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Pentathlon Policies - Air Pistols & Rule Changes

Shooting Certificates of Competence

Safety first! In an increasingly cautious, risk-averse and litigious world, Modern Pentathlon offers five disciplines, presenting varying levels of risk. The Pentathlon GB Board has recently considered ways of ensuring that risks relating to shooting are reduced to the minimum. The reasons are obvious, but bear reiteration. It is largely a question of luck what an accidentally discharged weapon will hit. If accidental discharges take place, sooner or later the accidental shot in the floor will become an accidental shot to the head, and the consequences, for the victim, for the shooter, for the sport ? both of shooting and Modern Pentathlon - for the club, and overall need no imagination.

Your Board has decided to implement several steps, which will take time but about which you should be aware.

First, it is anomalous that riders have to present a certificate of competence, but shooters do not. Over the next 18 months or so we propose to consult about and introduce a certification process so that every shooter has to present a certificate before being allowed to shoot. The purpose is obvious. We want to encourage and enforce a culture of positive thought for pistol safety and awareness of air pistol legislation. This culture should not be confined to the range. It should apply from the moment any pistol (and any ammunition) is received until the pistol and ammunition are secured. It should apply on and off the range. It should also apply to those who handle and those who are near pistols.

Secondly, we propose that parents who are responsible for carrying and looking after air weapons on behalf of those should countersign any paperwork on behalf of under 18s. Again, the obvious rationale is that it is sensible for parents to become increasingly involved in active consideration of matters of pistol safety and understand the legislation.

Thirdly, it is anomalous that there are different rules applying to shooting. UIPM Rule 2.3.8 states: When the command ?STOP? is given, all pentathletes must stop shooting immediately and place the pistol on the table whereas the MPAGB does not presently require weapons to be placed on the table between shots. With effect from 1 January 2007 the MPAGB proposes to bring this rule in line with the UIPM.

Fourthly, we want to reach out to involve everybody connected with the shooting event to encourage wider safety awareness and wider understanding of air pistol legislation. The well meaning but untrained parent standing with a young pentathlete on the range is a potential hazard. Likewise the enquiring younger brother who wants to see/play with/try a pistol. Likewise the careful modern pentathlete, who is safe on the range, but who thinks that it is in order to leave a pistol unsecured, for instance at home or in a car.

Fifthly, the Board places considerable store on encouraging greater security for weapons. The ideal is to use a safe. A locked cupboard or other inaccessible place is an alternative. Careless storage is completely unacceptable because it increases the risk of unauthorised or under age third party handling.

Sixthly, bear in mind that pistols without ammunition are far less of a risk. Separate storage, or storage overall in a secure environment, is the order of the day.

Lastly, horseplay or practical jokes concerning any type of pistol are completely unacceptable.

Over the next few months the Board proposes to consult about and tighten the processes relating to shooting. These processes need your positive support. Any suggestions, offers of improvements, ideas or reactions should be made known in the first place to your Chief Executive, Peter Hart.

In the meantime please always give positive thought to how you are addressing safety - on and off the range. Safe and enjoyable shooting ?

Tony Temple

30 May 2006
For the Board



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