The Australian Medical Association’s (AMA) calls for registered firearms of licensed owners living in cities to be stored at gun clubs is an impractical 'thought bubble' devoid of any evidence that it would somehow solve a non-existent problem. Unashamedly capitalising on the recent Las Vegas tragedy, the doctors’ group has shunned offers of advice from experienced firearms researchers at the SSAA, resulting in the poorly thought out proposal.
Reported in News Corp publications on October 8, AMA president Michael Gannon outlined how law-abiding firearms owners should be forced to hand over their registered, properly stored guns to the local club to look after, under the misguided view that this would somehow make society safer. “Farmers should be storing weapons securely on their property, but there’s no reason a sporting shooter in a metropolitan area needs to keep a gun at home,” he said. “We’re not calling on a ban, but for the appropriate use of firearms.”
The SSAA was contacted for comment and we made it clear that putting the onus of firearms storage on gun clubs, mostly run by volunteers, was impractical and uncalled for. We pointed out that law-abiding firearm owners already adhere to stringent storage requirements and that centralised storage essentially creates a target for thieves.
Strangely, the AMA’s Firearms - 2017 policy manifesto clearly outlined that licensed firearm owners should store firearms at home, under the current storage conditions. It made no mention of centralised storage for urban shooters. The latest thought bubble cites no evidence to suggest that there is even an issue with storage; in fact, rare gun thefts usually occur in regional areas, a fact the SSAA would have happily shared with the AMA if it had bothered to consult us.
In a sad sign of the times, the AMA’s comments once again show the poor state of debate when it comes to firearms, with no evidence or expert advice sought before broadcasting its flawed opinions. Even more disappointing is the fact that the SSAA wrote to the AMA earlier this year, offering our expert advice to help formulate a factual firearms policy.
The SSAA would like to remind the AMA to focus its time and efforts on its actual purpose; that is, improving our healthcare system and ensuring that doctors are providing patients with a high standard of care. Firearms policy should be left to those with real-world experience and decades of evidence-based research, which the SSAA proudly boasts.