The Sporting Shooters’ Association of Australia (SSAA National) has appealed to the United Nations to take heed of the difference between legal and illegal firearms use in a statement to a Small Arms and Light Weapons Meeting in New York this week.
SSAA National’s Tim Bannister addressed the ‘Fourth Biennial Meeting of States to Consider the Implementation of the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects’ on behalf of the SSAA, which holds Non-Government Organisation (NGO) status with the United Nations.
Mr Bannister explained to Member States that Australia has a long and proud history of sporting and recreational firearm use, with Australia now having more than three quarters of a million licensed, law-abiding firearm owners.
“The recreation of target shooting, the pastime of hunting and the responsibility of protecting our native animals are the freedoms available to us in a stable, liberal, democratic country, such as Australia. These activities are a far-cry from the misuses and hurt caused by those utilising firearms and other means to seek political and financial power often, sadly, in fragile and developing states,” he said.
Mr Bannister distinguished the difference between legal private firearms ownership for sporting and recreational purposes and the illicit and criminal uses of firearms, the latter of which being the Meeting’s focus.
“As a United Nations NGO, it is our role to ensure the protection of our sport and recreation, while also offering our depth of knowledge and experience in firearms to assist those who are the subject of firearms misuse and violence,” he said.
“Just as those who wish to reduce vehicle injuries and deaths consult the motor vehicle industry and user groups, we encourage you to look past prejudices and stereotypes and to consult with us for a common good.”
This year’s meeting, held from June 14 to 18, was chaired by Ambassador Pablo Macedo from Mexico, who stated, “All over the world, small arms in the wrong hands destroy lives and livelihoods, impede peace efforts, hinder humanitarian aid, facilitate the illicit trade in narcotics and obstruct investment in people. The Programme of Action is a globally shared responsibility to increase security and foster development for all.”