COMMENTARY – Vigilance is needed to keep irresponsible rifle users in line

by Mac Olsen

Gun/rifle/shotgun enthusiasts and clubs are hereby put on notice that irresponsible and dangerous use of firearms can result in shooting ranges being shut down.
It’s happening at the Homestead Range at Sibbald Flats in Kananaski Country. This is because a sign for that range has been riddled with bullets and shotgun blasts.
Sun Media’s website had a story about the incident on Nov. 1. It says, “The bullet-riddled result is the closure of a popular Kananaskis rifle-and-shotgun range, after the non-profit group running the public site near Hwy. 68 declared too many shooters as irresponsible and a safety risk to others.
“Our concern is that this (is) not just a few bad apples anymore,” said Bob Richards, president of the Alberta Provincial Rifle Association, which manages the Homestead Range at Sibbald Flats.
“Twenty-five-years ago, it might have been a few bad apples, but this is now a common level of behaviour and it falls below the acceptable level of safety.”
Also in the Sun Media report, the APRA says it will shut the Homestead and its various ranges at the end of the year, citing unsafe use of firearms and the use of landfill junk like toilets and couches for target practice as key to their decision.
“Despite repeated efforts by APRA and responsible shooters to try to keep the ranges a place where all shooters can enjoy themselves, and to manage the antics of those less responsible, the ranges remain the site of a number of behaviours which pose a risk to not only other range users, but other recreational users around the APRA lease,” reads the statement.
Given that this range is shutting down due to some irresponsible gun/rifle/shotgun users, it should be a wakeup call to all ranges across the province and the rest of Canada.
Granted, none of them would condone such behaviour and they would have the perpetrator(s) expelled if they were caught committing such wanton vandalism and destruction.
Of course, this is not the only signage to be vandalized. Over the years, I’ve seen many road and highway signs throughout the Peace Country filled with bullet holes. I’m sure others can recount the same kind of vandalism, too.
But it’s this type of behaviour that gives safe, responsible firearms owners a bad name – and it gives gun control advocates political capital with the federal government. We have to fend off the criticisms and pronouncements by gun control advocates that we’re all alike. Moreover, it would only take a tragedy like an accidental shooting of somebody near a public sign or road sign to inspire a revolt against firearms ownership in Canada.
So, do we really want to see Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reinstate Bill C-68 type legislation because of incidents like this? Do we want all of our unrestricted firearms, once again, requiring mandatory registration with the federal government?
It’s not fear mongering to say that firearms ownership is at risk because of incidents like those at the Homestead Range at Sibbald Flats. It’s incumbent upon safe, responsible firearms owners and clubs to condemn and report the misconduct of the perpetrators, so that we don’t lose our firearms privileges or the shooting ranges.

Share this post