Claims by anti-gun activists shrill and ignorant

Recent unsubstantiated and sensationalist statements by anti-gun activists Philip Alpers and the National Coalition for Gun Control (NCGC) cannot go uncorrected, says the Sporting Shooters’ Association of Australia (SSAA National) Inc.

Claims that the majority of firearms used by criminals originate from private licensed citizens are plainly wrong and are not supported by independent research bodies, such as the Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC).

In fact, AIC senior research analyst Samantha Bricknell has previously stated that many guns used in crime and traded to other criminals originate from the ‘grey market’, comprising firearms that were never registered or firearms that had been disabled but made operable again.

The AIC’s ‘Homicide in Australia: 2006-07 National Homicide Monitoring Program annual report’ stated that 93 per cent of firearms involved in homicides had never been registered and were used by unlicensed individuals.

Similarly, the AIC has most recently reported that a miniscule number of only 0.06 per cent of registered firearms are stolen and that handguns are the least likely type of firearm to be stolen.

Mr Alpers’ claims that the police, Customs and the Attorney-General’s office have made statements as to the source of illicit firearms are also unsubstantiated. SSAA National works closely with these government departments and they are well aware of the AIC’s findings.

In fact, late last year, the Minister of Home Affairs Brendan O’Connor congratulated SSAA National on its firearm security initiatives and in July this year, invited SSAA National to become a permanent member of the Commonwealth Firearms Advisory Council.

Sadly, gun-related crime rarely occurs in isolation. More often than not, drugs, organised crime and gang-related activity go hand in hand with homicide.

SSAA National encourages state and federal governments and policing agencies to continue to focus on the illegal actions of criminals and to ignore the shrill and ignorant calls by anti-gun activists to persecute the law-abiding public and licensed firearm owners.

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