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Hoplophobia at WH Smiths

A reader writes:

Dear Mr Englishman -

You may be aware of WH Smith's recently implemented policy of restricting the sale of shooting and country sports magazines to the over 14s, apparently in the mistaken belief that nobody under this age is allowed to possess or use a shotgun or firearm. By declaring the activities of the law abiding and generally peaceable shooting community as unsuitable for minors, they demonstrate a fundamental misunderstanding of the discipline and respect that our sport encourages in young people. They also include the target shooters....how quickly Richard Wilson's Gold medal is forgotten.

It is interesting to note that motoring magazines, including those that encourage acne riddled youths to infest supermarket car parks and race around town centres, are not similarly limited to those over the legal driving age. Nether do they seem too concerned about teaching children to massacre virtual humans by way of computer and console gaming titles. This might lead us to conclude that the campaign by Animal Aid, at best ill-informed and at worst riddled with lies and half truths, has in fact hit the mark and the management of Smiths have swallowed their blathering hook, line and sinker. (On reflection a poor choice of idiom...fishing magazines will no doubt be next)

The chicken nugget generation of our inner cities may have no interest in where their food comes from, but I'll be buggered if my daughter will grow up thinking that meat grows in plastic wrappers and pest control is some kind of adult vice. As she will almost certainly grow up to be a world class shot (she is only just four, but I can see the potential already) I cannot sit back and let a business as significant and influential as WH Smith condemn our sport, our lifestyle as aberrant and something to be hidden away.

May I ask that you use your considerable influence and respect to publicise this issue and perhaps encourage your loyal followers to consider lending their name to this petition: Petition | WHsmiths: Retract Policy on Sale of Shooting Magazines | Change.org


Would it be too hard for an adult to pick up a magazine while buying booze and fags for a thirteen year old?

Booze and fags are illegal for a 13 year old. Participating or even showing an interest in shooting sports is not. I'm not sure what your point is, Doc?

It was supposed to be a joke, Gus, given that many a young person comes by their booze and fags via an adult.

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