The American media often swoons about the reaction to the Dunblane massacre.
After all, in the wake of that shooting–the second in a decade–massive gun control laws were passed, effectively putting an end to private gun ownership as we would recognize it. (It should be noted that they’ve had as many mass shootings since Dunblane and passing those laws as they did before.)
One of the ways to get to shoot in the UK is to be part of a gun club.
Now, the law doesn’t define what kind of activities a gun club can and cannot partake in. So some are popping up offering the kinds of things we Americans take for granted, and it seems some of the families of those killed in Dunblane are taking issue with it.
A growing craze of American combat-style shooting clubs is glamourising firearms – 25 years after the Dunblane handgun ban.
A Sunday Mail investigation has revealed a disturbing spike in “practical shooting” courses in Scotland which allow people to fire against the clock, using obstacles and improvised shooting positions to hit targets. Footage of one club near Glasgow, now being probed by council bosses, shows men ducking and diving around a course, pulling guns out of holsters before discharging quick-fire bullets.
Recoil Scotland said people – who do not hold a licence and who’ve never shot a gun before – can turn up for a three-hour training session and then get their hands on the club’s pump-action shotgun. Last night, gun control campaigners and families of Dunblane victims said the “sport” terrified them and called for a ban.
Jack Crozier, whose sister Emma was one of 16 children killed with their teacher in the 1996 tragedy, said: “These clubs are trivialising the use of dangerous weapons while trying to make shooting more accessible. Watching the videos from some clubs online is terrifying.
“It’s hyped-up wannabe action men running around assault courses with lethal weapons trying to shoot a series of targets as quickly as possible. These types of clubs glamourise shooting and weapons. This is an Americanised sport and it’s everything we want to get away from in the UK.”
Except, the laws haven’t changed.
Sure, these folks are running and gunning like you would during your standard tactical shooting course here in the US, but the laws in the UK haven’t changed a bit.
While Crozier opts to disparage those who undertake such activities, the truth is that if the gun laws in the UK are as effective as we’ve been told time and time again, then there shouldn’t be any kind of a problem with them. These activities are confined to a gun range with safety measures put in place to keep anyone from getting hurt.
Yes, Dunblane happened. It was absolutely awful that it happened. That was more than 25 years ago, though, and the entire world doesn’t shift to appease those left behind. Crozier doesn’t like this because it makes him uncomfortable. The same with others taking issue with this kind of thing.
Yet part of why they’re uncomfortable is that if people start getting used to American-style gun courses, they might start wanting American-style gun laws.
Gill Marshall-Andrews, chair of the Gun Control Network, warned that the UK’s gold standard gun laws were in danger of being eroded with the practical shooting craze.
She said: “In 1996 at the time of Dunblane, pistol shooting was the fastest growing sport in the country and we were going down the American road at that point. The ban on handguns turned the country around and prevented that drift towards that American gun culture. Now it seems that is happening again.”
In other words, the real problem is that they fear the British people will come to value their gun rights and demand laws similar to what we have here in the US.
It has nothing to do with any perceived danger from this club in and of itself. They know the laws haven’t changed just because this club exists.
They’re just afraid that a club like this will encourage British subjects to become pro-gun. If enough do so, everything changes and that terrifies them.
They don’t get that gun control hasn’t saved them, it saved criminals.