On one of the other threads, forgive me I canít remember which one, it was asked is the SD, now it has 10,000 members, would ever have a voice in politics.
We in my view yes it can.
Both BASC, and I think the CA have used forums in the past to get members on there to lobby, take part in polls, e-mail their MP , MeP, or prospective PCC and so on.
Forums are a great way of getting messages out to an audience, and as so many forums are discipline specific this is a great help.
For example, late on last year there were some very real direct threats to transporting airguns and their component parts in the post, through a couple of the airgun forums as well as e-mails to our airgun members, we managed to elicit a massive response to the royal mail consultation and the initial threat was averted.
Increasingly electronic media, including Twitter, Facebook and forums are becoming more and more important in lobbying.
Also with forums there are thousands of eyes and ears reading papers, web reports, listening to radio that can pick up shooting stories / issues and report them back to the organisations.
Admittedly many of the organisations will use press / media monitoring services to pick up the main stories, but never the less I know we would rather have 100 people tell us about the same story they have seen rather than 100 people assume we already know and not get in touch Ė remember some of the regional media for example will be missed off the monitoring services.
So in my view forums not only have a voice, they have a very important roll in keeping shooting safe.