Logical, evidence-based discussion needed

The Greens-led Senate Inquiry into ‘The ability of Australian law enforcement authorities to eliminate gun-related violence in the community’ continues, with all submissions now received and being considered by the committee. After receiving a heartening response to our call for input and support in relation to the Inquiry, SSAA National put forward a clear and evidence-based submission, ensuring firearm owners’ interests and the shooting sports have their voices heard. We made it clear that a ban on self-loading handguns would have dire consequences for the Australian shooting community, with our country’s recent success in the Commonwealth Games impossible if draconian legislation and further bans are introduced.

It was pleasing to see many of our SSAA state and territory branches and clubs put forward submissions supporting our calls. It also gave us an opportunity to share information and experiences with other legitimate shooting associations that are on the same page regarding the Greens’ obvious agenda.

Committee chair and Greens Senator Penny Wright’s recent comments about the number of firearms ‘falling into the hands of criminals’ shows that the party and other anti-gunners are intent on ‘cherry-picking’ statistics and putting the onus of blame on legitimate firearm owners. She was quoted as saying, “There is a very persistent misconception out there that most illegal guns are smuggled into the country, when in fact nearly all illegal guns are stolen…It’s really quite extraordinary how many stolen guns are in circulation and this really needs to be the focus for reducing gun crime.”

Reading though other submissions, it is clearly noted that the statistics available are already questionable and that Ms Wright’s comments ignore reality just because it cannot be quantified. We all need to continue to keep ourselves informed, diligent and active to ensure that any new legislation or changes to existing legislation deals with reality, rather than the self-serving ideologies of certain groups. The SSAA has agreed to attend the Senate Inquiry if required to answer questions about our submission, and we will keep you informed on this and any other matters that arise from it.

The issue of imported trophies and ‘canned hunting’ activities continues and we are in ongoing dialogue with the federal government and ministers, lobbying for a logical, evidence-based approach to this issue. Of course, we encourage our members, as we do all hunters, to always follow the law and uphold the highest ethical principles, so we are able to take a position of legitimcy at the negotiation table.

On a lighter note, I was pleased to see ABC Landline’s screening in early September on the value of the SSAA Farmer Assist program and how it can assist in building positive relationships between responsible hunters and the rural community. For more information about the episode, read this month’s Open Season column and visit www.abc.net.au/landline

Finally, following SSAA National’s recent Board Meeting, the Association has endorsed a number of exciting initiatives and member benefits. We will be implementing these initiatives in the coming months, with announcements to be made via our publications and websites, so watch this space.

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