It is universally agreed that young people should be spending less time indoors, in front of their computers and more time outside. Hardly a week goes by without report being released that shows that the young people of today do not participate in outdoor activities or know enough about the countryside. I therefore find it highly surprising that there was such a reaction to initiatives that aims to get young people outdoors and teach them to shoot.
Initiatives such as the Countryside Alliance’s National Shooting Week enable young people to try shooting for the first time. This all happens in a safe and controlled environment whilst under strict supervision. Evidence shows that shooting teaches children discipline, sportsmanship and a keen sense of responsibility. There is simply no justification for such a negative attitude towards this sport and attempts to get young people active outdoors.
To say that “Children are extremely impressionable and at that age they may not treat the weapons with the respect and caution they deserve” simply shows that the author has failed to understand the reason for educating young people in this way, and puts forward disingenuous arguments to support their fragile case. By teaching young people to use guns correctly gives them a very real sense of the duty required to use such a tool. It teaches them that they are not toys, and makes them reassess all that they have been seen through movies and video games.
To compare gun violence with legal sporting shooting is like comparing joy riding to Formula One racing. One is a legitimate sport whilst the other is crime. No one would dare accuse our young talented drivers as being potential criminals, so why do they think it is acceptable to label our young talented shooters as such? It is simply not acceptable for young people who happen to like sporting shooting to be victimised in such a vicious way.
Shooting is in itself an Olympic sport and has been since the formation of the modern Games. It is also a sport at which we as a nation do very well. Indeed, in just a few weeks, the greatest shots in the world will compete in London for Olympic gold model. Those competing for team GB will include Sussex resident Charlotte Kerwood, and previous Olympic Gold medallist Richard Faulds. Both of these learnt to shoot whilst they were young, and would not be where they are now if they didn’t.
There is no need to take my word for it. Richard commented that “It is very important that young people aren’t prevented from getting involved in shooting. I had a shotgun certificate at 9 and competed for Britain at the age of 13. Shooting taught me about responsibility and sportsmanship from a young age, and gave me the bug for competitive shooting that has seen me win 19 World Championship titles and gold at the Sydney Olympics. We must resist any attempts to stop young people getting into sport and especially shooting.”
Figures from the Countryside Alliance show that young people with shotgun certificates pose no risk to the wider public. The Alliance believes these statistics prove conclusively that young people take the responsibility of handling shotguns very seriously and efforts to stop them are misguided and wrong. As a result of this, an effort by anti gun MPs was defeated earlier this year. The consensus was that young people should not be prevented from shooting.
Those that oppose shooting usually make the errant conclusion that sporting shooting is in some way linked to gun violence. This is a mistake and nothing could be further from the truth and it has been shown time after time that the two are completely unrelated. This truth is however forgotten by those with a total lack of understanding. If anyone is unsure about this, I urge them to visit a their local shooting ground for a lesson, or take part in National Shooting Week 2013. I guarantee you that you will be convince of this fact and, at the same time, have fun.
By taking such a negative attitude towards shooting, many young people, potential Olympic gold medallists, could be prevented from enjoying their sport because of a small group of misguided individuals. More importantly, is will have the very opposite effect on young people. By denying them access to such sports, they are condemning young people to sit inside, with a computer console, where they can electronically shoot, assault and cause crime as many times as they like. Which do you think would have the most impact on young people?