SSAA-LA counters wayward opinion piece against junior sporting shooters

Once again shooters have been the target of an emotive opinion piece that demonstrates the lack of understanding surrounding our safe, fun and all-abilities sport. Published across News Corp websites and in the Queensland Sunday Mail on July 17, the article ‘Gun laws save lives’ was immediately identified as warranting a frank and forthright response from the law-abiding shooting community.

The SSAA Legislative Action (SSAA-LA) department wrote a letter to the editor raising our concerns with the published piece, which criticised the teaching of safe firearms handling to those under the age of 18, pointing out that we respect the opinion of the author but sought fair right of reply. Disappointingly, our letter has not been published and we have received no response from the News Corp publication.

Members are encouraged to read our letter below and email the newspaper directly to raise any further concerns.

Letter to the editor

The opinion piece ‘Gun laws save lives’ (Sunday Mail, 17/7/16) is a disappointing example of emotional hysteria. In one breath, the author praises the “tradition of genuine, talented sports shooters” but seems to think reaching the elite level can be achieved without any safe firearms training or experience prior to age 18. Aislin Jones, 16, has been shooting since she obtained her junior firearms permit at age 12. She is now representing Australia at the Olympic Games next month, a feat that would not be possible without exposure to the safe, fun and all-abilities sport of shooting from a young age.

While we as shooters respect the right to an opinion, we also demand the same respect be shown to ours, particularly with first-hand experience in the matter. On behalf of one million licensed firearm owners, we have sent Ms Martyn-Jones a copy of our introductory education guide to sports shooting, which shows just how seriously we take our sport and the emphasis placed on safety and responsibility.

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