You know you’re doing something right as the country’s largest shooting organisation, not only when your membership continues to increase each year, but when one of Australia’s most vocal anti-gunners directly attributes an increase in firearms licences to your successful lobbying efforts.
In late September, The Australian reported that in my home state of Queensland, the number of new firearm licence and new category approvals had more than doubled in the previous two years. Permits from existing licence holders to purchase new firearms had also increased.
While the Queensland Police Minister Jack Dempsey credited streamlined police procedures, reduced waiting periods and faster approval times to the increase in licences, Gun Control Australia’s Roland Browne said, “These people getting lots of extra guns are people who are taking it up because of the promotional push from the shooting lobby to broaden out shooting as a sport in Australia.” I really must thank Mr Browne for this positive press and in noticing our Association’s hard work in representing the interests of our members and Australia’s licensed, law-abiding shooters!
SSAA National has been lobbying the government and various ministerial departments hard in recent months. In September, we responded to a request from the Minister for the Environment to provide input into potential changes in regulations concerning animal imports and exports, particularly hunting trophies. We stated our concerns about prior media reports in calling trophy hunting ‘canned’ hunts and encouraged the department to consider the effects any changes would have on current economic and environmental initiatives, particularly in African countries.
Back on the Australian conservation front, the SSAA has been working closely with the Foundation for Australia’s Most Endangered Species (FAME), agreeing to provide funding to assist the group in reintroducing the previously extinct western quoll species to the South Australian Flinders Ranges.
Also in September, we put forward a clear, evidence-based submission to the Senate Inquiry into firearms ownership following member feedback in August. The final report and recommendations were originally due to be released on October 2, but following a request for an extension from the Senate Committee, the report has now been delayed until March 26, 2015.
As of this month, as a member you have 165,000 other friends among the SSAA. This is the culmination of the well-conceived strategies we have in place and taking opportunities as they come. Clearly, the direction we’re taking is the right one, and with your support, we will continue to lobby for your freedoms, engage in good wildlife research and management, and promote our sport well into the future.
On a final note, I will be attending the inaugural SSAA SHOT Expo at Claremont Showgrounds in Perth next month and I look forward to meeting some of those who make the trip.