BBC Victoria Derbyshire segment on shooting: Not bad, actually

23 Feb 2016 – Following on from this morning’s programme about target shooters in the UK, UK Shooting News can say it wasn’t half as bad as the written summary suggested. Dare I say it, this was actually a balanced piece of TV.

The full segment (about 14 minutes long) can be viewed on the BBC website.

Apart from a few hiccups on the way, it was a mostly neutral and informative programme. The programme’s makers conflated the Law Commission review of firearms law with firearms licensing law, though it was later made clear by the head of the commission that the two are separate.

In addition, they presented Canadian and Omani soldiers shooting the annual International Falling Plates Team Match at Pirbright ranges as if they were NRA members – and in turn presented that video, which was shot by the Fieldsports Channel, as if it was an NRA promotional film. (I’d point out that if they picked out footage from about 5 minutes later in the Fieldsports Channel’s film they would have seen genuine NRA members, but what can you do…)

A praiseworthy segment of the BBC programme was its visual explanation of “good reason”, for firearm certificates, as well as what firearms are banned from private ownership.

Another was the brief experience of live shooting at Bisley, complete with .22 rimfire rifle, shotgun, and NRA chief exec Andrew Mercer quietly disassociating the sporting body from its American cousin.

Most of all, Benjamin Zand, the film’s producer, deserves praise for suppressing his own anti-shooting instincts for the broadcast product. It is a shame he didn’t apply the same rigour and impartiality to his written summary of the film.

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