I READ the letter from Sylvia Harwood (Friday, August 6) with very mixed emotions.

While I fully agree that shooting wild swans is not acceptable, I do not agree with her remarks regarding a ban on air rifles.

My husband is 83, learnt to shoot when he did his national service, and is a member of the National Rifle Association. He is a long term member of a local shooting club which is licensed, and legal. He has also shot at Bisley many times.

Over the years my husband has entered, and won, many competitions, both locally and nationally. Many years ago he entered a competition for the Queen’s Cup. Last year, between the lockdowns, he came first in the English National Shooting Competition.

In the same period he also came second in a competition organised by a club in Bideford, Devon.

Everyone who takes part shoots stationary targets. This gives a lot of pleasure to the club members and takes a lot of skill. None of them would spend a second to consider shooting a swan or any other living creature.

Sylvia Harwood says air rifles need to be banned. Why? It is a minute minority of thoughtless, irresponsible, brainless idiots who go round shooting wildlife. We all know it is against the law. Banning air rifles will not stop these people.

How far do we go with the issue of banning certain things? Do the manufacturers stop producing knives so that people stop stabbing other people to death? Sounds stupid, but the principle is the same.

Hopefully the culprits will be caught, but I doubt it, as they only do this sort of thing when they can't be seen.

Christine Luffman

Rotherfield Crescent