In two disgraceful actions at the close of year 2001 the shooting community has once again shown itself to have supreme selfishness and little or no interest in community safety. One action involves the UN and the other the Australian Federal Government.
United Nations. In one of the great heartbreaking decisions of 2001 the ‘United Nations Conference on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All its Aspects’ has failed the public trust. By pandering to its gun loving elements, the US delegation held out against any major break through in the potential for success for this important UN committee. Against great disapproval by the clear majority of the world’s nations the US delegation to the UN refused to cooperate with others and it’s obvious that the result was a major let-down for the hopes of all those nations who see illicit weapons as a threat to the welfare of their populations.
The US view was backed by the Sporting Shooters Association of Australia (SSAA). Not surprisingly Sally Joss of the International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA) said:
The conference has squandered a golden opportunity to commit itself to proactive measures needed to tackle gun violence around the world.
Rebecca Peters of the Open Society Institute in New York said:
It’s unbelievably selfish that the most powerful nation in the world, which produces more than half of all the small weapons in the world is prepared to jeopardise the safety of millions of people in other countries purely for the sake of pandering to its own domestic lobbying interests.
What do the Sporting Shooters (SSAA )care about such consequences?
The SSAA opposed a sensible thorough training and testing scheme for gun licence applicants. Late in 2001 the Howard government was to announce a small but quite useful improvement to Australian gun laws regarding the important gun law area of shooter training. The SSAA have been desperate in their efforts to stop the new improved course and brought pressure on Attorney General Senator Chris Ellison via themselves and pro-gun politicians. They proudly claim to have made Ellison crumble and to rethink the entire scheme in their favour.
The SSAA also wants a National Firearms Consultative Committee so that it can persuade politicians to become more pro-gun in their deliberations. They claim Prime Minister Howard supports them. Remember 1996-7 – the days when you could be proud of Howard?
It seems that the Sporting Shooters (SSAA) don’t care much about public safety. One wonders when a truly publicly responsible gun group will emerge in Australia.