Thursday, December 04, 2008

Guinness Records Discontinued Shooting Records in 1981 (Including Annie Oakley)

Trick/Quick Draw Shootist Bob Munden used to display his impressive skills with handguns on an old show called American Shooter that aired on Saturday mornings, on TNT if memory serves correctly. (Apparently reconstituted as a different show called Shooting USA on the Outdoor Channel.)

I went to check out his website recently, and found an interesting footnote at the bottom of one of his pages:
"In 1981, the year most shooting records disappeared from the Guinness Book, I called David Boehm of the Sterling Publishing Company and asked why. He told me that there is a committee that approves books to be used in school libraries across the nation. The committee informed Mr. Boehm that it would only approve the Guinness Book for continued use as a reference book in school libraries if gun records were removed. To protect the Guinness Book from a black list, that's what the publishing company felt it had to do. If you look at recent editions of the Guinness Book of World Records, you will notice that most gun records by shooters using real firearms (not gimmicked with things like light-weight aluminum barrels,) are no longer listed, including those set by the famous Annie Oakley, Ed McGivern, Tom Frye and myself. It is a shame that a small group of people on that education committee, people who probably grew up in cities away from the shooting sports millions of Americans and citizens of many other nations appreciate and enjoy, can have the power to effectively erase history."

With the exception of the Olympics, official shooting records are a thing of the past for Guinness. Funny, last time I picked up one of those World Records books, there were all sorts of records that shouldn't be appropriate for children in a library...

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