Shooting faces fight against extremism

Shooting has come under a fresh wave of attacks from activists who have been described as “extremists”, who wish to see an end to live quarry shooting in the UK, or to all private gun ownership.

The most blatant example of anti-shooting extremism was the disruption of a BASC game dinner at Derby Museum, which came under fire from the Derby Hunt Saboteurs group, which pressured the museum to cancel the event.

On the day of the event, sabs staged a protest outside the entrance to the venue. One BASC member described them as an “angry yelling mob” and reported that they followed some guests through the streets on their way to the museum. Guests then left quietly out of the back entrance in order to avoid further intimidation.

These days, however, extremism doesn’t just mean property damage perpetrated by balaclava-clad activists. It can involve other, less immediately obvious methods, such as political pressure or even social media posts.

As reported previously in Sporting Rifle, an anti-shooting campaign successfully convinced Liverpool Council to pull the planned British Shooting Show event from the city; the show has now been relocated to Manchester and will take place on 26-27 September 2020.

Liverpool council went further than that and expressed its distaste for all forms of game shooting, labelling all those who take part in it “barbaric”.

Since then, Reading University has also come under attack, eventually cancelling the pheasant shooting lease it had on its Hall Farm site in response to an online campaign.

On this matter, Dan Reynolds, BASC director of England, said: “It is not hard to see Reading’s view. The Hall Farm shoot was a small syndicate. In the long run, it was easier for the university to cancel the lease and avoid facing a continual barrage of abuse that could eventually lead to reputational damage.

“BASC would argue that, as a research institute, it should be the university’s responsibility to bypass the fake news and instead research the environmental, economic and social impacts of the shoot themselves.

“But given the similar attacks our community is facing from extremists, I do question if the shooting community is fast becoming a minority group against whom it is acceptable to hold an open prejudice.”

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