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Director’s Page Working Together To Preserve Our Sport


Restrictive gun legisla-

tion is certainly a hot-button topic for every state legisla- ture in America. Negative laws, limitations and prohibi- tions are being implement- ed with no regard for the wide-ranging impact to our sport. Becoming involved in legislative matters is not our mission. However, when leg- islation negatively impacts our members’ ability to train, travel with and/or own Olympic-style competition fi rearms, it is our obligation to work with allies and make appropriate appeals. U.S. athletes have won

107 Olympic medals in our history, but with every new law passed, the reality of continued success becomes increasingly challenging. It becomes diffi cult to draw people into our athlete pool when they are restricted or prohibited to own and or travel with the sporting equipment necessary to par- ticipate. In states such as Califor-

nia, Illinois, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut just to name a few, current legis- lation creates limitations on our athletes’ ability to partic- ipate in the Olympic shoot- ing sports. If we don’t step up now and let our voices be heard in an appropriate manner, we face the real- ization of limiting Olympic hopefuls the opportunity to properly train, compete and pursue their Olympic and

has worked well for all con- cerned with no known mis- use of the exempted pistols. We hope that as legis-

Paralympic Dreams. Where necessary and

prudent to do so, USA Shoot- ing is initiating dialogue with those who infl uence restrictive legislation. These conversations are taking place at different levels and specifi cally in those states where gun control measures have been most aggressive. Most negative legislation is enacted using inadequate research and information. Once put in place, amend- ment and/or repeal is ex- tremely diffi cult. Our members compete

using smallbore .22 caliber pistols and rifl es, 12 gauge shotguns, and .177 caliber air guns. The use of these fi rearms is no different than the racket, golf club or la- crosse stick athletes use to perform their craft of choice in other sports. For us, the gun is sporting equipment and an instrument used in pursuit of perfection. The safety record for shooting


speaks for itself and con- tinually is among the safest recreational sports in the

8 USA Shooting News | May 2014

world. Our safety record is simply impeccable. As evi- dence of such, USA Shoot- ing’s liability insurance pre- mium is a small fraction of USA Wrestling, USA Cycling, USA Triathlon, USA Boxing and others. Our fi rearm han- dling practices and range operations are of the high- est and safest standards. We fear that the restric-

tions in place under the New York SAFE Act for example, put innocent recreational target shooters at risk of arrest for possessing con- traband. It’s unfortunate that legislation meant to curb someone’s criminal in- tent immediately affects the shooting sports and sports- men in general. We’ve suggested amend-

ments to the current SAFE Act and are most willing to assist with a solution. California instituted as- sault weapons legislation in 2000. With the assistance of state legislators and USA Shooting, an exemption was passed in 2002 for qualify- ing Olympic-style competi- tion pistols. This exception

lation is discussed, USA Shooting will be seen as a resource in an effort to en- sure that desired laws and amendments will not place undue restrictions on our sport. Our members have cho-

sen a sport in which a fi re- arm is a necessity. Our second amendment rights should protect the freedom that provides that opportu- nity. Legislation that does not consider the scope and impact of those affected is detrimental to our sport and survival as one America’s top Olympic medal produc- ers.

As Olympic-style shooting enthusiasts, it is our obliga- tion to take appropriate ac- tion when we become aware of legislation impacting our sport. Contact relevant poli- ticians and enforcement au- thorities and provide factual information regarding the impact of the legislation. Also contact the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) at the NRA and myself at USA Shooting. Action taken ear- lier rather than later has a better chance of being suc- cessful in countering nega- tive legislation. We do need to be proactive and work to- gether to preserve our Olym- pic shooting sports.

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