Licensed firearm owners have had enough of the constant negativity and hysteria expressed towards the shooting sports, recreational hunting and the legitimate firearms industry.
The Sporting Shooters’ Association of Australia (SSAA) National President Geoff Jones has hit back at “selective, sensationalist media reports and certain politicians” who call for further onerous restrictions, or point unfair blame at licensed shooters, in an attempt to address public safety concerns.
“Whether it’s a bolt-action rifle, pump-action shotgun, lever-action firearm or a handgun, these firearms are well regulated and in the right hands of licensed firearm owners,” he said.
In his July Australian Shooter magazine column, Mr Jones highlights recent events involving unlicensed criminals using unregistered firearms to conduct acts of terror, both here and overseas, with many media outlets and some politicians using the tragedies to demonise licensed sporting shooters and recreational hunters.
“Even the conservative side of government and public servants responded to the 2014 terrorist attack in Sydney’s Martin Place by suggesting the fast-tracking of a national firearm registry integration system, even though the firearm used in the incident would never have been on the system,” Mr Jones writes.
“The theory goes that penalising the licensed firearm owner will somehow stop outlaw bikie groups and drug dealers attacking each other, or prevent the actions of bitter and extreme religious-driven terrorists.
“So, along with the blame falling on the licensed owner, we see the continual dissipation of personal responsibility. We, as a society, cannot expect the police and laws to prevent us from any or all mischief.”
In his scathing editorial, Mr Jones also discusses the Port Arthur tragedy, addresses the myth that the SSAA wants to see an increase in private firearm ownership, and warns of the real threat of illegally imported firearms getting through Australia’s porous borders.
The SSAA represents more than 170,000 sporting shooters and recreational hunters, and liaises with both sides of politics to ensure members’ liberties and choice to participate in their legitimate pastimes remain a choice in a free society.