British Olympic Pistol Shooters May Train at Home

Here’s an item to help Newshound readers really put the June 26th U.S. Supreme Court District of Columbia vs. Heller ruling in perspective: For the first time since handguns were banned from Great Britain in 1996, the country’s Olympic-hopeful pistol shooters have been granted special permission by the government to train--inside the borders of their home country!

By the way, the 2012 Olympic Games are slated to be held in London. We can only presume the British government will make the same type of broad-minded and tolerant gesture when it comes to the Olympic pistol venue in 2012 and for the world-class shooters attending from foreign countries.

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In case you missed it, the U.S. Supreme Court weighed-in late last month on the right of Americans to not only use pistols for competitive target training, but to own them and keep them in our homes for personal protection.

It’s that Second Amendment thing, doncha’ know?

Since the British handgun ban became effective more than a decade ago, pistol competitors there have been relegated to training facilities located in countries such as Switzerland and Northern Ireland, reports The London Times. The Times story says the ban has contributed to an overall decline in interest and participation in the sport, with the country failing to send a single pistol shooter to an Olympics since the Atlanta Games in 1996, despite the sport having been one of Britain’s strengths in previous years.

No British shooters are scheduled to compete in the pistol events in Beijing this summer.

The British Olympic Association (BOA) welcomed the government’s move.

“The BOA has been working on a campaign to allow pistol shooters to train on British soil for many years now and we’re delighted that the British Government has responded positively,” a BOA spokesman said.

In the past 12 years, the British Government has granted dispensation for handguns only once, during the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester. At that time (get this!) competitors were escorted from Heathrow Airport under armed guard, while armored vehicles transported their guns to the shooting arena. There, spectators watched from behind screens while the shooters were constantly observed by armed authorities.

Makes you proud to be an American, doesn’t it?