Irish Shooting Politics

March 27, 2009

Constitutions and focus

Filed under: Politics — Mark Dennehy @ 3:41 pm

On the topic of the draft constitution which was mentioned in passing earlier, I am reluctant to comment on a draft document whose contents may be changed at a whim and with no public notification, and as such I will not be posting a copy on this site as yet nor offering any detailed comments or analysis; but I will offer the following comment for general consumption.

It is generally wise for a newly formed body to understand its purpose and to have a degree of focus towards that purpose.A body which attempts to be all things to all people will usually fail to excel at any of those things for all of those people.

As such, a body which seeks to represent the grass roots (though frankly, that role is fulfilled already and has been for some decades now) or to organise them (which, as I noted earlier, is not a well-thought-out approach), should probably pause before limiting its membership to three score and ten.

Likewise, a body intended to take on political lobbying duties should be wary of organising sporting events. In fact any body wishing to avoid being seen as an attempted coup against existing and established representative governing bodies of sport should probably avoid organising any such events, a course which would also serve to prevent any association of a sport with political campaigning. As an modern example of the negative effects of such an association, consider the public image of the shooting sports governed by the NRA in America. These, while enjoying a healthy rate of subscription, have a public image that seems to be unalterably tied to the public perceptions of the NRA-ILA, the NRA’s political lobbying body. For these events in America, this is not always seen as a bad thing, however we are not in America. Were such a thing to happen in Ireland – where we do not have the social norms and legal protections of private firearms ownership which Americans have – we would be in the uniquely undesirable situation where a sport’s governing bodies’ efforts were being directly and adversely affected by the actions of another group of shooters, which those governing bodies would then be forced to act against in the interests of the grass roots shooters.

As to the petty comments which could be made regarding the multitude of small errors in the text (such as the reference to “small firearms” instead of the actual terms “small arms” or “short firearms”); or regarding the multitude of typographical errors; or regarding the complete lack of defined terms; these comments should probably be set aside at this time. Not because this is a draft document – after all, this has been publicly released, and at least one public meeting has been held, so any released document cannot use the word “draft” in lieu of proof-reading – but more in the hope that, should this ill-considered venture progress any further, someone will take it upon themselves to correct this myriad of defects.

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