As the nation mourned the 20th anniversary of the Port Arthur murders, the SSAA was contacted regarding our views on the latest questionable research from known anti-gunner Philip Alpers. SSAA National President Geoff Jones, speaking on behalf of our 177,000 members and Australia’s more than one million licensed firearm owners, issued the below statement to numerous media outlets including News Corp, The Guardian and the Australian Associated Press.
“The SSAA finds the latest fluff piece from Mr Alpers highly dubious that contains outlandish and amateur research findings by a known anti-gun lobbyist. He appears to be using the Port Arthur tragedy for his own personal public gain and is well known for seeking funding for his anti-gun activities while claiming to be a neutral academic.
“His claims that legal firearm imports and ownership has increased since Port Arthur can be attributed to quite simple reasons. The Australian dollar was, at one time, almost on parity with the United States dollar meaning it was actually cheaper to buy a new firearm rather than a second-hand one. The mining boom saw well-paid workers who had the time and finances to take up a new hobby embrace the safe, fun and all-abilities sport of shooting.
“Mr Alpers’ unfounded concerns that firearms stolen from licensed owners are somehow leaking to into the black market and threatening public safety are a stretch, given that research by the Australian Institute of Criminology shows that only 3 per cent of firearms stolen from licensed owners are subsequently used to commit a crime.
“The finding that restrictions on self-loading longarms has had no impact on suicides should come as no surprise to anyone because of the very mechanics of these firearms.
“Suggestions that our gun laws have been watered down or weakened are also questionable with no clear example given demonstrating that the public is somehow at risk because of any changes to regulations surrounding law-abiding firearm owners.”