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Combat shooting sets its sights on the 2004 Olympic Games

Thursday, July 22, 1999

Kia ora, forwarded as part of our work with the Gun Control Coalition ...


New Zealand Researcher Launches Report at National Press Club, Washington DC

RELEASE EMBARGOED UNTIL Thursday, July 22, 1999 10:00 a.m. EDT (1500 GMT)

A campaign to establish combat shooting as a demonstration sport at the 2004 Olympic Games – under the euphemistic name of "practical shooting" – came under fire today from gun control activists around the world. International firearms researcher Philip Alpers chose the Violence Policy Centre in Washington, DC to release a new report and a video which document the true nature of combat shooting. Mr Alpers calls on Olympic officials to deny it official status.

Combat shooting competitions involve fantasy scenarios, with humanoid "bad guy" targets to be shot and similar "hostage" targets to be avoided. The elaborate "courses of fire" feature names like "Carjacked by Gang Members," "Helicopter Raid," and "Save the Bank." Combat shooters begin with a rapid draw from a holster, and are then timed as they run, crawl, and sometimes climb through the course, all while firing at humanoid targets.

The highest scores are given to "head shots" and "heart shots" because of their heightened lethality, with points awarded for speed of shooting as much as for accuracy. The weapons used are large-calibre pistols, assault rifles and riot shotguns. "This is not paintball. These are battlefield weapons with real bullets, and the owners keep them in their homes," says Alpers.

The new report, Gold Medal Gunslingers, was written by Alpers with material from the VPC’s Josh Sugarmann. It exposes the violent fantasy and non-sporting weaponry at the heart of combat shooting – and shows how Olympic approval would subvert the Olympic Charter, help combat shooting attract young competitors, and undermine gun control laws in many countries.

Combat shooting is well established in New Zealand, Australia and the United States. The report and video draw on Alpers’ research in these and other countries, plus interviews in Europe with International Olympic Committee officials and sports administrators.

"Combat shooting is a rehearsal for urban warfare, a violent distortion of traditional target shooting," said Alpers, the New Zealand-based editor and moderator of the on-line Gun Policy News. "Combat shooters fire guns specifically designed for lethal use against humans, but dress them up as wholesome sporting weapons," Alpers said. "Olympic participation would help them carry off this charade. In the United States, New Zealand and elsewhere, they are already chipping away at gun control laws."

The report will be released at simultaneous launches in the United States, Canada, Australia and Western Europe. A videotape of combat shooters in action in the USA and New Zealand is available in both VHS and Betacam SP formats. This shows combat shooting for children, the three-gun shoot, and shooters jumping out of bed or leaping from a restaurant booth to fire at imagined bad guys. Full advance copies are available to accredited news media. After the embargo, "Gold Medal Gunslingers" will be available on the web at

Philip Alpers and the Violence Policy Centre 1140

19th Street, NW, Suite 600 Washington, DC 20036
Voice: (202) 822-8200
Fax: (202) 822-8205

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