April 1, 2006 – Which just about says it all, Michael Gault won Gold for England in 25m Standard Pistol at the recent Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, Australia.
Winning this award is virtually miraculous, due to the fact that the .22 rimfire semi-automatic pistols used in Standard Pistol are prohibited in Great Britain, and Mick has to go to Switzerland to practice. Winning it also makes Mick the most successful English competitor in Commonwealth Games history.
As amazing as all this is, it is obviously tempered by the fact that unless something is done to repeal the handgun ban, Mick will likely be the last British competitor to be so successful in these pistol disciplines. By the time the 2012 Olympics roll around, Mick will be in his late fifties, and it’s hard to see how much in the way of new blood can be gotten into these disciplines.
Thanks to the determination of people like Mick, legal equipment has become available in the past few years that is suitable for 50m Free Pistol under ISSF rules. It’s legal because the barrel has been made longer and counter-balance rods have been added to the rear of the pistol which make it legal under GB law, as the law defines a handgun by length.
Alan Westlake of Westlake Engineering has been making similar efforts with semi-automatics, unfortunately although he has come up with guns that are fairly workable, they are not legal for competition use under ISSF rules (which means transitioning to another pistol overseas for international competitions).
What this means is that there is a chance of new competitors coming through who can win at the international level, but realistically, with all the barriers they face it’s going to be an uphill struggle.
The handgun ban is a stupid law that needs to be repealed. Handguns are more widely used in crime than they ever were before the ban, as proven by Home Office statistics. The Government sometimes tells us that the reason for the ban was to stop “legal” handguns being used in crime, after the events at Dunblane. The problem with that statement has always been that the public inquiry headed by Lord Cullen came to a different conclusion. Even if the Government wanted a ban and ignored his recommendations in relation to them, Lord Cullen wrote, there was no reason to ban clubs from possessing handguns for the use of their members. So what do we have today? A complete ban on target shooting with handguns, with the exception of muzzle-loading pistols and air pistols.
Kate Hoey MP has introduced an Early Day Motion into the House of Commons which makes this point. It’s important that you get hold of your MP and urge them to support this EDM, and point out to them the heroic efforts of people like Mick Gault. If you don’t know who your MP is, find out who they are on the Parliament website, and write to them at the House of Commons, Westminster, SW1A 0AA.
The Dunblane “Conspiracy”
Talking about stupid things, I grow increasingly depressed by how many people keep getting taken in by the conspiracy theory surrounding the tragic shootings at Dunblane Primary School.
It seems to have a never-ending life, as soon as one aspect of it is disproven, along come another bunch of people with yet another spin on the theory to which they want: “answers”.
The reality is that it’s simply not true, the various theories that Thomas Hamilton was somehow involved with the masons or some sort of paedophilia ring with members of Central Scotland Police are pure fiction and have no basis in fact.
You may wonder why I am so certain about this; well apart from the fact that I can think logically, I know for a certain fact that this conspiracy theory was made up, because I know who the people are who originally made it up. Despite my best attempts to quash it at the start it continually keeps popping up and has been endlessly embellished by the latest campaigner for the “truth”.
Over the years I’ve had bona fide journalists contact me for information, and after I’ve given them the information I have, they too have also concluded that it’s a fantasy.
Like all conspiracy theories, it contains some limited elements of truth. For example some of the people who gave oral evidence at the public inquiry made statements that don’t entirely match up with their written statements. This is one of the things that is seized on to say there was a “cover up”. Unfortunately it proves no such thing, I doubt there has ever been a judicial inquiry in the history of the planet where all the oral and written statements entirely match up. Knowing that it’s made up I suppose gives me an advantage, because I can clearly see through all the claptrap and flawed theorising immediately.
For awhile, people prattled on about how there must have been a cover up because Lord Cullen put some of the evidence under a 100-year closure order. Since it’s been lifted, yet more embellishment has come out of the woodwork.
If you actually take the time to think it through logically, it’s obviously bunk, because why would someone like Thomas Hamilton, a person who was heavily in debt and almost certainly a paedophile, go on a rampage and kill over a dozen children if he had connections to various people in authority who would have overlooked his transgressions? The answer is that he wouldn’t of.
The calls for a further public inquiry also make me laugh, because I guarantee that the end result of any further inquiry would simply be that the whole thing would be discredited – and so would be all the people who have put it forward, which unfortunately includes a number of shooters who should know better.
Now if you’re a conspiracy theorist and want to waste your time pursuing this absurd conspiracy theory, go right ahead and waste your time. However, if you’re a shooter, please come to your senses and realise that this theory is total nonsense and use your time more usefully, e.g. by trying to get the handgun ban repealed. Certainly undermining the Dunblane Public Inquiry won’t do that, because Lord Cullen didn’t recommend a handgun ban, and he also concluded that Central Scotland Police made serious mistakes in their dealings with Thomas Hamilton and the manner in which he was able to retain his firearm certificate.
It’s a stupid theory and endlessly going on about it helps no-one. Get a grip people. (And no, just because I wrote this on April 1st doesn’t mean I’m pulling your leg either.)