• Porn stars: A gun control advocate says images in hunting magazines lead to juvenile crime.
    Porn stars: A gun control advocate says images in hunting magazines lead to juvenile crime.
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A British academic and gun-control proponent has called for hunting magazines to be banned from under-18s because they present “shooting porn” that encourages crime.

“It seems imperative that shooting magazines celebrating the casual cruelty of shooting wild animals – a kind of ‘shooting porn’ – should not be on sale to children and young people under 18,” Professor Peter Squires said.

He also said it would be “appropriate” to ban shooting organisations from promoting the sport to youth.

Squires wants the magazine ban in place because of the misuse of air rifles in places like housing estates, where pets are sometimes shot.

Housing estates in some parts of Britain are frequently areas where violence, thefts, drug use and other crimes. These are signs of social disruption.

Squires lays the blame on hunting magazines, which he accuses of “celebrating the very same ‘casual cruelty’ of shooting wild animals”.

But his argument ignores the fact that magazines – as well as shooting organisations all over the world – provide a crucial guide to hunting ethics, humane behaviour and skills improvement.

Squires dismisses the positive messages and imagery associated with shooting sports and paints a picture of criminality and sadism.

His selective interpretation of animal cruelty is no surprise, given that he made his comments in an article for the UK’s Animal Aid, an organisation that actively opposes hunting and was one of the groups that protested against the use of animals in the London Olympics opening ceremony.

Squires has been campaigning against under-18s being involved in shooting since he was a member of the Gun Control Network following the Dunblane massacre in the 1990s.

Interviewed in a report called Young Blood for Animal Aid in 2001, he cast doubt on the self-discipline, care and responsibility engendered in children by the shooting sports.

The author of that report also criticised gun magazines, saying the gun lobby was “selling their message through glossy periodicals that portray an image of wealth and stately homes, or through downmarket outlets that more honestly glorify the bloodlust of those who enjoy slaughtering wildlife”.

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