The shooters have been reliable medal winners for Northern Ireland at the Commonwealth and this time is no different with Derek Beattie winning a silver medal but what will be the situation in future games if the Belfast Telegraph and Lord Laird get their way?
The Belfast Telegraph is getting itself worked up about the number of legally held firearms in Northern Ireland and Lord Laird has jumped on the bandwagon too.
They do not seem to be offering any particular reason for the concern about legal gun ownership just they think the number seems big. The comparison with England and Wales is a questionable one as:
Northern Ireland is a more rural society with easy access to the countryside (not much point having a 12 guage in central London unless you want to try your luck in Hyde Park and dodge the anti-terrorist police),
Present figures for England and Wales don’t include air rifles but most must be registered in Northern Ireland.
Handguns are legal in Northern Ireland.
More people have received training with and are familiar with firearms fueling an interest in shooting as a sport.
The fact that the Northern Ireland regime for granting firearms is among the most rigorous in the world and the level of information it holds the most extensive doesn’t seem to assuage their worries. If their concern is driven by a fear of gun crime then England and Wales is a fine demonstration of the failure of gun control. Illegal use of firearms by criminals is growing despite sweeping bans on legallly held firearms.
As for Lord Laird, he often waxes lyrical about the Ulster-Scots and their role in the foundational documents of the United States of America maybe he never got as far as the second amendment.