Well it has certainly been an eventful and interesting month. In the aftermath of the terrorist tragedy in New Zealand, our thoughts and sympathies go out to all our Kiwi friends without exception.
SSAA prides itself on being open and tolerant to all legitimate firearms sports people with no barriers based on religion, race, sex, physical hurdles or any other bias in the community consciousness. Of course we condemn absolutely this type of horrific act itself and the use of firearms in it as much as we condemn the use of the motor vehicle used as transport, IT and social media that provided the information and perverted justification, the supermarket that supplied sustenance to the perpetrator and so it goes on.
It’s a difficult position for any government searching for answers and future solutions to a problem for which there’s no ‘quick fix’ but which it has to deal with and ultimately answer for. We can only hope the New Zealand Government and community don’t go down the flawed firearms legislation path of Australia, which has resulted in no proved or associated control of criminal misuse of firearms, a huge administrative impost and cost plus a legacy of community division and mistrust of government. That mistrust is as intense 20-odd years on and likely to prevail well into the future, fuelled by governments which slowly but steadily undermine and take away our basic freedoms.
With this tragedy so raw, the anti-firearm brigade have with indecent haste and their usual unsurprising ethics or lack thereof, jumped straight on to the Australian bandwagon. There are any number of articles, exposés, selectively edited interviews, clandestine operations and unashamed bias by those with no evidence but a clear agenda, while downright misinformation and lies have been the order of the day.
While the whole situation has been taken as an opportunity to ‘criminalise’ legitimate firearms owners, it is critical we do not allow these naysayers to define us. I personally will not and nor should any of our loyal and legitimate SSAA members.
With a Federal Election only days away, every member and his or her friends and associates should take the opportunity to review the Australian Shooters Journal political round-up included with this edition of Australian Shooter and study the SSAA website and Facebook page for up-to-date political information. And take a few minutes to familiarise yourselves with your own upper and lower house candidates and cast your vote with a critical eye and as importantly, be careful not to let your preferences flow to an anti-firearm candidate.
On a more positive note, SSAA associations and branches across the country are constantly trying very hard to provide more and improved shooting range facilities and hunting opportunities. It’s so important that ordinary members take as much advantage as possible of these growing shooting openings so that demand is created for further increase and improvement. SSAA can only respond to a genuine need where it’s obvious and broader communities only see and respond to legitimate community groups who are active and visible.
Don’t forget ours is an amateur sport administered almost exclusively by volunteers, so I’d always ask for patience and understanding when things might not seem perfect. In those situations, an offer of support could well make a positive improvement.
We are closing in on our 200,000-member target so join up a mate or encourage a junior. There’s strength in numbers and we can only make a difference if we’re seen to be strong and stand together.