The Sporting Shooters’ Association of Australia (SSAA) was established in 1948 in order to promote the shooting sports and protect firearm owners’ interests. Those roles remain the same today, and with more than 186,000 members and 400 clubs, the SSAA is the premier sports shooting body representing licensed owners in Australia.
The SSAA manages more than 18 shooting competitions - commonly referred to as ‘disciplines’ - at local, state, national and international levels. We cater to many different types of firearms, including shotguns, pistols, revolvers and rifles, in rimfire, centrefire, air and black powder configurations, so no matter what age you are or what level competition you are interested in participating in, we have a discipline for everyone.
In addition to representing the interests of our target shooting members, the SSAA promotes the ethical hunting activities of our members and the sustainable use of wildlife. We encourage all hunters to display appropriate firearm handling skills, to conduct themselves in an acceptable way and to be responsible for themselves, others and the environment.
The SSAA works closely with the Australian and international firearms industry and has an Australian federal parliamentary presence to liaise and communicate with Australia’s elected leaders and those departments that affect our chosen sport. The Association also has official Non-Government Organisation status within the United Nations and regularly participates in discussions with affiliated and likeminded international groups.
Supporting those groups who support our chosen recreations and vigorously refuting the myth-making and factually incorrect claims of anti-shooting and anti-hunting groups is very important to the Association. As such, the SSAA coordinates research projects and initiatives using data from a range of reputable sources, all of which provides material for our lobbying efforts and our publications and has run-on benefits for our members.
On April 15, 1948, about 100 shooters met in the Railway Institute Building in Elizabeth Street in Sydney to form the SSAA. Since that time, many changes have taken place.
One of the most notable changes is the number of members in the Association, which continues to increase each year. In 1959, it had a mere but mighty 250 members - a drop in the bucket by today’s 180,000 members. Membership fees have obviously also increased since the Association first formed. Back in 1948, city members paid 10 shillings and country members paid 7/6.
The SSAA began in New South Wales because of the government’s increasing involvement in firearms legislation. In 1950, NSW adopted the title of The Sporting Shooters’ Association of Australia so everyone was clear that it was not just a ‘one state organisation’. State branches came into being at different times. Victoria formed in 1951, Queensland in 1957, South Australia in 1964, the Northern Territory in 1965-66, the ACT in 1965, Western Australia in 1967 and Tasmania in 1969.
In 1962, SSAA National came to life as a result of a meeting consisting of 12 people. The group agreed that there was a need for a federal body, whose purpose would be to assist and advise state bodies.
At that time, the Association had no official magazine, but rather a quarterly newsletter titled the Report, which was first printed in 1959. The first Australian Shooters’ Journal appeared in June 1968 and went through a number of changes and improvements before being retitled in September 1999 to Australian Shooter. A monthly magazine, the Australian Shooter quickly became the main publication for recreational shooters, competitors and hunters in Australia.
Aims and Objectives
The SSAA’s aims and objectives are:
- To promote and improve the role of the sporting shooter in Australia.
- To help educate in the skills of hunting, shooting and proper care and safe handling of firearms.
- To encourage all members to abide by the SSAA’s Code of Conduct and Rules of etiquette when hunting.
- To support farmers, particularly in the protection of native flora and fauna, and advocate game management in the Australian environment.
- To act as an effective and credible voice, representing members to the public, community leaders and authorities.
Code of Conduct
SSAA members must adhere to the following basic ethical requirements. Any breach of these requirements may result in suspension of membership or expulsion from the Association.
- Obey the rules of firearms laws and regulations.
- Undertake to do all in their power to preserve the good image of the sport and the Association.
- Support game management and wildlife conservation.
- Encourage new shooters, both young and old, to acquire knowledge and ethical attitudes relating to game management, conservation and safe firearms ownership, all of which are the hallmark of the sporting shooter.
SSAA National has affiliations and close relationships with a number of likeminded associations, including the American National Rifle Association (NRA), New Zealand Council of Licensed Firearms Owners (COLFO) and International Practical Shooting Confederation Australia (IPSC). We are a founding member of the World Forum on Shooting Activities (WFSA), which represents more than 100 million sporting shooters around the world and also has official Non-Government Organisation status at the United Nations.
We regularly engage with relevant government and non-government departments and bodies, such as the Attorney-General’s Department, Australian Border Force (formerly the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service), Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) and Crimtrac, and we report on a range of political events and commentary regarding firearms ownership, sports shooting, recreational hunting and conservation issues.
SSAA National Board
President: Geoff Jones
Senior Vice President: Paul McNabb
Junior Vice President: Denis Moroney
Secretary: Kaye McIntyre
Treasurer/Public Officer: Alf Bastian
ACT Board Member: Dave True
NSW Board Member: Diana Melham
NT Board Delegate: John Bellman
Qld Board Member: Bob Green
SA Board Member: David Handyside
Tas Board Member: Andrew Judd
Vic Board Member: Jeff Kuyken
WA Board Member: Ron Bryant
CEO: Tim Bannister
Secretariat: Nicole McClenahan