For Release: Friday, July 23, 1999
IOC Offers Strong Response to Report from Alpers and VPC
The International Olympic Committee released a statement today offering its first official opposition to combat shooting, in response to a report issued Thursday by international firearms researcher Philip Alpers and the Violence Policy Center.
The IOC statement appears to destroy the chances of Olympic status for combat shooting. In addition, it probably scuttles plans for a demonstration event, under the euphemistic name of “practical shooting,” in conjunction with the 2004 Athens Olympics. Boosters of the “shoot-em-up” fantasy game had received a commitment from Greek shooting sports officials to hold such a competition.
“It’s gratifying that the IOC has now stated its opposition to combat shooting unequivocally,” said Alpers, the New Zealand-based editor and moderator of the on-line Gun Policy News. “By exposing this shoot-to-kill game, we have demonstrated that it has no place at the Olympics. The IOC’s decision reflects the international abhorrence of Olympic status for combat shooting.”
The report, Gold Medal Gunslingers, which was coauthored by Alpers and VPC Executive Director Josh Sugarmann, documented efforts by supporters of combat shooting to gain official Olympic status. When interviewed for the report, an IOC official said only, “we will accord them the same consideration as any other applicant.”
Gold Medal Gunslingers also showed how combat shooters hoped Olympic legitimacy would buttress efforts to attract young participants, including a training camp scheduled next week for combat shooters as young as 12 years old in Princeton, Louisiana. The report also discusses how combat shooting helps market the powerful non-sporting weapons used in competitions and undermine gun control laws.
“We may have kept combat shooters out of the Olympics, but their efforts to popularize violent fantasy and combat weaponry will persist elsewhere,” Sugarmann said. “We’ll surely see other attempts to conceal the true nature of combat shooting.”