A super group stacked with public health advocates and victim support services has been formed to revere and worship the ageing National Firearms Agreement (NFA). The Australian Gun Safety Alliance attracted the usual sycophants to its launch at Parliament House in September, to coincide with the reformation of the Parliamentary Friends of Gun Control.
Disappointingly, White Ribbon Australia has also signed up to the group, confirming that our best efforts to contact the organisation to offer our expert advice have fallen on deaf ears.
Further disappointment came from the offensive and inaccurate commentary towards legitimate firearm owners made by some of the representatives. While some organisations made concessions about farmers and sporting shooters being able to access firearms, the word ‘illegal’ was not mentioned.
A White Ribbon Australia chair representative said: “Firearms are used to kill but they are also a tool that abusive men use to threaten and coerce women and children.” In reality, less than seven per cent of domestic violence deaths in 2016 were caused by murderers using firearms, and there are no statistics on whether the firearm was stolen or legal. Legal firearms are a legitimate and highly regulated tool used for sporting, hunting and culling purposes.
A group representing intensive care doctors pointed to firearms being “the major cause of death and injury, particularly in rural areas”, ignoring the arguably more key issues of mental health, access to support services and the drought. The Police Federation of Australia also added its name to the membership.
The Parliamentary Friends of Gun Control hosted the launch of the alliance, with known anti-gun politicians, Labor’s Andrew Leigh MP and Liberal John Alexander MP co-chairmen of the federal forum. In contrast, the Parliamentary Friends of Shooting group has been active for the past two parliaments, attracting members from nearly all sides of the chamber and hosting popular events that educate our elected representatives about sports shooting and hunting.
While the SSAA welcomes an open debate on firearms, blind adherence to a document that holds no weight in law and is in desperate need of updating simply equates to a head-in-the-sand approach. With more than 20 years of data and evidence demonstrating areas in which the NFA could be improved at no risk to public safety, the SSAA will continue to call for evidence-based laws rather than emotion and virtue-signalling by ill-informed groups.