Every three years, it costs USPSA over $100,000 to be a region of IPSC, including some World Shoot expenses. The only benefit that USPSA enjoys is passage to IPSC events held outside the United States. The benefits of this arrangement are enjoyed annually by about 15 USPSA members, and every three years by about 60 USPSA members when there is a World Shoot. When the World Shoot is held in less stable and attractive countries, fewer American athletes are interested in going. That means that over 27,000 of our members pay for the privileges of only a few to enjoy IPSC. There is no agreement, accord, or binding document in force between the two organizations.
The relationship between IPSC and USPSA has been a volatile one since before our inception in 1983. Recently, the relationship has continued to be one of controversy and volatility around the globe. I am personally acquainted with a few of the founders of IPSC who are still alive. These are the same founders of USPSA, and IDPA as well. I am also acquainted with the past presidents of USPSA, who enjoyed the same “welcome letter” that I received in January from IPSC.
I am 100% certain that practical shooting wasn’t organized in Columbia, Missouri in 1976 by Colonel Jeff Cooper to become a political monarchy controlled by a triumvirate of three people who control and influence over 90 regions, and their proxy votes. These three gentlemen make up the IPSC Executive Council. Many of these regions only have a few shooters, and they are often the elite, wealthy, and protected class in their respective countries.
The US region is one of the largest regions, but with the same vote and voice as the smallest ones, that is how a confederation works. We pay our annual member dues (over $10,000) based on the number of members we have, just like the smaller ones pay on their low membership numbers.
Just a few days ago, the IPSC General Assembly met in Hungary. I was not able to attend, as my predecessor had scheduled the USPSA Limited, Open, and Limited 10 National Championships for the same dates that IPSC had scheduled the General Assembly in Europe. I am unsure which was scheduled first. Feeling the need to do my duty as USPSA President and IPSC Regional Director, I sent a delegate ambassador to the General Assembly to attend, speak, and vote on behalf of the US Region, while I hosted the Nationals in Frostproof, Florida.
Three particular resolutions were passed at the General Assembly which are of interest to USPSA. Only the US Region voted “no” on these resolutions, and they passed with all other regions voting “yes” either in person, or by proxy. You can read the excerpts below:
Article 5.9 The Executive Council may, by unanimous vote, suspend the affiliation of any Regional Directorate for failure to respect the Principles of Practical Shooting, or for defalcation or mismanagement of the affairs of its Region, or for misrepresentation of or failure to represent the interests of Practical Shooters residing therein, or for any action deemed harmful to another region or to the confederation as a whole. Such suspension must be ratified by a majority of votes cast at the next ensuing Assembly. The Assembly may, on recommendation of Executive Council and by a majority of three-fourths of the votes cast, expel a Regional Directorate for the reasons aforementioned, whereupon the Region shall be declared vacant.
That the following text replace the existing text in Rule 188.8.131.52. all rulebooks: In any case, match organizers must not accept any competitor or Match Official from another Region unless the Regional Director of that Region has confirmed the competitor's or Match Official's eligibility to participate in the subject match, and that the competitor or Match Official is not under sanction from the IPSC Executive Council.
Rule 6.1.7 A Region affiliated to IPSC cannot actively or passively sanction a shooting match of any type or format within the geographical boundaries of another region without the advance and written approval of the Regional Director of the region where the match is to be held. A Region in violation is subject to Article 5.9 of the IPSC Constitution.
It is with the deepest concern for competitors or match officials who are interested in representing the United States in the next IPSC World Shoot, or any IPSC competition, that I issue the following travel warning:
It is likely that the United States Region of IPSC will be sanctioned by the Executive Council for allowing one of our pre-existing 14 foreign clubs to host matches under USPSA Rules in the Philippines. Note that about 20 other countries have asked to do the same, and pay fees and affiliate, but that I have not allowed this to happen, to date. USPSA leadership has not been interested in pursuing the global practical shooting market, but we have not enforced a moratorium on the free market, either.
In January 2016, the USPSA Board of Directors unanimously confirmed the USPSA President’s full authority over this matter, and supported the decision to act in a sovereign manner regarding USPSA. The Board was fully aware that this would be a tumultuous situation, and agreed that USPSA would not deny access to practical shooting. I notified a member of the IPSC Executive Council of this decision, and was told that the Council would deliberate on this matter, as both he and I expected.
The USPSA Mission Statement is:
Our mission is to promote safe, fair and fun participation in Practical Shooting competition, for members of all ages and skill levels, through effective leadership, education, communication and administration.
Our Strategic Initiatives are:
• Grow the USPSA Brand
• Grow the membership
• Return clear value to our members
• Educate our membership in all facets, at all levels
• Raise positive public awareness about our sport
• Develop clear, unambiguous rules and policies
• Re-establish involvement as a fundamental aspect of our sport
• Reclaim our roots for the next generation
• Develop new forms of practical shooting competition
• Actively pursue Junior involvement
• Drive consistency through every level of the organization
• Deliver our services better, faster, cheaper
• Give our customers more than they expect
• This is OUR organization
Even if USPSA were to agree to not actively sanction USPSA matches outside of the US, it leaves us with two issues:
It seems unreasonable, at best, that we would be used as political pawns to control practical shooting in other countries. Athletes shooting matches using USPSA rules in the Philippines are reported to have been banned from IPSC matches there. To support the recent IPSC changes, is to be forced to deny the very principles on which both organizations were founded.
As USPSA President, I will continue to do what is best for USPSA as a whole, which includes not supporting special interests of the elite few. A few of you want to go to France in 2017, at any cost, it seems. Consider that the future of the organization is more important than any one competition, vacation, or competitor. Also consider that USPSA could literally field, fund, and transport 60 athletes to France for the 2017 World Shoot, and be sanctioned and disqualified on the first day of the General Assembly while in France. There are difficult, international legal issues that could arise from trying to exit France with firearms that no longer have a sporting purpose for being there. I am certain that I will inflate some egos, but IPSC is very powerful politically, and could cause serious problems for USPSA athletes in other countries.
While I don’t personally know the gentlemen involved in the IPSC Executive Council, I cannot trust our future, financially, or otherwise to anything other than the wording of the above resolutions. These resolutions are clear that there is no power, or trust, in this situation.
It is rumored that IPSC will start their own IPSC Region in the US, should USPSA no longer be affiliated with IPSC. I do not oppose this idea, in fact, I welcome it. It would give athletes the ability to choose the sport that is right for them, and create more opportunities for international competition. Many of our athletes belong to multiple shooting sports organizations, already. I wish IPSC the absolute best.
Diligentia, Vis, Celeritas!
IPSC Regional Director