The SSAA, our members and licensed firearms owners have once again experienced a tumultuous few weeks of politics and negativity towards our chosen sport and pastime, with a new import Adler lever-action shotgun exposed to selective and biased media coverage.
When news of the Adler broke in June, it was reported in an audacious way using terms such as ‘rapid fire’ and ‘new technology’, which caused undue unrest with some politicians. The SSAA received many inquiries from concerned members regarding this negative media coverage, with some questioning possible restrictions extending to other lever-action firearms.
As the SSAA National President, I can assure members that the SSAA has been actively investigating the situation and has been in contact with the authorities regarding any proposed changes to current regulations. SSAA National will be meeting with the Federal Attorney-General’s Department this month, where we will discuss this issue, along with the ongoing review into the technicalities of the National Firearms Agreement (NFA).
At a federal level, we have been assured by Justice Minister Michael Keenan’s office that no decision has been made regarding the NFA. We have also been guaranteed that there will be consultation with key stakeholders including the SSAA and firearms industry representatives before any changes are made. Any recommendations will not be considered until the next Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting, scheduled for 2016. Update: A decision to temporarily ban the importation of the Adler lever-action shotgun was made on July 26 and we wrote an open letter to Justice Minister Keenan about the issue on July 27.
Members may be aware that we issued a press release raising our concerns about the media coverage surrounding lever-actions, and we have responded to many media calls. I also penned a frank and forthright opinion piece for a newspaper highlighting our concerns. The press release and my opinion column are available on our website, which has recently been revamped to a more modern, user-friendly and aesthetically pleasing platform.
While we note that some firearms groups have suggested there could be a ban on lever-actions, at this stage we do not believe this to be the case.
If members would like to contact their local MP, this would be a good opportunity to remind politicians that the resources and time of police and authorities would be better spent targeting the illegal firearms threat, rather than further onerous regulations against licensed, law-abiding firearms owners.
On another note, I would personally like to express my gratitude to our members for the solid and consistent support, particularly in difficult and challenging times. The SSAA is a broad church. We are proud to cater for the obvious sports shooters and recreational hunters, but more often than not, this goes hand in hand with a love of the great outdoors.
Many of our members also participate in recreational fishing, four-wheel driving adventures, boating, camping and other activities that allow them to enjoy the outdoors, in a society that sometimes relies too heavily on technology to provide entertainment. It is because of our members’ love of the great outdoors that the SSAA can actively play a part in restoring and preserving the environment.
In a time when families are living in smaller houses and our cities are rapidly expanding, the concept of ‘environment’ is changing. We encourage our members to remain connected with the great Australian outback, the natural environment, and reap the physical, mental and overall health benefits that come with simply being outdoors.
I thank you for your unwavering support, and I can assure you that the SSAA will continue to actively protect our members’ interests and freedoms as we have done since 1948.