to prepare for the Olympics in 2012 and then the ban on handgun shooting would once fall again. Predictably some anti-gunnies are totally against this even though there will be many “safeguards” in place.

Here’s what strikes me about rules that would allow up to 50 shooters to practice, or laws that limit handguns to licensed competitors, or any such similar idea: How do you identify those 50 people? What happens as the older competitors get old and die off? If shooting sports become so hard to enter how will we find young people to replenish the ranks?

Basically we can’t. So many of these “common sense” ideas such as licensing competitors or any gun owner, or keeping firearms in a police operated arsenal, or making people jump through government hoops are designed to keep young people out of the shooting sports. The more hassles, the fewer people entering the sport.

At the same time, it’s getting harder to find ranges open to the public. Commercial ranges are getting more expensive. Membership in some local gun clubs is expensive or they’re hard to join. In some countries you face a Catch-22; you can only get a gun license if you’re already an experienced shooter, but you can’t get experience unless you're an experience shooter.

On one hand, I think more people in the United States are buying guns right now, but on the other hand, not many buyers will take up a gun sport. Too many guns will be bought for defense and languish in a nightstand. There’s nothing wrong with defense, I believe in it heartily, but marksmanship is important. One reason it’s so important is that some people must master their sport, so that he or she can teach their knowledge and skills to younger people.

If those younger people don’t become “serious” shooters they will not be able to pass any knowledge and skills to their children even if they can (or are allowed to) pass a gun to an heir.

I don’t know what the future of shooting will be, but I know we have to pass it down to those who come after us.

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