The Guinness Book of World Records regards itself as “the ultimate authority in record breaking achievements.” Started by Hugh Beaver, the managing director of the Guinness brewery during the 50s, it’s purpose was to settle disputes that arise in pubs, and perhaps to give drinkers something else to contemplate other than his name after knocking back a few pints of his product.
Interestingly—for a reason that will be clear in a moment—Beaver came up with the idea while attending a shooting party in County Wexford, Ireland and finding himself in a discussion—that’s what my Irish ancestors call it, discussion—over what game bird is the fastest in Europe. As no answers were provided by the standard reference works, he decided to fill the void and asked the McWhirter brothers to go in search of the facts. According to the Guinness World Records, the editions of their book are among the all-time best sellers, and they should know.
Except there are some things that they choose not to know. Or at least choose not to validate. One example of this is the 1,000 Man Shoot held recently in Phoenix. The event, hosted at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility, involved a thousand participants simultaneously firing rounds through Henry Golden Boy Silver .22 caliber rifles in celebration of the Second Amendment. And probably to promote the modern edition of a famous early repeater design.
The original Henry rifle is at the heart of America’s gun making and had a role in one of our definitive conflicts, the Civil War. In the south, it was called “that damned Yankee rifle that you load on Sunday and shoot all week.” As such, the Henry is a good symbol for our national effort to preserve the Union and end the abomination of slavery. And while the .45—whether the revolver or the semiautomatic round—is a strong contender for the American cartridge, the .22 Long Rifle is what we shoot when we’re just having fun, and if the thought of a lever-action .22 doesn’t make you giddy, we won’t get along spiritually.
Guinness World Records has released a statement about their choice to decline validating the event as the largest of its kind:
Guinness World Records recently received an application from the National Rifle Association regarding an event that took place earlier this month at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility in Phoenix, Arizona.
Guinness World Records does not monitor mass participation records that, each time the record is broken, increase the danger posed to the general public or environment. As the activity proposed by the NRA is not one we feel can be safely monitored on a global basis, we unfortunately are unable to recognize it as a record.
The organization does recognize some shooting events, so this may not be what seems to be foreign sneering at America’s gun culture. And it’s probably true that the authorities in many nations would worry about their citizens gathering in groups to remind their governments that power comes from the people. So perhaps Guinness World Records is merely being practical.
Gun rights are exactly a statement about who is in charge, and we here will know the truth. Guinness is still better than a lot of industrial beer made in this country, so buy everyone a round, but have no doubt that a thousand among us shot together to set a record and to celebrate who we are.
The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the position of Guns.com.