SSAA seeks truth on misleading Greens comments surrounding illicit firearms market

After countless insulting and misleading comments in the media by certain members of the Australian Greens Party regarding the illicit firearms market, SSAA National has written to the two key government bodies often quoted as the source of the deliberately spun claims.

In our open letters to the Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) and Australian Crime Commission (ACC) we highlight statements made by outgoing Senator Penny Wright and New South Wales MP David Shoebridge that appear to skew the reality of the impact stolen firearms from licensed owners are having on the illicit market.

Senator Wright has time and time again claimed that “It is an inconvenient fact for gun advocates that the primary source of illicit guns is theft - as stated by the Australian Crime Commission and the Australian Institute of Criminology - and many of those guns have been stolen from legal owners.”

NSW MP David Shoebridge has also stated that “just one percent of illegal firearms come from illegal imports”.

In our letters, we seek clarification from the AIC and ACC on the fact that unregistered firearms not handed in before the registration and licensing process was implemented is a main contributor to the illicit market, with the illicit market previously referred to as the black or grey market. SSAA National is concerned that this is a point the Greens deliberately and continuously exclude at the expense of licensed firearm owners, who often feel vilified and unfairly blamed for the illicit market.

Our letters express our concerns that research from the AIC and ACC is “used in a misleading attempt to suit the agenda of a political party”.

“Mr Shoebridge does not clarify that his above quote is based on reported incidents of firearm theft from licensed owners, with the result based on financial year data provided by Australian state and territory police services regarding reported stolen firearms,” we write.

“It is misleading to exclude this fact, as it is highly unlikely, if not improbable, that the criminal with an illegal or unregistered firearm would report any theft, hence of course the studies would account for a higher number of firearms stolen from licensed owners.”

We are awaiting a response from the respective agencies and will inform our members of the true reality of the illicit market once received.

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