John Swift chair of Lead Ammunition Group said “Our Group held its first meeting today. There was a constructive exchange of views on working practices that will be needed to carry out the tasks set out in the Group’s terms of reference. The Group was in full agreement with keeping public stakeholders fully informed. This process is still at a very early stage and the Group has a full year before making a progress report to Defra and the FSA. The first step is to look closely at the evidence, conduct a risk assessment before deciding what steps if any need to be taken. The group plans to meet again in a month’s time. You will be able to keep in touch with the work of the Group and express your opinions by means of a Group website shortly to be created.The whole issue of having a group at all, never mind BASC's involvement in it, has been highly contentious. It's split shooting down the middle, and led to some unkind things being said and written. Behind the scenes, shooting's 'old boy network' has gone into overdrive. The feeling seems to be "you're either with us or against us" - with "us" depending on who you're talking to.
All of which leaves journalists like myself in a difficult position. If you try to report the facts honestly and openly, you risk being attacked - whether for 'encouraging a ban' by even mentioning the fact that there are alternatives, being a dinosaur by suggesting that we might resist a ban, or simply 'stirring it up' for one's own perverse personal pleasure (apparently that's what journalists do!).
For what it's worth, and this is purely my personal view, I don't think we'll be shooting lead in 20 years time. Probably not 10 years. And I think we'll all have got used to it and shooting will be strong and healthy regardless. There, that's just lost me a couple of hundred friends for starters!
This is probably the most important issue facing shooting right now, and will be for some time to come. So as a shooting journalist I can't ignore it. I'll do my best to report what's going on honestly and fairly. And when I'm giving a personal opinion I'll make that clear.
So I suppose I shall be annoying those people who think that if we stick our fingers in our ears and go 'La la la' it will all go away. Ah well, you can't please everyone all the time - specially where lead shot is concerned.