23 March 2019 – The Times has published a hit job against the UKPSA this morning, linking practical shotgun disciplines with the New Zealand mass murders last week.
The articles begin on the splash (front page), continue on page 2 and end with a double-page spread on 6 and 7 that has a picture of the NZ murderer Brenton Tarrant next to a picture of a UKPSA competitor firing a modern sporting rifle through a typical match barricade.
The articles extensively quote the Gun Control Network while including a series of quotes from UKPSA. They also quote a couple of RFDs, one of whom said “Are people going to feel safer being shot by one that doesn’t look like a shotgun?”
It appears likely that the GCN has steered and influenced the Times, given that that newspaper also quoted Mike Yardley, well known in the sporting shooting world for his demands to ban anything that is not a traditional English shotgun. Quoting Yardley is like quoting Alan Sked on anything to do with UKIP, or asking bonkers and legally dubious American tech bloke John McAfee to comment on the activities of McAfee the antivirus firm, which he happened to found decades ago.
UKSN speculates that The Times, looking for anti-shooting voices to quote in support of its opening shots, stumbled across one of the GCN’s four members and discovered a whole world of single-issue obsessives happy to lend their names to an anti-shooting campaign.
We can expect followup articles quoting police workers and Labour MPs next week. We should be fully prepared for reporters contacting us with inaccurate, sensationalist and one-sided questions in the hope of getting a new angle on the story.
UKSN, dormant for the past few years, will be reactivating to respond to this. It appears likely that this is the first stage of a Times campaign to have all semi-autos banned in the UK and quite possibly the total destruction of UKPSA, in the same way as the National Pistol Association ceased to exist after the post-Dunblane murder bans.
Practical advice for clubs and RFDs will follow later. For now, politely refer all media requests for comment to your affiliated national shooting body.