The Nationals and National Defense - Quo Vadis? by Bruce C. Woodford
This is a tale of how the government & military used to support firearms competitions. It is also the tale of how said government & military have been withdrawing their support.
From the first part:
"The National Matches as created by Congress in 1903 and as sponsored by the former Director of Civilian Marksmanship (the DCM before it became politically incorrect) enjoyed the support of all the Service branches, several Arsenals, and the public at large. The intent of the Matches was dual; to recognize outstanding shooters using the Service Arms, and provide a platform to train civilians in the use of said Service Arms via the Small Arms Firing Schools. As a side benefit were the gatherings and discussions that led to improved teaching methods and improved equipment. It was a real shooting fraternity, if you can imagine that, dedicated to improving marksmanship skills. Throughout history and up until the late 60's the Matches and support for them grew and grew."
From the second part:
"...Then a few years ago some anti-gun elected officials tried to do away with the DCM completely. Only by good fortune and pressure being applied by some pro-gun folks, Congress re-wrote the old law pertaining to the DCM. By act of public law the CMP was created, a self supporting, not for profit, private corporation - one of our last areas of marksmanship support. I wouldn't consider it a real secure bastion either...
Current doctrine in the Army de-emphasizes the need for skilled marksman. There is a move afoot to do away with annual qualification for all those not holding a combat MOS, or Military Occupational Specialty. Statements have been made by Generals that shooting is kind of like riding a bike, once you've done it you never forget. The thought is that everyone receives basic marksmanship training when the enter the Army. If you end up in a non-combat job, you've had all the marksmanship training you need."
It's the education, stupid! If a populace is educated in the use of arms & the necessity of them they will be much more formidable if forced to resort to those arms.
I feel there's a 3 part equation necessary for a people to remain free when confronted with a tyrannical or generally oppressive government. A people needs the Means, Knowledge & Will to Resist. A properly educated should have the Knowledge. This should also go a ways towards imparting the Will. & if these two things are in place then they will guard the Means jealously.
What is happening here is an effort to eliminate the education necessary to support the desired result of the equation: a free people. By downplaying & eliminating organized shooting sports it sends a message that it is no longer necessary to be concerned with those things. It cuts off a valuable supply line of information & experience.
What we need to do is to encourage as many as possible to try some of these shooting sports, such as High Power Rifle. By getting people involved we do two things: create a self interest in the preservation of our Right to Arms & form a solid base of trained individuals should we ever have to defend our Right to Arms or any other Right from foreign or domestic enemies.
This is why Fred of Fred's M14 Stocks takes out a two page ad in every issue of the Shotgun News: one to promote his wares, the other to encourage people to become Riflemen.
This is why Kim du Toit is trying to turn this country back into A Nation of Riflemen with initiatives such as National Ammo Day.
This is why several people are offering free instruction to those who want to learn how to shoot but never had anyone to teach them.
This is why several bloggers have set up a group blog called The Shooters' Carnival in order to educate people, especially those with no experience, as to how to properly & safely operate & generally own firearms.
So I would encourage all those who are curious to check the resources provided to you. Get involved in shooting. It doesn't have to be in a competition or an organized match, but it helps to at least know how those matches are shot & what rules are followed.
If you already participate then I encourage you to get a friend hooked on shooting.
& if you read the above & still think you've got plenty of time, especially with the Republicans in control of things, I offer you this & this. They're both press releases by the VPC encouraging support for not just a continuation of the current Assault Weapons Ban, but a strengthening of it. President Bush supports renewing the Assault Weapons Ban at least in its current form but possibly in the strengthened version & that strengthened version has 100 co-sponsors in the House.
So take a friend to the range. Get him/her started in competitive shooting. We need as many gun owners & users who will vote to protect & restore our Right to Arms right damn now. & all too soon we may need as many friends as possible with us in the foxholes.