Thursday, 3 June 2010

Shooting Correspondence With PPCs

In the light of yesterdays events, I thought I would revisit some correspondence with a shooting enthusiast voter last month. I expect most candidates for MP got similar emails.

3rd May 2010
Dear Mr Adrian Windisch
I am a voter in your constituency and a member of the British Association for Shooting and Conservation. I would be grateful if you could let me know your views on shooting.

Shooting involves a million people, benefits conservation and provides both recreation and food. Live quarry shooting alone contributes £1.6 billion to the UK economy and £250 million on conservation each year. In the last parliament it enjoyed support from all parties. You can find out more about shooting sports, including the codes of practice which apply in the UK at the BASC website:

I would be grateful if you could answer one question. Please choose the option that comes closest to your views:
- I support shooting sports conducted according to the current codes of practice.
- I am supportive of some aspects of legal shooting sports but have reservations in one or more areas.
- I am against shooting sports.
- I do not yet have enough information to make an assessment.

I will be letting BASC know your position so that an entry can be made on the BASC election website where members living in your constituency can check where their candidates stand on shooting. If you wish to expand on your view, please do. I will let BASC have the details so that they can inform voters who contact them.

I look forward to hearing from you.
With best wishes

4th May
Hi K**,
I am against shooting animals for sport.
And against animal cruelty.

4th May
Adrian, Thank you for your reply, am I to take it that you would support target shooting as it does not involve animals?
4th May
Hi ***, our policy is all on the web,
As you can see below, we are not keen on guns.

Gun Control and Gun Crime
CJ500 Gun crime is a particularly serious problem and the Green Party is committed to tackling it by ensuring a high level of gun control as well as addressing the social factors which contribute to people committing crimes with guns.
Also, as well as their actual use, the presence and availability of guns and 'gun culture' contributes to fear of crime, intimidation and the reluctance of witnesses and victims to report crimes.

The Green Party is committed to introducing the following measures:
Defining lethal weapons
The lethality of a gun will be defined quantitatively in law, thereby covering new weapons resulting from developments in firearms technology.

Prohibited weapons
The most dangerous weapons will be prohibited. These include handguns, multi-shot and high calibre weapons. There will be a complete ban on the private ownership/possession of all automatic and semi-automatic firearms. A suitably constituted Gun Safety Advisory Committee will regularly review which weapons are prohibited.

Deactivated weapons
All deactivated weapons will be treated the same as active weapons in terms of prohibition and licensing, as they are capable of being reactivated and can cause fear because they appear as though active.

A single rigorous licensing process will be put in place based on considerations of public safety rather than the convenience of shooters. Subject to relevant criteria, licenses will be issued for permitted shotguns and rifles, all lethal airguns and permitted deactivated guns.
Users of firearms for sporting or agricultural purposes will be required to demonstrate their competence in handling firearms and satisfy the authorities of their mental and emotional stability:
Applicants should also be required to obtain the signature of, say, ten citizens (just as a prospective electoral candidate) who will vouch for the good character of the licence holder. This will discourage the 'loners' and socially isolated individuals who are most at risk of committing the horror that occurred at Dunblane and Hungerford.
The cost of medical and psychological tests must be borne by the applicant, together with a new annual fee which is sufficient to repay the economic damage - to police, court and NHS - inflicted on it by the abuse of guns generally. When licences are awarded the onus will be on the applicant to demonstrate his or her suitability to handle firearms rather than on the authorities to prove the applicant's unsuitability. Licence holders will be required to renew their
applications on an annual basis individuals whose licence application
is rejected will be required to wait at least two years before re-applying.

Imitation weapons
There will be a complete ban on the manufacture, sale and import of imitation weapons (replica guns and blank firers) and a ban on their public possession. There will be licenses for imitation weapons used for film/theatrical purposes, and legislation to ensure toy guns are highly distinct in appearance, probably by being made of clear/translucent plastic.

On 5 May 2010 08:39, wrote:
Adrian, once again thank you for your prompt reply, I will not bore you with a point by point discussion on the various elements of your parties position on guns, other than to say you really need to distinguish between the use of illegally held firearms (ie those involved in the "gun culture" you so rightly wish to eradicate) and those held by responsible law abiding citizens. I would point out that handguns have been illegal since the aftermath of the terrible events at Dunblane yet use of such has increased exponentially, suggesting that the knee jerk legislation of the time was pointless, and possibly counter productive as it allowed politicians to take their eye off the ball! as to the requirement "Applicants should also be
required to obtain the signature of, say,ten citizens (just as a prospective electoral candidate) who will vouch for the good character of the licence holder" as you well know this is no more a guarantee of a suitable person than the existing two referees, especially given the recent "expenses debacle" involving people with
considerably more than 10 referees!
thanks again

Adrian thanks again, I suspect you are extremely busy at the moment so just a couple of thoughts, shooting sports are actually quite well supported politically, I have had some positive replies to my email, I will never forget Hungerford as due to a fortuitous change of schedule I narrowly missed being there on the day!
I think you will find politicians tend to use the armed forces to do their shooting at people for them.
as to the number of referees you are correct 10 is harder than 2 to get,
the Olympic pistol team to be honest is a bad joke, if they do well it will be despite their countries help not with it as it should be!
thanks again for your prompt replies and good luck tomorrow, K**