What is USPSA? Is it a hobby, a sport, or an event? The answer depends largely on who you ask, but USPSA is all three. We are a hobby. Not everyone who competes in USPSA has his or her eye on winning. Many USPSA members continue to show up for the friendship and fellowship that matches at all levels provide. We are also a sport. Our top athletes spend thousands of hours training and preparing for our most prestigious events. To this group, and others who aspire to be part of it, taking the test against the best, and winning, is paramount. We are an event, too. Events are local monthly matches, state or section championships, area championships, or national championships. Members look forward to their next match, and each match seems to have its own identity.
Each level of USPSA competition is commonly referred to as “USPSA”, including local, regional, area, and national matches. However, USPSA operates only a few national championship matches each year, and does not produce, supervise, or operate matches at any other level. All other matches are organized and operated by individual entities that have affiliated with USPSA to use the rules, classification system, and promotional framework that the national organization maintains. USPSA at the national level has only one mission, and that mission is to promote safe, fun, and fair practical shooting.
As President, I have been entrusted with the task of making sure USPSA will be operating far into the future. I am fortunate to have formed a winning team to help ensure that. While I am a friend, competitor, and representative to most of you, as President I will put the long-term interests of USPSA ahead of all else. This often means that my reaction to certain situations or requests may conflict with what I would personally choose, and may not seem like the right thing to you. Our bylaws are clear about USPSA’s objects and purposes:
ARTICLE 3-OBJECTS AND PURPOSES:
The objects and purposes of this corporation shall be
i.) to promote amateur national and international athletic competition,
ii.) to educate the public of the benefits of practical shooting,
iii.) to train Range Officers,
iv.) to set forth rules and regulations for the conduct of practical shooting,
v.) to assist in safely and fairly holding practical shooting contests, and
vi.) to set forth a system under the auspices of the corporation that will train, develop and qualify athletes to represent the United States in international practical shooting competition.
3.1 Direction: In order to accomplish its stated purpose the corporation shall
i.) set forth and publish rules and guidelines for the conduct of practical shooting contests,
ii.) establish a system for classifying competitors within various classes of abilities,
iii.) establish and publish the corporate newsletter, defined herein as Front Sight Magazine,
iv.) establish and direct the National Range Officer Institute, a division of the corporation, to train and certify range officials,
v.) establish a system for qualifying competitors to participate in national championship contests,
vi.) conduct national championship contests annually in order to determine champions and qualify team(s) of competitors to represent the United States in international competition(s), and
vii.) conduct other business and activities to accomplish the purposes of the organization as the Board of Directors may authorize from time-to-time……
3.4 Enfold: It is the intent of the corporation to set forth structures, rules, regulations, and to delineate authority and responsibility in order to unite the United States Region, International Practical Shooting Confederation, the USPSA affiliated clubs and sections, the National Range Officers Institute and such other entities with which the USPSA Board Of Directors may from time to time wish to align the association into a viable and formal relationship with its current and prospective members…..
Affiliated Clubs are autonomous in nature and are specifically allowed to conduct club business according to their own local, State and Federal laws, club bylaws, and/or business practices.
Anything outside these purposes is not the business of USPSA. Any significant activity outside these purposes may jeopardize our tax status, and expose USPSA to legal threats. In the past 18 months, I have been asked to intervene in matters that are beyond the scope of USPSA’s role, including:
Disputes between individual competitors or clubs;
Obligations of the local and area organizations that operate matches;
Past instances of unsportsmanlike conduct at matches other than national championships;
Conduct of individual members or match directors other than national championships;
Private legal matters of members, independent and autonomous affiliates, or property owners;
State or local legislative issues;
Promotion of other shooting sports or charitable organizations.
While some of these things may be important, they are not consistent with the business of USPSA. USPSA as an organization provides rules, a classification system, education for range officers, national championship matches, and a member magazine. USPSA leadership will remain focused on providing ongoing education for range officers, maintaining rules and regulations for matches, and training members. We cannot engage in dispute resolution, legal matters, legislative matters, financial matters, or other concerns that are not within the normal scope of business set forth in our bylaws.
The USPSA Rulebook gives range officers the tools they need to handle situations that arise on the field of play with an emphasis on safe competitions. The National Range Officer Institute can provide educational feedback and support on individual incident reports filed by or against certified range officers. If you feel that your personal safety is threatened as part of the conduct during a match, notify a range officer assigned to the match. If you feel unsafe at any time you may notify law enforcement. If there are issues of unsportsmanlike conduct, immediately notify a match range officer, match range master, or match director so he or she can immediately resolve the issue. USPSA does not have authority over the actions or decisions of independent clubs, property owners, members, or any other individual or entity at any independent match. Also, keep in mind that non-members can shoot USPSA level 1 matches, and USPSA has no recourse for non-member actions.
USPSA will continue to support members and affiliated organizations and to promote safe, fun and fair practical shooting opportunities. I look forward to continuing to see you enjoy the hobby, sport, or event you love, USPSA!
Mike Foley, President