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What is the process for formulating new rule?

Jim Norman

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I hope that this is the correct forum for this question.

How does IPSC decide a new rule is required?

What reasoning is used to determine the need for a specific rule change?

How does, or does the membership at large get informed early enough of radical changes to effect them?

Once a rule has been formulated is there a independent review to ensure that there are not unitended consequences to the new or changed rule?

Once the rule has passed the review if any, is it put to the membership for review?

Does the review, if any, by the membership have an effect onthe rule making process?

Does the membership have to pick through the new proposed rulebook and do an

independent line by line comparison to determine if there are changes?

I am interested as I would like to help endure that problems similar to the ones that have appeared with the current edition do not happen the next time around.

Jim Norman

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I would also like to know the "process".

I know a bunch on man hours went into the last batch, and that efforts were made to get them out (online) for review and comment by the membership (I know I commented some ;)).

Is there an official process? In USPSA?

If I have a rule that I would like to propose, can I fill out a form and send it in?

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As far as IPSC is concerned, the authority for the formation of all committees is embodied in Clause 7.2 of the IPSC Constitution, which can be found at the IPSC website. For further information, the best advice I can give is for you to contact your Regional Director, who has copies of the relevant Terms of Reference (and timetables), used by the last rules committees.

Requests for clarification of existing IPSC rules and/or suggestions in respect of new IPSC rules can be sent to rules@ipsc.org. However this particular forum is monitored on a daily basis so, if the rule has already been discussed in this forum, all comments have already been duly noted and will be taken under advisement.

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Ultimately, the World Assembly votes on IPSC rules.

i) Can a region bring a rule amendment to the table of the Assembly and have them vote on it? (Ad hoc, or not without having the amendment given to the Assembly ahead of time?)

ii) Do *all* rule book changes have to go through the Assembly, no exception?

I thought it was yes-yes, but this question made me wonder...


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All rules, without exception, must be approved by the General Assembly, and even rules which have been interpreted under the provisions of Rule 11.8 must be also ratified by the General Assembly.

If a Region wants the General Assembly to consider one or more rules outside the auspices of the official Rules Committee, it's free to do so, provided the subject rule is placed on the agenda - a Region cannot simply turn up and demand a vote on the day. There are also provisions in the Constitution which limit rules discussions to General Assemblies held in conjunction with a World Shoot (e.g. every 3 years), however rules can be discussed and voted upon in other years provided there's firstly a 2/3 majority vote agreeing to consider the rule(s) outside of the usual cycle (this occurred at the 2003 General Assembly).

However I can tell you that the Rules Committee decided at our last meeting in Las Vegas in January that no rules will be presented to the 2004 General Assembly (November in Bali, Indonesia), so unless a Region wants to jump through a few Constitutional hoops, there won't be any rules discussed until 2005 at the earliest.

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so it seems that there exists a two-prong path:

1a. Approach your regional officials (RD, BoD...), get them to accept and pass a rule amendment proposal and

1b. get them to bring up the rule change or new rule at the General Assembly following due constitional process.

2. Approach the IPSC rules committee directly.

In the case of USPSA, we may have the unique situation where 1a. is sufficient to bring about a regional rule change because USPSA has special dispensation from IPSC to have their own rule book.

In neither case is there a requirement for soliciting membership input or independent review.


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One more thing - consultation. When we were forming the last Rules Committee, every Regional Director in IPSC was invited to make nominations for people to serve, but (from memory) only about 12 of our 65 Regions at the time responded. In every case except one (due to the likelihood of language problems), all nominees were accepted without challenge, however some nominees later dropped out of their own accord due to personal reasons such as business pressure.

The largest response was from the USA, who nominated one person for each of the four (Coordinating, Handgun, Rifle, Shotgun) committees, and the nominees were respectively John Amidon, Bruce Gary, Troy McManus & Arnie Christiansen, but of course Mike Voigt was also Overall Rules Chairman, so the USA contingent represented 5 of the 16 people on the committees.

At each step of the way, Regional Directors were progressively sent "latest drafts" of the rules so that they were continually kept in the loop, and we ultimately sent them a "final draft" for their consideration. In the case of the USA, the "final draft" rules were made available by Rob Boudrie on the USPSA member's website for at least 3 months (possibly longer), and many comments were submitted by USPSA members (other Regions conducted similar exercises).

In the 12 months we worked together, we generated some 7,000 emails plus we had 4 long and intensive days of face-to-face meetings in Orlando in February 2003, before the rules were finally presented to (and adopted by) the General Assembly in August 2003.

And now you know how a Bill becomes law :P

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Further to Vince's email, I confirm that a limited number of Regions responded to the early drafts. The UKPSA met for a full day and discussed the various changes and continued their discussions by email. In the end they submitted proposals for around 100 changes from minor ones to major ones. These were independent of my work on the committee.

The USPSA submitted a number of propsals as well, again over and above the work of the committee members.

The Regions that I can rember sending in comments/proposals include: South Africa, Greece, Norway, Italy, Finland, Netherlands, Denmark and Zimbabwe.

All Regions were invited to add comments/proposals. We considered all those submitted. Some we adopted. Some we didn't.

I assure you that proper debate took place throughout the process. It was very much a democratic process. Did we get everything we each wanted personally? No way! Vince and I both lost on rules we cared about passionately but there was always a proper process.

Do I like every rule. No!

Does Vince? No.

I can recall some particularly heated debates but eventually a decision was made and we moved on.

What I can tell you is that we climbed mountains to achieve the end result. I know that Vince, myself and Bob Chittleborough sometimes worked 24 hours straight to meet deadlines and to achieve what we did should have been impossible but we did it anyway. A HUGE part of the work was getting Handgun, Shotgun and Rifle rules to line up and work across all 3 disciplines.

If I set aside my own role in the process I will tell you that I have immense respect for all the others involved. There were some significant efforts and sacrifices made.

Is the end result perfect? No! I would defy anyone to get a perfect result. But overall it's a good result. The general feedback from around the world is that it's a good result.

Unfortunately, with human nature being what it is, people tend to focus on the small number of issues that they don't like and not on the 550 rules that are OK.

As Detlef says you can always approach your Regional Director to submit changes. The members of these Forums should know that there is a direct channel to members of the rules committee. Some of you will be very aware that some requests/suggestions have been tackle very speedily, particularly by Vince.

You won't always get what you want. I don't always get what I want. Vince doesn't always get what he wants. Vince and I don't always agree. But I assure you all approaches are considered and all committee members are consulted.

It isn't such a bad system, especially if you win your own proposal.

Actually, it isn't such a bad system if you lose either.

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Hi James

The meeting was a full council meeting held on 1 June 2003 at my place.

Copies of the rules in progress were posted to the UKPSA web site on the dates below and were available for all members. The various sets reflected the rules as progress was made.

13 May 2003

20 June 2003

25 June 2003

29 June 2003

2 July 2003

6 July 2003

9 July 2003

15 July 2003 (Final Rules to be submitted)

They are still there.

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Thanks Neil

they certainly are, but the point i was making just in case some other regions got the wrong idea was that it was not the association ALL meeting in public to discuss the changes but ONLY the council WITH the addition of written submissions from members (self included).

Personally i think the rules are very good and a great improvement

except the fixed time bit



the "except the fixed time bit" is a poor attempt at humour not a whinge or moan.

i appreciate that all the book is a compromise and that no one will ever like all of it. my apologies if i touched a nerve.


16.25 10/03/04

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Thanks James

It was my error but it was nearly 01.00 when I finished posting last night and I guess I was trying to get other points across more than the exact detail of the UKPSA meeting.

I was outgunned on the Fixed Time rule and that happens from time to time as has been often discussed. In fairness I believe it is on Vince's list to look at it again next time round as well as being on mine.

I have some new ideas on the subject and these will be discussed in due course. I know for a fact that Vince is always prepared to re-evaluate his thoughts if there are new valid points put forward. That doesn't mean he always changes his mind either. Nor should he. But at least he's open minded enough to discuss it.

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I posted the following on the USPSA forum, but I think it needs to go here, as well. I'd like to thank all the members of each rules committee, and to repeat what Neil said--we had some heated discussions, but we got a lot of work done. Nobody will ever be completely satisfied with all the new rules, but we are miles past where we were a few years ago.

Here's the post:


First, let me emphasize that I think debate and discussion of rules and policy(whether are proposed or current) is important. It's also important to let your BOD representative know your opinion, and to not merely condemn a rule or practice, but to suggest a remedy for the situation. Having been on the USPSA BOD, I can state that we don't always know the answer for a particular problem. It helps to have member input, and the more the better, as long as it is constructive.

I see that Jim has quoted me, and provided a link to some comments I made some time ago. While those statements were valid then, and I stand behind them 100%, they cannot be used as background in discussing the 2004 rules changes. I'll explain:

First, there were several members of USPSA on the different rules committees, several of whom are BOD members, or past members. We (USPSA) had a lot of input into the current rules. The USPSA president, Michael Voigt, was the chairman of the rules committee--not Mr. Alexakos, nor Mr. Pinto. I firmly believe that we (USPSA and IPSC) have taken great strides toward unifying the rule book, and closing the ideological gap that existed between us for years. Are we ever going to completely eliminate our differences? No, and for good reason. There are regions throughout the world that cannot compete in the same fashion that the US enjoys, because of political restraints. Therefore, it's important that the rules try to accomodate these regions as well as they can, in a general sense. I don't believe in reducing the rules to the lowest common denominator, and I don't think that's what we've done with the 2004 edition of the rules. In fact, we've made a lot of progress in changing some of the less palatable IPSC rules to rules that can be accepted world wide, even in the United States. This is important, and everybody that worked on the rules should be congratulated. We did have our differences, and sometimes the discussion got heated, but in the end, we arrived at what I believe is a better written, better worded, and more complete version of the rules. The US is still free to modify rules to better suit our region, and that's what the BOD is doing. I don't expect major changes from this effort, though, just minor tweaking. Writing rules for a dynamic sport such as ours is a challenge, especially when we encourage freestyle course design, and tell competitors to "solve the problem." Sometimes the solution to the problem causes us to shake our head, but that's all part of the fun.

Bottom line: although I don't particularly care for some of the new rules, I can live with them as acceptable compromises. We have not reduced the safety level of the sport, nor have we made changes just to be politically correct. Once the BOD finishes addressing US concerns, I'm hopeful that we'll have a document that we can all live with. Please don't take my earlier comments concerning a past version of the rules and use them to condemn these--the process and the outcome were dramatically different this time. :)

Troy McManus


(I was on the Rifle Rules committee)

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You da man - thanks for telling it like it is.

And thanks for your invaluable contribution to the rule process. You didn't miss a beat, you said exactly how you felt every step of the (very long!) way but, when the dust had settled, you stood by the consensus, whether it went your way or not.

Hell, I can see from the USPSA BOD minutes that very few USPSA amendments to the rules were agreed by unanimous vote but, once something was decided, that's it and they moved on. There's nothing to be gained by digging in your heels and crying "the sky is falling".

As Neil said, we each won and lost a few battles, some of which were pretty exciting ;) but nobody died, and we have what the vast majority of people think is a great set of rulebooks.


The matter of Fixed Time is certainly contentious but, in IPSC, we practice what we preach. When IPSC "re-adopted" Fixed Time in the 2004 Edition, we used the USPSA format, not the former IPSC format, but I have absolutely no regrets whatsoever, because it was the right thing to do.

Sure, the USPSA version is different - it's not better or worse - it's just different, but when you or I set up a Fixed Time stage today, the rules are the same for all competitors, and it certainly won't mean the end of IPSC as we know it.


Thanks for your kind words - you are truly a gentleman and, now that I now you much better, I sincerely regret giving you such grief during the last rules process but, hell, neither of us had anything better to do during the whole of 2003, right? :rolleyes:

OK, guys, time for a group hug

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