Heartening surge in membership numbers despite troubled times

As membership of the Sporting Shooters’ Association of Australia continues to march towards 200,000 in spite of the country being in the grip of a pandemic, we have again produced a bonus Australian Shooter digital supplement for your isolation enjoyment.

Our membership in June surged to 197,656 and in excess of 197,800 at time of writing – the biggest monthly increase in more than 20 years – and we’re now within touching distance of the magical 200,000. As a member of the biggest sports shooting organisation in the southern hemisphere, you can be rightly proud to be part of something special.

During these difficult times you may find your regular copy of Australian Shooter could be delayed in the mail but don’t forget, for the latest articles and news, your magazine is also available online. Just log on to ssaa.org.au to access and enjoy Australian Shooter as well as your interim Australian Shooter digital supplement and digital versions of the popular Australian Women’s Shooter and Australian Junior Shooter.

The adjustments we’ve made in continuing to bring these publications to you have been very well received and I assure you we fully intend to continue providing the full print copy of your favourite shooting magazine as soon as the challenges of the current situation allow.

On a slightly sombre note I noticed our legitimate firearm-owning cousins in New Zealand are now suffering similar demonisation and bureaucratic impost Australian shooters have for the past 25 years. Crass political opportunism triggered not only by the reprehensible actions of one criminal but also by a litany of administrative failures which appear to have facilitated the actions of the accused, has now labelled the vast majority of law-abiding New Zealand firearm owners as potential criminals.

With Australian authority ‘experts’ advising them, even the language of their own authorities appears to be straight out of the Australian anti-firearms playbook. I’m certainly not a conspiracy theorist but the evidence would seem to be compelling and unfortunately they can now look forward to many years of unnecessary conflict and societal division. Nevertheless, I know our New Zealand counterparts will fight the good fight and seek justice and our thoughts and best wishes are with them.

Back on a positive note, many of my recent conversations with shooters here on the ground seems to suggest a great number of them have taken advantage of the forced time we’ve had available to investigate a broader and deeper involvement in the sport and I encourage any of our members to do likewise.

One of the great things about our sport is there are so many facets to it. The opportunity to consider a new cartridge, study in more detail the characteristics of your favourite cartridges, delve into the science and ‘dark arts’ of internal and external ballistics, investigate the pleasures, challenges and benefits of reloading ammunition, research an old or collectable firearm, knife or piece of equipment, refine your sighting and tweak that favourite firearm to suit a particular purpose should not be lost. And don’t forget the hunters who are always trying to cultivate knowledge, skills and equipment to enhance their ethical hunting encounters.

With the array of products and accessories now available in retail outlets and information both in hard copy and online – although I advise caution in too readily accepting some online advice – there’s a wonderful world of experience and enjoyment to be had from our great sport and belonging to such a go-ahead organisation as the SSAA.

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