When in 2006 the then Premier of Victoria, Steve Bracks, decided to attract votes from gun devotees he told them that the National Party had let them down and that Labor would give them what they want. It was in our opinion one of the most unprincipled deals made in the history of Victorian politics.
His actions gave them too-strong a voice in environmental matters, but crucially, it gave them rights to develop a course for Shooters Licence applicants. Passing this course allows you to buy guns legally.
This meant that instead of the police, the medical profession and an independent training institution such as TAFE colleges developing a serious course of practical and theoretical instruction in all the important matters that owners of killing devices should face, it was in our opinion left to a gun club to arrange to just about give away Shooters Licences and hence allow anyone who wanted to own a gun, to own a gun without proper pre-instruction.
To launder the ALP deal, Bracks made legal arrangements for the predominately gun club shooters to call themselves the ‘Firearms Safety Foundation’.
The Shooters Licence safety course needs many improvements, these are some of them:
1. It needs to be a proper test because at present the system ensures that everyone passes. It is ridiculous that everyone passes – this wasn’t always so
2. Proper training for a device specifically designed to kill easily and cheaply requires prolonged disciplined theoretical and practical instruction, say 40 hours
3. The instruction must be in the hands of an accredited and highly respected instruction institution with instructors who are responsible professional teachers, independent of gun doctrine ideological values
4. Written tests need to be used to prevent the ease of ‘quick tick cheating’
5. The segment on gun laws must show how our gun laws developed since Federation and are necessary for public safety
6. A segment needs to be taught on the difficulties that organized shooter groups have put in the way of the Australian public obtaining improved gun laws
7. The deaths and injuries caused by ill-intent or carelessness by legal gun owners must be made clear, as should the contribution of gun using criminals.
8. A five yearly up-date should be required to be taken. This may only require a few hours instruction and one exam.
When will the present Victorian government enact legislation to overcome the ALP’s shoddy gun safety heritage and help prevent the present three yearly hunter killings?