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.”
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.
Free speech isn’t about license to make violent, abusive, hateful comment. It’s about the freedom to criticise not to bully. #Liberty
— Mike Yardley (@YardleyShooting) November 18, 2015
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.”