The largest distributor of magazines in Britain will now require people to show identification to confirm their age to purchase a new category of magazines that will join hard porn as potentially harmful to children: hunting and shooting magazines. After a campaign by animal rights groups, the retailer has agreed to restrict access to such magazines despite the fact that children can hunt and shoot in England.
Even adults will now have to produce identification when a “till prompt” tells the cashier that an illicit magazine is in their cart. So a child can use a shotgun in England at any age but they cannot buy a shooting or hunting magazine.
The new rule was the result of a campaign following the release of a report by Animal Aid, claiming that the “lurid, pro-violence content” of country sports magazines can have a “corrosive, long-lasting effect on impressionable young minds.” The report, “Gunning For Children: How The Gun Lobby Recruits Young Blood,” suggests the treatment of sporting magazines in the same way as pornography for anyone under 18. Of course, they can still buy Batman, Thor, and other comics which depict human on human violence. If the standard is violence, we would have to protect kids from a host of magazines and books ranging from the Harry Potter series to Hunger Games.
Now this is not to say that such a rule could not be used in other countries like a rule that could have a use in Tunisia where the leading children’s magazine “Qawz Quzah,” reportedly has run an edition after the Arab Spring that shows children how to make Molotov cocktails.
The regulations of such choices and tastes are a common element of what has been describes as the “nanny state.” In this case, however, the rule is imposed by a private corporation as opposed to the government. What concerns me is the imposition of such a rule based on one study. I am highly skeptical regarding the suggested cause and effect from reading such magazines. First, this is a broad category of magazines that covers many outdoor recreational stories and pursuits. While many disagree with hunting, many hunters are environmentalists or conservationalists. These magazines often discuss naturalist subjects and safety themes.
What do you think of the rule?