Following months of meetings, candid dialogue and some back-and-forth, this issue of our much-loved magazine brings you an exclusive and extensive interview with the RSPCA. Although we have had differing views, I am pleased to see such a detailed response from the organisation, as we both put aside our differences to work towards some common ground.
I know our members are very passionate about the RSPCA and we want to know your thoughts on the interview, in the upcoming July edition. I personally invite you to send any feedback to [email protected], which will aid us in tailoring our own response to this piece.
I am also aware that a number of our members have a keen interest in the politics of firearms. I, along with many of you, watched with interest the recent series of exposés on the ABC’s Four Corners program that shone a blinding spotlight on a number of issues that the SSAA has been politically active in for years.
The episode ‘Gun Runners’, which aired on May 15, examined one of the biggest illegal firearms importation schemes in our nation’s history. Delving into how 130-plus Glock pistols could illegally be imported via a Sydney post office, this episode served as a huge wake-up call for law enforcement and authorities.
The SSAA has long been telling our lawmakers that Australia’s porous borders pose a real threat in allowing illicit items into our country. We continue to constantly remind everyone that firearms are rarely sourced from us, legal firearms owners. On a sour note, the silence from the commercial media, who quite often cover Four Corners stories, has been deafening.
Another episode of Four Corners looked at the shocking systemic failures that occurred during the Sydney Siege. This came as the Coroner’s report, the supposed catalyst behind the National Firearms Agreement (NFA) review, was delivered. The Coroner found that the authorities still had no idea where Man Haron Monis obtained the sawn-off shotgun nor how he acquired the ammunition, labelling it an “enduring intelligence gap”.
The Federal Government has accepted the Coroner’s report, although in an ironic twist there is a notable absence of any firearms-related recommendations. The Sydney Siege was said to have sparked the NFA review, which the SSAA slammed for being a wasted opportunity to address real issues affecting the legitimate sport of shooting. The SSAA still ascertains that the changes to the NFA will do nothing to address these sort of incidents from happening. Criminals will always find a way to carry out their illegal activities.
On a positive political note, we hosted another successful Parliamentary Friends of Shooting range day in Canberra in May, with a number of advisors to key shadow ministers and ministers visiting the SSAA ACT range at Majura to learn about our sport.
Another key event on the SSAA calendar is the SSAA SHOT Expo, which was held in Melbourne in May. This Expo recorded our biggest ever crowd, with more than 17,000 people flocking to the event to check out the latest shooting, hunting and outdoors-related products. Take a look at this spectacular event in our video showcased on SSAA-TV, which captures the broad base of attendees, including families, women and children.
The huge turn-out and wide-ranging audience is further proof that our sport is indeed growing and reflects the family-friendly nature of this recreational activity. The SSAA SHOT Expo heads to my home state of Queensland next month, where I look forward to attending as I proudly continue to serve as your National President.