Our exclusive interview with the RSPCA, as featured in the July edition of Australian Shooter, elicited a strong response from our passionate members and interested readers. Of the many responses received, one thing was crystal clear: while our dialogue with the RSPCA allowed for some clarity, the attitudes and views of the RSPCA towards hunting remain a sticking point for our two associations. As promised, we have put together our own response to the RSPCA interview.
I would like to personally thank all those who took to the time to send in feedback about the RSPCA article, which in turn helped us tailor our response. We were inundated with emails, letters and comments on our Facebook page about this. Unfortunately, we cannot publish all the responses, but we have included a selection of comments. Remember, you can always head to our Facebook page to join the conversation about the latest issues affecting our recreation.
Another hot topic among the firearms community is the current national firearms amnesty, underway now until September 30 (although it is important to note that some states do have ongoing amnesties). It is pleasing to see that most jurisdictions have adopted our preferred Queensland model, where people can register, sell or hand in firearms at participating dealers with minimum impost.
The SSAA successfully lobbied the Federal Government for this style of amnesty. Our SSAA Legislative Action (SSAA-LA) department has put together a state-by-state overview of the amnesty for those who may wish to participate, or to share with others.
In the meantime, SSAA members can rest assured that we will be closely monitoring feedback from dealers and police on the progress of the amnesty. We will bring you an in-depth analysis of the outcomes of the amnesty upon its completion, but we will also continue to encourage governments to focus their efforts on addressing the real problem regarding illegal firearms: serious and organised crime groups and our porous borders.
The SSAA has, and always will be, at the forefront of lobbying and we pride ourselves on our evidence-based approach to firearms policy. To further our research activities, we are currently working with The University of Queensland to investigate the cost and labour hours required to regulate licensed firearm owners and dealers – the most law-abiding citizens in the country.
Not long ago, the SSAA was recognised for our proactive work in firearms safety, winning an award for our successful Secure Your Gun, Secure Your Sport campaign. This drive remains ongoing as we continue to remind new and seasoned shooters about the importance of adhering to firearms storage requirements.
Wrapping up what looks to be another busy month is the popular SSAA SHOT Expo, which heads to my home state when it arrives in Brisbane on August 26 and 27. This occasion is heralded as the premier event for sporting shooters, hunters and outdoor enthusiasts and has attracted massive crowds of up to 17,000 people across the two days.
Following the success of the Melbourne Expo in May, the Brisbane affair at the RNA Showgrounds should also be another bumper two days for the firearms community. I look forward to seeing our family-friendly gathering continue to grow, which reflects the all-inclusive nature of the shooting sports itself. I hope to see many of you there, to enjoy the best of what our recreation has to offer.