Following the announcement of a national firearms amnesty set to begin from next month, the Australian Greens Party has taken a swipe at the influence wielded by the collective power of the legitimate firearms community. In a speech delivered to Parliament, Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon expressed her “deep concern” at the inclusion of gun groups in government discussions about firearms, singling out the SSAA.
The New South Wales Senator, who is under fire from her fellow Greens colleagues for breaching their trust and party rules during the stoush over education reforms, questioned why our proud association was included in the National Firearms Agreement (NFA) review. She argued that Gun Control Australia (GCA) should have also been included.
The SSAA would like to remind the Senator that our association represents 185,000 constituents, runs a long-standing research department and has been a valued resource on firearms for governments of both political persuasions since 1948. The GCA, on the other hand, refused to disclose its membership when asked point blank at a government inquiry and regularly relies on emotion instead of evidence to attack our legitimate recreation.
While Senator Rhiannon labelled our inclusion in government discussions as “very dangerous”, we contend that consulting a reputable organisation, with a wealth of learned and practical firearms knowledge, is good practice. However, taking policy advice from groups based on personal views is by far a more dangerous way of forming or changing laws.
Senator Rhiannon also expressed concern surrounding donations from some of our SSAA branches to politicians who support our cause. She accused the government of “hanging out with the gun lobby and taking their donations” and even singled out Senator Bridget McKenzie for her outspoken support of our recreation. The SSAA will always back those who support sensible firearms policy and call out those who unfairly attack our recreation.
The tired old line for a blanket ban on self-loading handguns “to be brought in immediately” in the name of “public safety” was again pushed by the Senator. She lamented the apparent use of handguns in murders and the “many suicides, drive-by killings and people injured in a large number of shocking acts”. This passion for such “shocking acts” has so far not been seen regarding recent shooting incidents that involved unregistered and illegal firearms.
While the SSAA respects freedom of speech and encourages sensible debate, we will not stand idly by when our legitimate recreation is lambasted under the false pretence of “public safety”. This latest attack once again proves why the Greens party remains unworthy of any shooter’s vote.