16 June 2016 – With a week to go until polling day, UK Shooting News presents five reasons for readers to vote to leave the European Union.
1. Stop the EU gun ban affecting us. As chronicled on UKSN over the last 8 months, EU bureaucrats – aided and abetted by UK Home Secretary Theresa May and her civil servants – have been trying to ban semi-auto firearms and magazines. Voting to Leave would stop the EU gun ban from taking direct effect in the UK because we wouldn’t be subject to it.
2. Make our rulers answer to us, not others. The EU gun ban is being imposed on us by unelected Brussels bureaucrats and foreign politicians appointed by people in other countries. We are outnumbered 27 to 1 at EU level and there’s little you or I can do to influence the lawmakers. On the rare occasions (72 out of 2,500+) when the British government has voted against incoming EU diktats, we lost each and every time.
3. Stop our politicians from using the EU to evade being held to account. The British government is a very quiet but very strong supporter of the EU’s diktats. Our politicians and civil servants go to Brussels, endorse the nonsense spouted there, then come back to Britain wringing their hands and saying there’s nothing they can do – if they even bother acknowledging it. Leaving the EU would force them to face us, the public, each and every time they want to pass a new law that affects us.
4. Have direct access to your lawmakers by voting Leave. The EU will only engage with large lobby groups and ignores everyone else. This is why BASC and the Countryside Alliance had to form the UK branch of FACE, the EU-wide pro-shooting campaign group, to oppose the EU gun ban. You, as an individual voter, will be ignored if you try and write to EU lawmakers at the EU Commission. Sure, you can write to MEPs – but did you know that you don’t actually elect ‘your’ MEP? In the EU system you vote for a political party, and the party chooses which individuals will sit in the seats the party wins. In Britain you vote for an individual, not a political grouping who don’t answer to you.
5. Freedom to strike our own international trade deals. With EU bureaucracy and barriers to external trade out of the way, we should see an end to the silly $=£ pricing of many overseas shooting components.
Freedom is a precious thing, and the main reason I’m voting Leave. I own a couple of .303″ Enfield rifles, a SMLE and a No.4. They are both of wartime production, in their respective eras. The men issued these rifles were told they were fighting for the freedom of others. The freedom to elect your own rulers. Freedom from tyranny and dictatorship, and the freedom of national self-determination – to be your own people, make your own laws, live your own lives in peace. Good men died in their millions to preserve this noble aim, and it is directly because of my grandfather’s generation’s sacrifices that I have the freedom to write this today.
These rifles are more than just tools that project a bullet down the range. They are historical artefacts that remind me exactly what it comes down to when freedom is threatened by military force. Whenever I cut my thumb on a charger clip, mis-set my sights or accidentally cause a rim lock in the magazine, I swear to myself – and, if I’m feeling philosophical, I wonder how I’d have coped if I did the same thing on the battlefields of northern France, weighed down by a ton of kit and with return fire coming my way.
While the EU hasn’t yet proposed banning Lee Enfields, or other magazine-fed bolt action rifles, it is only a matter of time, and the antis have their tentacles embedded deep within the EU’s structures. Nobody would have believed our rulers, even the EU ones, would ever seriously try to ban rifle, pistol and shotgun magazines and yet here we are now, figuring out how to prevent that.
If you think they will stop and leave us alone after banning semi-auto firearms and magazines capable of holding 21 rounds+, you’re wrong. History teaches us that power-hungry authoritarians only ever make bigger demands when they win whatever it is they’re chasing at the moment – be that a ban on your sporting equipment, increased powers for themselves, less accountability to you, or whatever.
That EU desire for power and control over you applies to all areas of our lives, not just our shooting sports and our livelihoods. Many are happy with having the minute details of their lives run, regulated and controlled by others in a distant land. I am not, and I fervently hope enough of my fellow Britons think the same way.
Today the greatest threat to our freedom to live as we choose is not military. It is political. Next week is the one and only chance we will ever have to stop that threat.
Vote Leave on 23rd June.
of course, there are plenty of other non-shooting reasons to vote Leave, but this is, after all, a shooting blog.