The entire SSAA federation consisting of the national and state and territory branches have released a detailed and unified response to a misleading report that unfairly criticised the independent state and territory gun laws compared to the National Firearms Agreement (NFA). Commissioned by anti-gun lobby group Gun Control Australia (GCA) and authored in part by known anti-gun writer Philip Alpers, the SSAA has labelled the report as nothing more than an opinion piece that should be treated as such.
Apart from the glaringly obvious fact that the report, Firearm Legislation in Australia: 21 years after the National Firearms Agreement, is based on the 1996 Agreement and not the current version that was updated in February 2017, the document has not been peer-reviewed as per academic standards and is littered with biased commentary.
The entire premise of the report, that the NFA is federal law, is actually incorrect: the NFA is a non-binding document. The intent was that it should serve as a guide for the state and territory governments when formulating their own firearm regulations and legislation in their independent jurisdictions, keeping in mind their unique circumstances to best suit their constituents.
Each state and territory SSAA branch has responded line-by-line to the claims made in the report relevant to the corresponding jurisdictions. As the table clearly shows, the report contains obvious errors, misleading and subjective statements and very few facts.
The SSAA has slammed the authors’ offensive insinuation that shooters represent a public safety risk if they handle a firearm before the age of 18, as it attempts to shame our vulnerable youth who are merely participating in a legitimate activity. The SSAA is proud to facilitate the involvement of our youth, along with the less-able, families and women, in the proud Australian tradition of hunting and safe, fun and all-abilities sport of shooting.
The SSAA will continue to encourage and train the future generation of competitive sporting shooters, hunter-gatherers and cullers, while instilling basic firearms safety in our growing membership and promoting sensible firearms laws among our lawmakers, as we have done since 1948.