The Sporting Shooters Association of Australia Inc. has welcomed recently released Australian Institute of Criminology figures showing that licensed firearm owners are not responsible for the majority of gun-related homicides. The SSAA's Executive Director of Public Relations & International Affairs, Mr Keith Tidswell, said that shooters felt vindicated by the findings. “We have questioned the focus of the buy-back scheme all along” he said.
While the AIC's research showed that licensed firearm owners were involved in less than 10% of gun related homicides, recently released Australian Bureau of Statistics figures indicate that the rate of firearm related murder presently stands at 17.8% – about the same as it was before the buy-back program. Commenting on the situation, Mr Tidswell said “We have almost exactly the same ratio of firearm related killings as we had when there were 640,000 additional guns in the community. We believe the community's focus should be redirected to identifying the source of illicit firearms and reducing their misuse in homicides.”
Mr Tidswell went on to say that the SSAA was now engaged in the struggle against firearm related crime at the international level via its new position as an official Non-Government Organisation within the United Nations. Summing up the report's findings Mr Tidswell said “While we regret that the AIC data was not available at the time of the APMC agreement in 1996, we are happy that law-abiding shooters have finally been exonerated.”