Shooting activities under attack again

The attacks on the activities of licensed, law-abiding shooters, hunters and firearms owners have started again. The Greens, who seem to be fighting against the tide of irrelevance in federal parliament after recent changes to the Upper House, were able to gather support for a Senate inquiry relating to firearms. They were able to get it through with the help of Labor.

The Greens’ Senate inquiry regarding ‘The ability of Australian law enforcement authorities to eliminate gun-related violence in the community’ is no doubt a smokescreen by the gun-hating Greens and their anti-gun friends to once again blur the issues surrounding legal firearm ownership, illegal firearm ownership and related gun crime.

Rest assured that the SSAA has been working hard on these issues to form a submission that directly represents the interests of our members and counters the unfair, ill-informed or plain wrong arguments of the Greens and other anti-gunners.

However, we need your input to allow us to effectively do this. I encourage all members to read SSAA National’s submission responding to the Senate inquiry and if you have any comments or information you think would assist us in our submission, be sure to let us know.

While you’re online, if you haven’t already done so, click on the ‘Join, Renew or Change Membership Details’ button to ensure your details including your email address are up to date. Remember to sign up to the SSAA’s free E-newsletter service too, so you can keep informed about the issues that interest you.

Another recent issue of concern is the Environment Department looking into ways of tightening regulations surrounding the importation of hunting trophies from overseas. There seems to be a lot of misinformation on this issue. A major concern to us was the public statements made by backbencher federal Liberal MP Jason Wood, who seems to have broadcast information that is grossly misinformed, especially relating to so-called ‘canned’ hunting in South Africa.

He is promoting ‘canned’ hunting as the way trophy hunting occurs in South Africa, when in fact, ‘canned’ hunting is already illegal. Animal rights activists from the For Love of Wildlife group have been able to persuade him to begin a crusade to do all he can to prevent Australian hunters from obtaining and importing trophies. The problem with his ambitions is the fact that only trophies from legal and regulated captive-breeding conservation programs that allow sustainable use can get CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) permits. This means no ‘canned’ material can be exported from South Africa to Australia anyway.

Such programs are the backbone of South African wildlife management and are the difference between communities supporting sustainable and growing populations of wildlife, and those that get a quick payment to turn a blind eye to poaching activates that decimate wildlife populations.

The other key issue apart from restricting trophy imports is that the wildlife in question that this particular MP wants to ‘protect’ will in fact be in a worse position. We know for a fact that the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), especially its Species Survival Commission, and Sustainable Use and Livelihood Specialist Group, strongly supports trophy hunting. With the industry supported by the IUCN and CITES, the focus of the Australian government should be, and only be, on the illegal trade of wildlife; not coming up with policies that will only do more harm to people and wildlife populations living in South Africa.

For those members who wish to be politically proactive in their area, I encourage you to put your concerns politely, but factually and firmly, in writing to your local MP or relevant minister, as well as visit www.ssaa.org.au for regular updates.

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