SSAA members will do the right thing in extraordinary times

COVID-19 - gun shops closed and hunting banned. It didn’t take long for the sanctimonious few to show their true bias, clearly looking for any excuse and opportunity to demonise and disadvantage legitimate firearms owners and shooters - occupational or recreational - ostensibly the most regulated and trusted group in the country.

Decrees made totally oblivious to the perfectly valid claims to have highly regulated firearms-related activities continue in the current crisis, albeit with the compliant and well-managed restrictions already being observed by shooting organisations, groups and individuals.

You could reasonably assume there are serious political agendas at play here given the states which have been pre-eminent in restricting our specific activities, even making quite pointed but unsubstantiated announcements implying firearms owners were an increased risk to public order and of contributing to domestic violence, clearly fear-mongering and politicking. I implore you to identify your state’s position in relation to firearms owners and remember this when your next state election comes around. The Federal Government has not made any such decrees, just several states to a greater or lesser degree.

Thanks to the mammoth efforts of your respective SSAA organisations, quite a number of concessions and adjustments to these decrees and existing regulations have already been made and this has been achieved, not by rattling around in the empty tin can of Facebook and online forums, but by sensible representation and negotiation on behalf of our members. But even then it may not be enough to pay the bills to keep a legitimate gunshop open and viable even with reduced capacity and costs. Nevertheless, SSAA will continue to represent its members and supporters at every opportunity.

Of course, SSAA and its members understand and appreciate the seriousness of the current health crisis in Australia and at the risk of sounding patronising, I call on all members to “do the right thing” and comply with all reasonable directions. I’m confident that we as responsible citizens are already doing just that, as frustrating as the side play is.

Be assured, SSAA has already made all the necessary adjustments to protect its staff and continues to provide all of your benefits as SSAA members including continuing membership services to provide genuine reason for firearms ownership, member insurance, firearms insurance, publications production, SSAA social media updates and legislation lobbying as is currently applicable. If you notice a slight delay in receiving any SSAA service I ask you to bear with us, as continuing a full service as we are does require some juggling.

I’d suggest this might be a great opportunity to catch up on your reading and research through the Australian Shooter, Australian Hunter, Women’s Shooter, Junior Shooter and Great Australian Outdoors, apart from the myriad of video segments and research articles available through the SSAA website and associated links.

You’ll notice that Women’s Shooter and Junior Shooter will be only available online during the current crisis in order to contain costs and of course Australian Shooter is always available online to members for your convenience.

Any shooting range openings are at the direction of the branch or club responsible for adherence to non-essential gatherings and social distancing restrictions as need to be managed. Please be patient with those responsible. In the absence of active shooting I’m sure we all have firearms cleaning, maintenance or reconfiguration to be done apart from reloading and preparation for a return to the range or bush.

The most important thing for all of us in these extraordinary times is to show that as SSAA members we are responsible, will abide by the rules as frustrating as they might be and, most importantly, stay safe.

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