I don’t know about you but despite what you’d think is a quiet period, I seem to be busier than ever. Or maybe it’s just that we’ve had the chance to draw back and focus on fresh things we realise are more important than so many inconsequential day-to-day issues that we can easily convince ourselves are so crucial and occupy our space and time.
While electronic communications and online platforms have some serious drawbacks and pitfalls in a professional context, at SSAA we’ve been able to judiciously use the tools available to us to converse effectively with a minimisation of distracting chatter and trivial matters which so often keep us from focusing on the real concerns.
It should be heartening for you as members to know your respective state and territory associations have been continuing to lobby and deal with the many and varied legislative matters which continue to surface unabated at state level, while the National Association has also been in regular lobbying contact with the relevant Federal authorities. The effectiveness of SSAA lobbying is achieved in dealing with subjects before they become an insurmountable problem, when purely relying on the good grace of government or the authorities is never an option and open confrontation seldom achieves the preferred outcome.
A fine example of positive lobbying and negotiation is the recent passage of the Great American Outdoors Act through the US Senate. With overwhelming bipartisan support, this legislation will fulfil a promise to their future generations that conservation, access to public lands and outdoor recreation, including hunting and recreational shooting, will be safeguarded well into the next century. While there are significant and often misreported differences between our two countries, we have much to learn from the US in the wildlife conservation arena.
Hunters there are the single largest source of wildlife conservation funding through their Pittman-Robertson Federal Wildlife Restoration Act. Our Australian authorities clearly have much to learn about the concept of real conservation outcomes. Matthew Godson’s ‘Open Season’ column on Page 8 of this edition of Australian Shooter clearly demonstrates how vulnerable truth and fact is to manipulation and crass political abuse with total disregard for those conservation outcomes and why truth through lobbying is so difficult in Australia.
Regardless of the local challenges we always face, SSAA is being recognised more and more on the world stage. Well-established firearms trade magazine Gun Trade World with circulation to 120 countries, has in their latest edition published a five-page section – Doing business with Australia – in which they acknowledge SSAA as “the most prominent shooting organisation in the country” as well as referring to our significant and growing membership and, of course, our highly successful SSAA SHOT Expos.
We’ve all met the current restrictions particularly well and I wish to thank all SSAA members who’ve been affected by our shooting range limitations for their understanding and cooperation. SSAA has weathered the storm particularly well and we’re making every effort to return to ‘normal’ as soon as it’s possible and safe.
It’s obvious that with so many of our sporting products and accessories being imported, there will invariably be some supply shortages into the foreseeable future. I would ask our members to also extend their courtesy and understanding to firearms retailers and, wherever possible, support their local retailers as they’ll be under serious business pressure and will need your backing to survive and be there to service you into the future. Stay safe and enjoy your shooting.