The Gunshow

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Mark Dennehy writes:

So… remember those 1700 firearms that were listed by the Gardai as having been stolen from 2010 to 2014 in all the tabloids of late?  Interesting written question in the Dail on Tuesday this week, saw an infodump of raw data from PULSE regarding those.

Some interesting questions pop up. Why is there a fully automatic rifle listed, when only Gardai and the Defence Forces can own them? Was one stolen from the Gardai in the Eastern Dublin Metropolitan Region in 2011? Why are there 54 replicas listed as real firearms when they can’t shoot bullets? Why are there 266 rounds of ammunition listed as individual firearms in the numbers? Why were 18 telescopes listed as individual firearms? Why are there 29 gun safes, 62 imitation guns and 12 toy guns listed as firearms when under the Firearms Act, those three categories are not legally firearms even within the enormously wide definition of that term in Irish law?

And did anyone think to tell the media that those figures were a wee bit misleading? I don’t remember too many firearms licences being issued for grenades, for example, but there’s one in there. Was a grenade stolen from the Army in Tipperary in 2010?

I’ll be the first to admit that the number of what we think of “guns” that have been stolen is a cause for concern (though strangely, none of proposals the Gardai have made recently have addressed minimum security standards at all). But these figures, they’re… well, they raise some rather pointy questions about the quality of the data in PULSE, and it’s that data that the Gardai are basing their proposals on, and that raises questions over the proposals as well, obviously.  Actually, now that I think about it, those 266 rounds of ammunition – the second largest chunk in the pie – are also not legally firearms even under our hilariously wide definition of “firearm”…

 

105 thoughts on “The Gunshow

  1. Drogg

    Mark I’d be more concerned about how this information leaked out to the media, as there has long been a concern that criminal elements where being passed info on who gun owners are and where their equipment is being stored.

    1. Mark Dennehy

      Who has access to PULSE has always been a valid concern Drogg, but it seems a more immediate concern that as the Oireachtas Joint Committee are finalising their report for the Minister (and the Department is doing the same thing), these figures have been given to them as well as the media, despite their fairly problematic quality. Those two groups have been told about the problem, and I understand that a formal complaint was lodged with GSOC, but this is the first time we’ve seen any raw data come out of PULSE; until now we’ve only ever seen the very high-level summaries.

      And if the raw data here has this many problems, how can we trust any of the rest of the data?

      It might be time to get the Minister’s new Data Quality Team to audit PULSE. And hold off on drafting new policy until we know whether or not the data we’re looking at is completely worthless or just contains errors.

      1. sickofallthisbs

        I didn’t realise that I could use broadsheet to indulgence in a sanctimonious whinge about my hobby being screwed over by the government.

        1. bob

          I don’t see much that’s sanctimonious about it.

          Pretty sure you can use broadsheet for anything that the government is screwing anyone for.

          Or things that look like stolen bicycles in the shape of Ireland that are badly parked in front of a water meter.

  2. octo

    I’d say it’s probably due to a limited range of pre-defined categories in the database when then the data is being eneterd, so that everything related to guns is entered under ‘firearms’ or something. I wouldn’t get too worked up over it.

    1. Mark Dennehy

      You might take a look at the list of categories in that diagram. There’s more than enough categories to accurately record firearm type.

      But four of the categories involved – which in total make up the largest group of items in the numbers, about 20% of them in total – are not legally firearms (and our legal definition of firearm is hilariously wide).

      That means a senior member of the Gardai told the Oireachatas and the Minister that 1700 firearms had been stolen; but 20% of those are not firearms, not even legally. And we’re using those figures right now to draft new firearms legislation. Errors in those figures of this magnitude are very significant right now as a result.

      1. Don Pidgeoni

        Even without the 20%, its still a large enough number for concern. The points made above about who is leaking the data and the fact that the database is not fit for purpose are valid.

        1. Mark Dennehy

          I’m definitely not saying lets ignore the 80% Don; but the current proposals don’t propose increasing security requirements at all, so they are ignoring it.

          My point is that the data we’re looking at has huge, obvious, glaring errors in it; we need to at least audit it before we trust it enough to base laws on it. (And it turns out the Gardai just established a Data Quality team in response to the Garda inspectorate report saying that PULSE was so bad it needs to be retired…)

          1. Don Pidgeoni

            I think you are making a lot more of this than it is worth.

            1) Its still a lot of guns being stolen

            2) The data doesn’t have glaring holes, the data is there, its just the database needs to be fixed to accommodate the different options (though you would think grenade wouldn’ be that common)

            3) More data – Ireland has a lot of shootings, apparently the 3rd highest in Europe and seven times higher than the UK (from http://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/firearm-owners-to-fight-gun-law-changes-304872.html). Clearly that needs to be addressed. While the methods proposed by the police may be heavy-handed, they need to do something to try and bring that down. It would be better to acknowledging this rather than screaming “but sport!”

          2. Mark Dennehy

            (1) Yes. We think. If we can trust the other 80% of the data when 20% of it is one large error. Me, I’d rather audit it first and then trust it. But let’s say we do that and we see there’s still a problem. Cool. Let’s raise the minimum security standards, increase Garda funding, hire and train more Gardai, reopen more Garda stations… oh, wait, absolutely nobody outside of the shooters has proposed this as a plan. Now that bit does actually worry me. But maybe if enough people know that, it might change.

            (2) You hope? :D Seriously, no, you can’t get a licence for a mother loving hand grenade. :D

            (3) Ireland has a lot of shootings, yes. It also has the fourth lowest firearms ownership rate in Europe (4.3 firearms per 100 people; the EU average is 17.6 and you have to go to the former USSR satellite states to find the countries with lower ownership rates). Seriously, the problem isn’t target shooting sports. And the solution isn’t banning them. The solution is putting our hand in our wallet and actually paying to fund the Gardai. Which nobody seems to want to do. Even though the UK and Australia have already proven this by banning firearms from private ownership and then seeing that have absolutely no effect on the gun crime rate; and then funding their police to prosecute criminals using guns and seen the rate fall.

            It’s that last bit I don’t get. We have a proven solution, we know it works, we’ve seen it work, we know it works here because for a while (remember Operation Anvil?) we tried it.

            But nobody in the Dail is suggesting it as the solution to the problem!

          3. Don Pidgeoni

            1) Audit the database, not the data. The data is correct (well, assuming all events are recorded) but their storage (the database) is not. Still a lot of guns and that can’t be denied or blamed on the data

            3) As I said, I agree the policy direction may be completely wrong but those facts are what the police are dealing with, with pressure from all sides and they are probably smart enough to know they aren’t going to get more money are they? Not with the HSE crumbling down around people’s ears and everything else you have to pay for while paying off the banks. Any counter-policy needs to be clearly addressing that by doing things like referring to other countries experiences (which hopefully someone has done)

          4. Mark Dennehy

            (1) How can you be sure that the data is correct if the database is broken? Answer: you can’t. That’s not even opinion, that’s just how it is (seriously, it’s a software engineering thing).

            (3) I don’t agree – and if you’re right, you’re saying the Gardai are proposing a course of action they know will not work, on the grounds of public safety. That would be heinous.

          5. Don Pidgeoni

            True, but again thats the database, not the data

            Anyway, the data isn’t saying what you think it is.

          6. Don Pidgeoni

            Wait, so first the data was presented wrong from PULSE and now the data itself is wrong? Those are two different issues.

            This is getting a bit repetitive now – the data still shows that a lot of guns have been stolen. You disagree with how the police choose to tackle that.

          7. Mark Dennehy

            Give you an example Don – an airsoft pistol is nicked. Guy bought it on Mary street for nearly a hundred quid, so he’s annoyed it’s nicked and reports it. Garda puts down “stolen airsoft pistol” in his notes. PULSE records it as “stolen air pistol” because there’s no “stolen airsoft pistol” category and we hacked the garda training fund so badly that not every Garda knows that airsoft pistols are not legally firearms since 2006.

            Four years later, that stolen airsoft pistol shows up in the national statistics as a stolen air pistol and we think another firearm’s been stolen when it hasn’t.

            This is what I mean about a broken database corrupting the data.
            I’m saying, we’re seeing that kind of thing in this data, and we need to audit it before we can trust it. When we can trust it, let’s talk about the problems it’s seeing and how best to fix them. But the current proposals based off this flawed data aren’t talking about things like more Gardai or more funding or higher mandatory minimums for security or higher penalties for stealing firearms (or even introducing theft of a firearm as a seperate offence – right now, steal a firearm, steal a box of corn flakes, same legal offence). Instead they are explicitly only looking to ban firearms that are used in sport. That’s not a good way to approach this.

  3. Drogg

    It wouldn’t be hard to set up a committee to monitor these things while also updating the licensing structures and training required I gain one. The problem is the people in the Dail are more interested in making political hay off sensationalist headlines then actually doing anything productive.

  4. cosine_beag

    Any chance of pastebin-ing the data?
    I presume its doesn’t have personal details attached (given we aren’t aware of from whom the fully automatic rifle was stolen).

  5. Jack Ascinine

    Asking a politician and the media to use accurate figures based on reality and in the proper context is like asking to see a leprechaun riding a unicorn down Grafton Street. Both use the data to suit their needs.

    Good work all the same on your part Mark.

  6. Just sayin'

    Sorry Mark, I still don’t feel you should have the right to own a gun. The Dunblane and Hungerford massacres were both carried out by people with gun licences and legally held firearms. I’m glad we have tight laws here and won’t object if they’re made a little tighter. Go play with something else.

      1. Casey

        Ban planes and people from owning planes. Problem solved.

        Do I have to do ALL the work around here????

        1. Joe the Lion

          Ban mountains and people from climbing them
          Indeed, ban people

          They are a right shower of bastards

    1. fulladapipes

      He wasn’t arguing about the right to have a gun. He was saying the figures are misleading and wrong.

      As are your cheap references to Dunblane and Hungerford.

    2. Mark Dennehy

      Nobody in Ireland has a right to own a gun. And nobody’s looking for one either. The proposals have nothing to do with legal rights. They are specifically and explicitly only concerned with licencing firearms which are used in sport.

      Also, you might remember how in Dunblane, every shooting club Hamilton was a member of had kicked him out; the local police had caught him breaking the firearms act in 1976 and had been investigating him several times over the intervening years; and after being sent to interview him to gauge his suitability to own a firearm, Detective Sergeant Paul Hughes put in a written report “I am firmly of the opinion that Hamilton is an unsavoury character and an unstable personality. … I would contend that Mr. Hamilton will be a risk to children whenever he has access to them and that he appears to me to be an unsuitable person to possess a firearms certificate in view of the number of occasions he has come to the adverse attention of the police and his apparent instability. … I respectfully request that serious consideration is given to withdrawing this man’s firearms certificate as a precautionary measure as it is my opinion that he is a scheming, devious and deceitful individual who is not to be trusted.”

      Instead the Scottish police renewed Hamilton’s licence (even though one phone call to the club he listed on the application form would have revealed he was being kicked out of that club and had thus lied on the form, which is an offence in and of itself). A year later, the Dunblane shootings happened and in response, the Scottish police had all police files on this topic sealed for a century under the Official Secrets Act, something not overturned until 2005.

      The details are kindof important in cases like that.

      If you want to learn a simple lesson from there for here, learn this one: firearms legislation is only as effective as the people who enforce it (and that includes both the police and the shooting clubs both in Scotland and in Ireland).

      1. Hashtag Diversity

        “Nobody in Ireland has the right to own a gun.” That is untrue. You don’t know what you are talking about.

        The most interesting question that DOESN’T “pop up”: Why should there be such ludicrous restrictions on rifles and handguns in a democracy?

        The citizens should have a right to bear arms. Put THAT to a referendum and it will sail through.

        1. Mark Dennehy

          No, we really don’t have a right to have a firearm. Go read the constitution if you don’t believe me, the Garden, the Minister and judges in the District, High and Supreme Courts.

    3. Jack Ascinine

      Not everyone is a spineless metrosexual paper reader. There is still a requirement for a few men to remain in the world to ensure breeding and manliness. You probably think trees scream too when chopped down but think the guy with the beard chopping it down is very hip.

  7. sickofallthisbs

    YAWN. Move to America and join your redneck reprobate cousins shooting stuff and ‘gitten her done, Skeet’.

  8. Markus

    In the same way you are alleging that they are misrepresenting data for their own purposes you too are doing the same to push your agenda.

    Even when you exclude your numbers almost 1,400 guns were stolen. I would also dispute your discounting of imitation and replica firearms. These are often used in serious crimes and, save for their inability to inflict physical injury, often have the desired impact from the point of view of intimidating and terrorising.

    Finally how would you classify ammunition?

    1. Spartacus

      “Almost one firearm was stolen in Ireland every day in the past five years, according to Garda figures seen by RTÉ News.

      Over 1,700 weapons were reported stolen to An Garda Síochána from 2010 to 2014.”

      You don’t see any discrepancy there? You don’t think it matters that the information laid before the Oireachtas by the police is blatantly dishonest and misleading?

    2. fulladapipes

      Ammunition is defined and limited on your gun licence depending on what the local Superintendent thinks is appropriate.

      A lot of guns stolen come from break ins to licenced firearms dealers, which skew the figures as you can have a 100 being stolen in one robbery. Many of these get found again though, as it’s hard to deal with 100 guns at once. Apparently.

    3. Mark Dennehy

      I’m not saying they’re lying thanks. I’m saying the data is wrong and we’re basing new legislation on it.
      (And that’s what I put in my submissions to the Joint Committee and the Department, this isn’t something I’ve not been saying for a while now).

      As to the others, read the start of the last paragraph again:

      I’ll be the first to admit that the number of what we think of “guns” that have been stolen is a cause for concern (though strangely, none of proposals the Gardai have made recently have addressed minimum security standards at all).

      Also, if you point a stick at someone during a robbery and tell them it’s a firearm and they don’t know otherwise, the law treats that as though you had used an actual, loaded gun during the robbery. That’s right and proper. But you don’t count the stick amongst a national statistic on stolen firearms. Because to do that would just be silly. This is a statistic about things being stolen, not things being used to commit a crime.

      Lastly, ammunition is classed separately from firearms in the law (because a gun that shoots guns is a heavy metal album cover, not legislation).

    1. Mark Dennehy

      Infographic? My secondary school maths teacher must be crying in a corner with his head in his hands.

      The source for the pie chart was given above, but because the post had links in it, it’s in the moderation queue. Take a peek back during the day, I gave both a link to the original Dail written question and the spreadsheet looking at that data.

    1. Mark Dennehy

      I would, but those little balls are bloody hard to hit and some sod keeps walking up and whacking them with a stick.

      Also, club membership fees of twenty grand? Do I look like I own a mansion on Vico road?

        1. Mark Dennehy

          But I don’t want to kill stuff. I want to shoot in the Olympics at paper targets (well, they’re computerised electronics these days, but still).

          1. Mikeyfex

            Mark, what do you say to the theory that the computerised electronics are just biding their time to rebel? And we should have just stuck with paper targets?

            You’re probably toolin’ up, right?

          2. Brock Landers

            “But I don’t want to kill stuff.”

            Yeah right, that’s what all you gun nuts say. Just before you kill stuff.

          1. Don Pidgeoni

            Data and database aren’t the same thing. The data can be right but in a poorly designed database which lumps things together than maybe shouldn’t be considered the same, which is what the graph is pointing out.

            So PULSE collects helpful data but is badly designed meaning that data is hard to get out of the database in meaningful formats

          2. Mark Dennehy

            Don, it’s not possible to have a broken database and still have good data – you just can’t ever trust that a bad database hasn’t distorted the data it stores and so you can’t trust the data without auditing it.

          3. Mark Dennehy

            Don, I’ll give you an example; the data says that 266 rounds of ammunition were stolen in 105 seperate instances over the four years. But the software engineer in me (who works with and builds databases for a living) is reasonably sure that where the data says “count”, it’s saying that in that district, for that year, ammunition was listed as stolen on X seperate occasions and the total amount stolen wasn’t noted. So we might not know how much ammunition has been stolen. And we can’t tell from the data.

            And yes, this could also mean that when it says 1 firearm was stolen, it just means that there was one report; not necessarily one actual firearm. So we might have no idea whatsoever of what’s been stolen.

            And we can’t tell from the data that’s been released.

            You see what I mean now?

          4. Don Pidgeoni

            Urr, yeah it is. A database can be so massively bollicked that the data is all over the shop but if the data is recorded as it should be (ie that it is right, not that the categories are right because thats the database not the data), then the data is fine. How it is stored is what is wrong.

            Auditing the data is a separate point about whether the crimes are even being recorded (see basically every police force ever for rape/sexual assault)

          5. Mark Dennehy

            Ah, so when you say “data” you actually mean the original notes held by the Gardai before they were entered into PULSE?

            Well, okay, but five years on, that might be somewhat problematic to audit. Especially with the number of Gardai who have left the force in the last few years…

          6. Don Pidgeoni

            It shouldn’t be, isn’t the legal requirement for public records to be kept for at least 10 years?? Because thats a whole other story.

          7. Mark Dennehy

            “Shouldn’t be” and “Is not” aren’t the same thing though :D

            (Seriously, if you keep notes on something, check your notes from five years ago. Can you read the handwriting? If you had been fired and someone else was trying to read your notes, would they get all the information or are your notes a difficult-to-decypher aide-memoire instead of a verbatim transcript of something?)

          8. Mark Dennehy

            And the figures released to the Dail in written questions “should” be accurate.
            Ideally, there wouldn’t be an issue.
            And ideally, we wouldn’t be counting toy guns and stage props as real guns when telling people about stolen firearms.

      1. Jonotti

        Of course you’re well known on broadsheet for your campaign against poorly intrepeted data and not for your views on gun onwenership.

      2. Hashtag Diversity

        Why not provide the “raw data” and cite where you got it from? We can all do our own charts in Excel…

        WTF is an “infodump”?

        1. Mark Dennehy

          +200,436 as of December 2014

          But to be fair, at 4.3 firearms per 100 people, we do have the fourth lowest firearms ownership rate in the EU (which has an average of 17.6). You have to go to former USSR satellite states to find lower firearms ownership in Europe.

  9. Just sayin'

    Aside from the few gun nuts, the people of Ireland are happy with our strict gun laws. Competitive shooting in Ireland is the sport of such a tiny, tiny minority, that its clear that the greater societal good is for fewer guns.
    I also have a problem with gun ownership amongst farmers. Speaking from personal experience, there are far too many farmers leaving shotguns unsecure beside ammunition in farmhouses in Ireland.
    The import of illegal firearms is a dreadful thing, but it is also a separate issue and not used as a distraction from this issue.

    1. Mark Dennehy

      Just to ask – you do know that those “gun nuts” (seriously, are they macadamia? I’m a bit hungry, I skipped breakfast) are the ones who’ve been helping to write the gun laws in Ireland? Mainly so that there’d be someone in the legislative process who actually knew what a firearm was outside of the army (where you shoot at people) or hollywood (where guns are magical unicorns).

      And I know you think our firearms laws are tight but did you know that they’re not only the tightest in Europe, but are a contender for tightest in the world?

      And yes, you’re right, our gun crime levels are skyrocketing. It’s almost like drug gangs are smuggling firearms into the country along with their drugs. But no, let’s not think about that, let’s make a sport illegal after it’s been going for 165 years in Ireland without a problem. That’ll solve our gun crime issues!

      Or…
      …could it be…
      …no, that’d be silly…
      …but still, you have to ask…
      …would you be trolling at all?

      1. Jonotti

        Maybe take up another sport that doesn’t have murderous potential. Darts should satisfy you.

        “blahh darts can be used as weapons etc”

        1. Mark Dennehy

          Dude, darts has a far far higher injury rate than shooting does.
          Seriously, people sell sharp heavy pointed things designed to be thrown as if kids never throw things at other kids. It’s a disgrace Joe, I tell ye….

          I mean, seriously – the americans banned the outdoor version. THE AMERICANS. Who happily buy each other AR-15s before they can legally buy each other a pint. And *THEY* thought darts was a bit too dangerous.

  10. Custo

    I’d say that they listed Rounds of Ammunition, Replica guns, telescopic sights etc because as they have been stolen and are now in the hands of criminals, that they might be used in conjunction with real guns to kill or terrorise people by the CRIMINALS WHO POSESS THEM.

    1. Mark Dennehy

      Hey, if they had listed them like that, I’d be cool with it.
      Except they didn’t; they listed them as stolen firearms.
      And when you see a dozen toy guns and two dozen safes listed as stolen firearms, you have to ask if the rest of the data is accurate. Not vindictively, but just audit it to be sure. That’s only reasonable behaviour when you see glaring errors in some of the data.

      1. Markus

        How does the recording of the number of safes stolen call in to question the accuracy of the number of guns stolen. if anything the wide number of classifications would suggest a higher likelihood of data accuracy.

        I don’t disagree that the database is not necessarily accurate but nothing in your information suggests inaccurate data

        1. ReproBertie

          Because counting a stolen gunsafe as a stolen gun makes the idea that the data on gun theft is accurate nonsensical.

          1. Mark Dennehy

            Because if 20% of the data is one large error, trusting the other 80% is an act of faith that you have no justification for.

            For example, it lists 44 air pistols as having been stolen. But they’re only licencable for target shooting and 44 air pistols would represent every shooter in the pentathlon and over half those in the olympic shooting having their firearm stolen. We would have noticed something that large. So we wonder, has someone miscategorised an airsoft pistol as an air pistol? Or do we have duplicated data?

            Or – and this raises another question – is someone counting an air pistol bought in the UK where they don’t need a licence and then brought in here illegally? Because there are tazers, pepper spray, a fully automatic rifle and a grenade on that list too, and those are not legal to own in Ireland, so are we listing stolen illegally held property?

            So yeah, the data has a lot of question marks over it. Audit it, then base new laws on it.

        2. Ger fitz

          Markus, your point would be fine, except that the number of safes stolen are counted as firearms stolen.

          If you are talking about the number of motorcycles stolen, is it accurate to add the number of helmets stolen to the figure?

          1. Markus

            no but recording the number of helmets stolen does not mean the number of motorcycles stolen is incorrect

          2. ReproBertie

            Ok Markus, to continue the motorcycle analogy consider this.

            The gardaí say 52 motorcycles were stolen and the media talk about one motorcycle being stolen every week.

            Of those 52 motorcycles it emerges that 15 were Hondas, 12 were Suzukis, 3 were Yamahas and 22 were motorcycle helmets.

            Does that mean the claim that 52 motorcycles were stolen is accurate?

          3. Markus

            the point I was disputing was the ability to rely on the other figures in that one figure wasn’t a firearm

          4. ReproBertie

            Right, I think I get what you’re saying but I think Mark has answered it in his analysis of the reported number of stolen air pistols reported.

        3. Tidy Dave

          What you’re saying about a wider classification range suggesting a higher likelihood of data accuracy sounds good at first, but when you consider that there are items in the data which are misclassified as firearms and that these were misclassified by the same people who are expected to classify data further – how can you be sure that they’ve classified it correctly? Statistically, based on their earlier misclassification, you’d have to admit that they are more likely to misclassify again. I agree with Mark that auditing is the only way to determine the quality of the data.

          1. Ger fitz

            Markus, I see your point.
            Consider this, though: senior Gardai say 1700 people are killed by motorbikes in the last 4 years. It is proposed to ban motorbikes over 500cc as they pose a greater threat to the general public and motorbike users. Motorbikes serve no useful purpose in society and they do nothing that cannot be done using safer modes of transport.
            BUT a detailed analysis of the data says that 483 injuries were recorded as deaths.
            AND 77 of the 1217 remaining were caused by bikes over 500cc.
            PLUS all the deaths were caused by unregistered bikes and no registered bikes were involved in fatalities in the same period.

            Does that look like a considered proposal to solve the problem?

    1. Mark Dennehy

      Well the point is “Can we trust the data”, so you’re right, the point isn’t changed.
      Mind you, if you can write off 700 firearms just like that, I think perhaps you’re not taking this very seriously.

      1. Jonotti

        Do you have a gun licence. I’d like to object to your local superintendent as you seem dangerously attached to guns.

        1. Mark Dennehy

          I have three (it’s hard to represent your country internationally in an Olympic sport without them), and so far four Garda Superintendents disagree with your assessment.

          1. Joe the Lion

            He’s a fupping idiot and possibly mental Mark I would not waste any time arguing with the chap

        2. Ger fitz

          Jonotti, I’m sure you have hobbies and interests. If your hobby was smoking marijuana, I would object because it’s illegal, but if you liked motorbikes, I would say fine, despite several of my friends and relations having been killed by motorbikes.

          Perception vs reality, anyone?

        3. eamon

          @ Jonoti,

          Are you saying that Mark is someone who should not be trusted with firearms ? Is that why you wish to complain to his local super ?

  11. Anthony

    For those who suggest we take up another sport,I have yet to see during any shooting competition here, competitors assaulting each other, I have yet to see range officials being mobbed by angry participants, spectators shouting verbal abuse, spectators attacking officials, officials needing a Garda escort off ranges. I have never heard of a range official being attacked in his car as they leave the range. Different ranges are able to meet up after competitions and enjoy a beer without there being punch ups or mass brawls. I have never heard of compeditors stamping on someone’s head during a shooting match. Target clubs don’t have supporters who meet up to knock seven shades of shite out of each other. Target shooting have never had to create a sideline silence rule to prevent abuse from parents towards officials or their kids.
    In fact all I have ever seen is target shooters share their gear with other compeditors, go out of their way to help other club members in bother and give up their toe across te to help novice shooters. So you can keep your “safer” sports I will stick to shooting ad on a whole it is far safer and less violent then sports ye encourage our kids to take part in.

      1. Joe the Lion

        I enjoy your posts Mark even if I don’t share your passion for this particular hobby. I hope that your campaign is a success

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