Prominent British shooter welcomes EU gun ban with open arms

A prominent British countryside shooter and former media commentator on shooting issues has welcomed the EU’s published gun ban proposals, saying “guns with large mags and rapid firing mechanisms facilitate amok killing in the wrong hands.”

Mike Yardley, who has been in these pages before after branding all British service rifle shooters “selfish and weird”, posted on his Facebook page earlier today: “I believe live-firing, assault style, weapons have no place in shooting sport in the UK or Europe.”

Normally UK Shooting News would advocate simply ignoring Yardley. Unfortunately, because the man does have a useful contribution to make about clay pigeon shooting technique, he has amassed a fairly large Facebook audience. Although all US publications have dropped his once-regular columns after his increasingly bizarre and incomprehensible outbursts against the shooting sports he is occasionally called upon by the British mainstream media for comment, usually being presented as a UK shooter who agrees with new restrictions and who will tell the general public that shooters accept all new bans without reservation.

Mike Yardley is a dangerous liability to the sustainable future of our sport and does not represent anything like a majority of British shooting opinion, as much as he deludes himself otherwise.

Even Yardley’s own readers were infuriated and repulsed by his statements. One, which gained 15 Facebook likes, read: “Are some of us already looking at giving away another section of our shooting community in anticipation of a potential backlash on shooting sports after recent comments in the news? I sincerely hope not. Whilst I myself have no wish to shoot military style guns I would not withhold that right from other law abiding citizens just to appease the press and certain groups of the public.”

Another wrote: “Congratulations on once again creating division in shooting sports. At times like this we need to band together to face off attacks against the antis… All disciplines of shooting need to look out for one another rather than pointing a finger at each other hoping someone else other than them gets the axe. The NRA did it in the 80’s and look at where that got us.”

Unrepentant, Yardley hit back in another Facebook post: “I think military style weapons in civilian hands convey quite the wrong image and one which is potentially damaging to the shooting sports at the moment. The possession of such weapons panders to potentially unhealthy fantasy.”

UKSN comment

It is a very sad state of affairs that the UK’s licensed firearms community has to publicly disown someone who should be one of its own because of the damage he is doing to the wider sporting community. Yardley’s name is mud amongst shooters, particularly newcomers who have no wish to repeat the mistakes of Yardley’s generation by throwing other shooters overboard in the vain hope of appeasing the anti-shooting lobby.

Alas, Yardley will never shut up. He refused to apologise for his disgusting remarks about service rifle shooters earlier this year and despite even his own social media followers telling him to wind his neck in, it is probably too much to hope he’ll retract his statements and keep his head down instead.

His other attitudes betray ignorance and a mentality that belongs to the latter part of the 20th century.

 

As one of his own readers told him: “Please turn down future requests from the media to represent our sport. You’re not fit to be our spokesperson.”

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21 thoughts on “Prominent British shooter welcomes EU gun ban with open arms

  1. Elliot Seagrave-Nowack

    Mike Yardley is nothing but an appeaser. Shooters across the UK should unlike his page and denounce him as a valid representative immediately.

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  2. Steven Wolf

    I would go on his website to tell him again how much of a fool he is trying to devise our sport. However since that would generate traffic to his pathetic website I won’t do so and would rather have a rant about it on here, generating support and web traffic for this website that I support.

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  3. Colin jenkins

    Mike Yardley is only Interested in one thing – publicising Mike Yardley. He won’t shut up because he craves publicity at any cost and his fanatical rant about “black rifles” is getting him the media attention he wants. It could just as easily be a rant about black shoes instead of his “reasonable at the price £200 brown brogues” he is an elitist media whore only interested in publicity and protecting his own shooting pursuits and those of his pals – he’s got zero credibility amongst gun clubs and target shooters and knows nothing about the popular practical disciplines that are on the rise thanks entirely to the popularity of our .22 semi-auto black rifles.

    I’ve thought about how best to describe what I think of him and, unfortunately, the best I can do is quote James May – “he’s a cock”

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  4. Terry

    Post-Dunblane Mike was supposed to be the voice of shooting. He knows my views of how he carried out that task! However on this occasion, Mike, why can’t you just keep your trap shut like you did back then?

    You may think that you know a lot about shooting but over the years, you have obviously focused on a narrower and narrower view of the world and now you appear to speak at the of level of ignorance of the rest of Grub Street.

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  5. chris

    any blog or publication this moron is linked to any product he is associated with i will stay clear of on a personal note Mike Yardley stop you do not represent me and many other shooters lets vote with our feet and leave anything this moron touches

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  6. Nicolas Barton

    Mike Yardley is the Lord Haw Haw of our time…… One day when we have no guns at all he may, in a quiet moment,think to himself ‘How was I so blind?’ …… We truly are living in uncertain times brought about by lunatic politicians ‘playing at’ creating a Utopian World.

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  7. Chris B.

    The problem with Mike Yardley is that he is still the Media’s go-to guy. And whilst he still has thier ear he will be dangerous to us! So how would we stop them asking him to comment? Well, we won’t because he says what they want to hear.

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  8. Beardy

    As an sportshooter (IPSC) and an owner of a “black rifle” in Europe, there is already hard rules and laws surrounding ownership. In my country, the years (yes, years) you have to put into the club activity, matches and training – we are really good at filtering out unwanted and/or dangerous elements. As an Instructor I decline people all the time if I get a wibe that they only want to own an AR rather that they love the sport.

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  9. Maurice Mountford

    Yardley was always a poser and fantasist living in a strange world of make believe England where everybody wears a hat & Rolex when posing for a shooting advert! Total bollocks!

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  10. michael yardley

    Nice to know you’re loved. But I have not welcomed the new European Firearms legislation – that statement is not true. Nor do I want to see any more bans in the UK. What I said was that I oppose the trend towards paramilitarism in some sectors of UK shooting sport. I also think .22 ‘Armalites’ and AK’s look silly. I do believe high capacity semi-automatic weapons can facilitate mass killing (which is why soldiers are issues with them rather than Martini Henry’s) but the argument is academic in the UK now. I am seriously worried about some ‘weekend warriors’ here – and that is a growing issue.

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    1. Stevie

      These are your words from Wednesday 18th November :

      “I believe live-firing, assault style weapons have no place in shooting sport in the UK and Europe”

      how, is that not support for the EU’s call to ban all firearms that look like “assault rifles” across the whole of Europe that was released the same day?

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  11. michael yardley

    And for those who believe we have no problems in the UK I suggest you read this letter, one of a number of communications expressing concern sent to me recently. “Michael,
    I thought I would drop you a line to offer my support and applaud the stance you have taken in regard to the shooting sports lately, I would prefer if this could remain anonymous and confidential please, I’m done with fighting and trying to explain myself to idiots.
    I’m thinking hard right now about jacking it all in & not renewing my certificates due to the way the sport is heading… I’ve been shooting since I was 4 (I’m ___now) and I have never seen so much hatred and division, the club of which I’m a member has had an influx of members, none of whom hold a certificate, and they have set up a ‘Zombie Squad’ there. They go on Monday nights, they’ve all brought Spikes Tactical AR’s in .22LR and leave them at the range, and they have timed sessions where they duck & run behind wooden obstacles whilst engaging targets – it would be quite funny as the range is only 9 firing points & 25yards, if it wasn’t for the ‘tactical’ thing – they honestly believe they are in training! When I confronted them (well, took the mickey out of the black fatigues, ‘combat’ tactics and the whole ‘zombie’ thing), one of them said “you have to wake up & realise what’s happening & what’s going to happen in this country, I know zombies aren’t real but then you have to swap the ‘Z’ for an ‘M’ & then you’ll know where we’re coming from”, this coupled with the EDL top he was wearing at the time, absolutely disgusted me, so I told him he was a disgrace & so was his attitude and they shouldn’t even be allowed to look at a firearm let alone use one.
    I aired my views to the range owner & he just laughed it off saying that they’re alright really & it’s just a bit of fun, and he keeps his eye on them so don’t worry, so I shared my concerns with a few friends down there & it turns out they’re as concerned as I am, they’ve heard of instances of people there buying primers, powder, heads, cases, military first aid kit off the net & burying them in their gardens!! Unfortunately we have no proof, we aired our concerns to the son of our local FLO & he said he would keep his eyes open & have a word, but it’s just as bad as it ever was down there, three friends have just left & I think I may follow.
    I have just sold my ‘black’ rifle and only have a couple of guns left, I only ever used it indoors (downloaded) and tired of it quite quickly to be honest, im not a distance shooter, hell, even rifles bore me now! I used to love shooting pistols but can’t even do that anymore, and with everything that’s happening in the world, I, like you, believe that public perception is everything, and believe me, I’ve had to struggle to explain & defend our sport when they see someone dressed as a navy seal using the same club as I do!
    I agree with you on the assault rifle subject, yes I’ve had a few, yes they were fun, yes I can see why people get wound up about your views on the subject, but I can also see the bigger picture & understand why they are not a good idea! Unfortunately you have too many people (self proclaimed weapons experts mainly) who are making too much money out of the whole black rifle/tactical scene, and these are the idiots whom you regularly engage on social media.
    You are right, shooting is in severe danger, and those who are putting it in danger are blissfully ignorant, and I’m afraid I no longer want to be a part of it, I’ve fought, explained, educated, promoted and passionately defended the sport all my life, even more so since 97/98 and I’m afraid I’ve had enough, i do not recognise it at the present time which is a shame.
    Sorry for waffling on – can’t help it, but I had to say something and just let you know that you are probably more accurate than you may care to think on the whole radicalisation thing!
    Your a good man with a good heart and I agree with you on most things,
    You ARE right & do represent the majority of shooters despite what’s said,
    And I thank you for all you’ve done for us all and sincerely hope you continue the good work for some time to come.
    Thank you”

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    1. Beardy

      wall of text incoming:

      I believe that your problem with zombie-squad shooters at the range quite frankly is that they range managers allows it. In Sweden, where I reside, IPSC or as most other people call it “run & duck -pewpew- and cover-action-tactical-something shooting”, Black Rifles or the dreaded AR15 is the most popular rifle for the IPSC Rifle division. AK style semi-automatic clones has been banned from the Swedish IPSC branch for years due to political reasons. The fact that the Armalite based design is so popular? tons-and-tons of spare parts, stock, grips etc. etc. , and it is a platform that has been proven and that can hold accuracy – which is important in a Sport that values accuracy as well as speed since the scoring is based on total points divided by time.

      It takes a normal person roughly 3 years to be able to apply for a rifle for IPSC Sporting. If you are able to find a very active club, taking all the courses you need, perhaps just over 2 years. And that is just for starters – There are several things during this time he must fulfil during these years like: Training and Club activity, participation in competitions, participation in general club activities. If by then the more “tacticool” weekend warrior types have not already quit, they face another obstacle – beside having a good standing with the club, having a number of competition results to show for – namely me. I am the IPSC club manager, and I in participation with the secretary of the club and/or Club president reviews any application a member wants for a firearm.

      I manage 30+ or so licensed IPSC competitors, our club in total are around 120+. We have people from every walk of life: Taxi-drivers, University students, Engineers, Professors, Military officers, Policemen, Nurses, Teachers – all of them decent folk that love the comradery in the club, and the activity of competition shooting. None of them runs around in full battlegear doing barrel rolls towards zombie targets (*gasp* not even our military or policemen in the club does this!). Because we never let such individuals become members.

      I have declined people licenses, oh yes. I have also declined a lot of people that has contacted us for the initial IPSC courses based on behaviour and personalities. True, there are some cases where criminals has taken the legal route for their weapons, Sweden’s most famous example is Mangs who targeted immigrants – the worst thing about that is that the club he joined contacted the Police and said “right guys, we have a member that has fulfilled all criterias to get his handgun licence – but we feel that somethings is not quite right with this fellow, can we get your help declining his application?”

      The police answer was “no? he has no criminal record, and he has fulfilled everything set by our laws to apply for a license, so we cannot do anything”. How is that for security?

      I cannot speak for the other clubs in Sweden, nor rest of Europe, but most of them are running quite a tight ship.

      Hunters in Sweden on the other hand – take a hunting exam crash course, takes 3-4 days, write the exam, do the practical test – go and apply for your license: .338 Lapua or .308 semi-automatic Browning hunting rifle that can take an external magazines. Their licenses are lifetime, ours (handguns only for now) are based on 5 years with proof of competition results at time of renewal. If they would have the same lengthy process to possess a firearm – Sweden would have faaaaar less hunters.

      The real question in all of this, how will a ban of semi-automatic rifles do nothing more then hit the legal ownership? Criminals or terrorists don’t care about laws (hint: they are unlawful by nature), and smuggling firearms across borders is the real problem here. Slovakia and the region its in, is a major source for most illegal weapons in Europe, but nothing is done going after the smugglers. Once they bought – legal- “decommissioned” firearms in countries like Slovakia, they hop them over the border inside the EU and then the more or less just drive them to a drop-off point. The police in my City has been finding firearms in the hands of criminals that can be traced to – lets say – the same region as Slovenia.

      I despise what happened in France, cowardly acts by horrible people to instil fear in the general population. So how does a ban on certain items for legal civilian ownership stop this from happening? The sad answer – it will not hinder it a bit.

      There are some things in the proposal that I have no problem with – like being able to track legal firearms across nations – would make my travel to competitions in Europe a lot easier, as well for people that travel a lot to hunt – but that is about it. One of the few things I would like to be added in the Swedish legislation right now is that when someone applies for a firearm license – they not only check their criminal record, they check their medical record for entries of mental health. (I know it is very taboo).

      No if you want a safer Europe (and no, I am far from thinking that we should have firearm laws like in the United States), go after the money. Go after the people that make millions on selling illegal firearms to criminals and terror mongers. Make sure there are no profit in trafficking in death. Go after the money – the current laws we in Sweden have works fine, and so does of the laws in most Europe – do not kneejerk an reaction based on a terrible event – no matter how terrible it is – bad laws that does _nothing_ for Europe’s safety but heavily restricts the average lawful citizen are _bad laws_

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  12. Alexa

    As a Kontinental Kommentator, I would not expect anything else from a Briton. Or, more precisely, from a denizen of England, Wales and Scotland, since I am aware of the diverging firearms laws in Northern Ireland, Isle of Man, and Channel Islands.

    The uncountably (and unACCountably) many British shooting associations (under the joint umbrella motto: “British Shooting – inspired to fail !”) have always been on the forefront of prohibitions and self-emasculations, and never have resisted. On the contrary. In a striking contrast to most other countries.

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    1. BigAl

      Alexa you have to remember that British Shooting is only interested in Elite Level ISSF shooting. It has no interest in anything else, and isn’t actually a real National Governing Body as far as club shooters in the UK are concerned. Even our NGB’s though thanks to their division are only interested in the events that they govern, and sometimes they are not that bothered about all of those. Both the NSRA and the NRA were very guilty of this during the late 20th Century. Back in the 80’s the NRA in the UK was little more than the “Bisley Target Rifle Club” and were only interested in fullbore target rifle shooting, and mostly only when shot at Bisley. The NSRA was pretty much the same for smallbore, although they did support a much wider network of clubs. Still the emphasis was on shooting the smallbore prone postal leagues, and nothing else really mattered. As we have gradually lost disciplines in mainland UK they have started to wake up to the fact that all disciplines need to stick together. Part of the problem though is that there are a lot of shooters that are only interested in their little bit, and while that is not threatened will happily ignore the rest. I know quite a few people involved in the management of the NRA, people who really want to do something about the situation, but it can be hard to push things past the entrenched traditionalists who do not want to see change.

      The fact that there were four or five different organisations acting as NGB for different ISSF events and the narrowness of those organisations is why the British Government insisted that British Shooting was set up to administer the Olympic level ISSF shooting in the UK. Attempts to merge the main target shooting NGB’s has been fraught too. The shotgun shooters come from a background where most shooting grounds are privately run as businesses, they don’t have clubs in the same sense that rifle and pistol shooting do. Actually under UK regulations rifle and pistol shooting have to have clubs with defined constitutions, and committees etc just to get approval to operate. The way many clay shooting sites operate would actually be illegal for rifle and pistol shooting. It is much easier to become involved in shotgun shooting, so that is where there is a lot of money floating about. In comparison rifle and pistol is heavily regulated, difficult to get into, as you can’t just turn up and have a go. So unsurprisingly there is not nearly so much money around within rifle and pistol shooting. This worries the shotgunners, who very often have no interest in any other form of shooting, so they are very unwilling to become involved in a combined NGB. It is in some ways odd that there are far more keen rifle or pistol shooters that will also occasionally shoot shotgun, or other disciplines as well as the main interest. But I guess the fact that if you have a Firearms Certificate here, having a Shotgun Certificate too is pretty much a proforma addition, and only £10 more, so is an easy option, you don’t even have to shoot it regularly. On the other hand if you don’t shoot your section 1 firearms you will lose your certificate.

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