We are already a third of the way through the year and while our recreation has faced some political challenges, there is no doubt that sports shooting and recreational hunting is in a strong position. Participation rates are at an all-time high, the product range for firearm enthusiasts provides value for money and the local industry in Australia continues to grow.
Your SSAA is also expanding - so much so that the National Office that accommodates our dedicated Media & Publications, Wildlife Programs and SSAA Legislative Action departments has recently relocated to larger premises. Moving from a small, cramped facility to the new office will enable us to increase our services, including the ability to house our own video production unit, along with hosting meetings internally. This will save the Association money in the long run while providing our members with further benefits.
Our expansion comes at a time when the Federal Government quietly released an updated National Firearms Agreement (NFA), following what only can be described as a disingenuous review process. Sign up to our SSAA-LA email updates and Facebook page to receive the latest factual information in real time.
To utilise our 180,000-plus members in responding to the new NFA and to aid our lobbying efforts, we encourage those concerned with the process and outcomes to contact their local and federal member directly. In addition to this, I encourage you to simply go out there and enjoy your sport. Continue participating in your local club activities, visit your range more often or plan a hunting trip: protect your recreation by embracing it.
Of course, there are naysayers who continue to oppose our activities. The extreme animal rights group PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) recently attacked one of the oldest pastimes of hunting, resorting to puerile calls for the Australian rock band Hunters & Collectors to change its name. It was refreshing to see that this ridiculous publicity stunt was largely lambasted, even by the mainstream media.
Another anti-hunting group, the Australian Greens Party, revealed the true colors of its Western Australia branch. Responding to requests about its stance on firearms in the lead-up to the recent WA election, the group used the opportunity to condemn the use of ‘weapons’ of any kind - including in outer space! This immature response confirmed just how out of touch and opposed to our recreation this group remains.
Finally, I would like to personally congratulate SSAA member and Rio Olympic Games shooter James Willett, who was recently named ‘Male Shooter of the Year’ - making it twice in as many years - following a series of world record performances on the international stage. James is a fantastic example of what can be achieved in our sport - the sky is well and truly the limit for today’s sports shooters.