Clay shooter Rachel Carrie explains what happened when she took her gun to a hotel in Dundee and staff called the police
By now you’re probably seen the headlines:
Commonwealth Games shooter Rachel Carrie treated ‘like a criminal’ after bringing her shotgun to a Dundee hotel
Commonwealth Games: Shooter quizzed by police
Commonwealth Games shooter is questioned by police after Dundee hotel staff discover shotgun in luggage
In short, Rachel Carrie checked in to the Malmaison hotel in Dundee ahead of the Commonwealth Games. She was staying in a different hotel to the rest of the team because she had been drafted in as a filler competitior.
Staff told her it was illegal to have a shotgun at the hotel and called police.
Rachel Carrie wrote in a Facebook post today:
I think most of you are aware by now of the trouble that I encountered at the Malmaison during my time as an athlete filler in the Commonwealth Games. I think most of the UK are aware actually! Yesterday was a tough day for me as the Daily Mail ran a story which made the headline page on their website. One thing I would like to clear up is the fact that I did not contact the press and despite them contacting several professional organisations and close associates regarding my role at the Commonwealth Games (all of whom gave factual information) they still managed to somewhat sensationlise the matter.
Thankfully the press all read sympathetically in my favour, which I hope is seen as a positive for the shooting community as a whole. The matter happened on Friday evening before my pre-event training at Barry Buddon on Saturday. I did not want to detract from my games experience, I was very lucky to have been asked to play a part and I did not want anything to ruin that experience nor did I want to cloud our shooting athletes successes at the games. I was there supporting and shooting alongside my good friends who went on to win medals and that was far more important to me than my Malmaison experience.
Unfortunately bad news is always better news for the media and they ran my story. Personally I would have rather have seen a national news story about the 22 Commonwealth shooting medals our home nations won but as I said good news never sells as well, it’s the world we live in I’m afraid.
I would also like to address a few lingering questions, inconsistencies and points here in one fowl swoop:
1) I regularly travel with my shotguns in the UK & abroad. As a shotgun certificate holder I am aware of the legalities surrounding travelling with my guns. I consult with Peter Glenser who is a barrister specialising in firearms law if I am ever unsure.
2) It is not illegal to have a shotgun in a hotel. I was told by reception staff at the Malmaison hotel that it was illegal, that I was breaking the law & that they had called the police. I was rather embarrassed that they did this in front of other guests and I did feel like I was being treat like a criminal. I was (as anyone would be) already tired after a five-hour drive to reach the hotel. To be kept up until 1.30am establishing what I knew already – that I had not broken the law – was of course upsetting and stressful.
I was very tired the next day during training and I didn’t get to go out for a pre-event meal with my friends due to tiredness.
A shotgun is a piece of sports equipment, it is my personal property and it is also my personal responsibility as the shotgun certificate holder to take all measures to ensure its safe keeping in accordance with the law, which is what I do every time I travel.
3) Shotgun sports require a significant amount of travel and therefore overnight stays in hotels. I have never in my five years or travel with my guns (nor my partner in his 15) come across a hotel with a specific “no guns allowed” policy. I have never been advised nor felt the need to check with a hotel if they allow sports equipment on site, I wouldn’t see any reason for them not to. My experience has at least highlighted that measures need to be now taken to work with the hotel industry (which benefits significantly from shooting) to ensure this does not happen again. I believe BASC are now working on this. Obviously the Malmaison have taken time to put into place a specific policy on shotguns as such it would be useful if they communicated this to customers at the time of booking as an airline would when it gives you the option of booking sports equipment onto a flight, otherwise I’d advise anyone travelling with guns in future to check with the hotel.
4) Due to the last minute nature of athlete fillers being required, we were not staying in the Official athlete hotel. This, however, is irrelevant – I could have been visiting Dundee with my gun for many reasons, it did not necessarily have to be for the Commonwealth Games. Either way it does not change the fact that I did not do anything illegal or wrong.
5) While the first officers that attended were not trained in the law surrounding guns, the Police in Dundee were actually very helpful and they did assure the hotel that I had not broken any laws, they agreed to store my guns overnight as the hotel simply refused to have them on their premises. This was the hotels choice and not really much myself or the police could do about it. My guns were going to be left in the armoury at Barry Buddon for the remainder of my stay.
7)) BBC Look North came to Beverly Clay Target Center with me yesterday where they filmed me shooting. they ran a short piece on Look North, where they stated that the Mal Maison had indeed “Wrongly accused me of breaking the law” in my statement I said the following:
“Shooting is a safe, inclusive and vibrant sport enjoyed by thousands of people here in the UK. Shooting is responsible for bringing in 2.5 billion pounds into the UK economy each year. I know of no other sport in the World which has a single athlete responsible for 23 World titles: shooting has George Digweed, yet we hide him away because his sport involves a gun.
“Statistically clay pigeon shooting is one of the safest sports you can participate in. I’m sure more people have been harmed with golf clubs, cricket bats and darts than with shotguns.
“Shooting athletes should not be made to feel like criminals & the Malmaison staff were both ignorant and prejudiced. Our shotguns are the tools of our trade as much as a football is to a footballer.
“Our shooting athletes won a total of twenty two Commonwealth Games medals – this is phenomenal! We need to do much more in the UK to get shooting sports more widely acknowledged and accepted, we invented clay pigeon shooting and as a nation we hold some of the most talented shooting athletes in the world. We should be proud of this fact and the assett that shooting is to UK sports and as such we should be looking to develop shooting.”
Every cloud has a silver lining: The lovely BBC reporter was so impressed and is already arranging to come for a clay pigeons shooting lesson, she’d also like to cover more shooting related stories in the future!
For me personally the whole experience has not been a very nice one, but for shooting there have been positives! I’d also like to genuinely thank everyone who has supported me from the bottom of my heart for your awesome support & for fighting my corner! I know a lot of you were generally outraged about the incident, I did my best to stand up for us, but could not have done it without you having my back.