The Sporting Shooters’ Association of Australia membership is unlike any other. If you encounter a fellow SSAA member in the wild you’ve found a kindred spirit, you’re talking to someone with shared values, someone who enjoys their chosen sport of target shooting or pastime of recreational hunting and wants to see our fraternity continue to grow and prosper.
And prosper it has! This past month the number of shooters and hunters who call themselves a SSAA state or territory member has ticked over the 210,000 mark and continues to climb as our true strength in numbers makes us the nation’s leading and largest sports shooting body. With our size and reach comes a wide variety benefits and services our members have available to them, including more than 440 clubs and ranges across the country which cater to all types of target shooting and branches of conservation volunteers in most regions who contribute in meaningful ways to the longevity of the country’s landscape, native wildlife and vegetation.
Our flagship Australian Shooter magazine and periodicals Australian Junior Shooter and Australian Women’s Shooter are included with SSAA membership and these provide us with entertainment, information and updates on our hobby, our sport, our recreation and pastime. The strong digital presence also includes newsletters to keep members informed, SSAA TV YouTube and various social media channels with videos and stories on competition shooting, hunting, firearms maintenance and more. There’s also a great choice of paid-for publications Association members can buy with discount including Great Australian Outdoors, Australian Hunter and Australian & New Zealand Handgun.
Being a SSAA member goes beyond our publications though and gives access to $20 million of public liability, personal accident and $75,000 life insurance when participating in a shooting-related activity. SSAA General Insurance Brokers also offer cover for your home and contents, car, boat, caravan, business or farm and then there’s the new SSAA Mutual Members Firearms offering secure and affordable long-term cover for firearms and fixed accessories, a service costing members just $35 a year for $25,000 of coverage.
But at its core the purpose of the SSAA remains the same today as it did on its inception in 1948. The Association promotes the shooting sports and protects firearm owners’ interests through a number of direct and indirect strategies aimed at creating respect, awareness and goodwill which involves having a presence in Australian federal parliament to liaise and communicate with elected leaders and departments affecting our sport. We also adopt a global approach with the Association maintaining official Non-Government Organisation status within the United Nations and being a contributing founding member of the World Forum on Shooting Activities.
It also embraces grassroots initiatives such as the SSAA Farmer Assist Program which aims to link our skilled hunters with landowners in need of pest control, while the award-winning Field to Fork cookbook series serves as a useful promotional tool and conversation starter outside the shooting fraternity and the Journalists’ Guide to Firearms and the Shooting Sports helps us set the record straight with those reporting the subject in the media.
This latest membership milestone only strengthens the kindred spirit which draws us together and shares our story but, first and foremost, credit for that ever-rising number must go to those at local level who support and encourage new members, tirelessly run competitions, trek through National Parks for the good of the environment and coach the future of this sport, our juniors.