Published August 24, 2011
LONDON – London is giving 125,000 lucky schoolchildren tickets for any event at the 2012 Olympics -- except those involving guns.
City officials and organizers of the London 2012 Olympics, fearing a backlash from anti-gun lobbyists, will exclude the 15 shooting events from Mayor Boris Johnson's Ticketshare giveaway, the Evening Standard reports.
"We decided it would not be appropriate," a source told the Evening Standard. "It's the only sport children will not be able to go to as part of the Ticketshare scheme."
The ban is said to be influenced by Johnson's recent attempts to quell teenage gun and knife crimes, the Evening Standard reports.
But the restriction on youths has angered many in the British shooting community, including Olympics competitors.
"This is a chance for children to look at guns in a different way," Commonwealth Games bronze medallist and Olympic pistol hopeful Georgina "Gorgs" Geikie told the Evening Standard. "How do we educate people that it is a sport if they cannot watch it?"
And David Penn, secretary of the British Shooting Sports Council, disputed any connection between the shooting competitions and crime.
"It's like saying that a thief would use a Formula One car as a getaway car," he said.