The gun lobby is as insidious as it is deceptive. Note these grubby consequences of the secret deal that the Victorian Labor Party did with the gun lobby in 2006, when it was led by Premier Steve Bracks.
Masssive Victorian Shooting Range Secrecy
In 2006 a massive set of shooting ranges, under the title of a state target centre, was planned by the Bracks government and major Victorian gun groups. Gun Control Australia’s experience with shooting ranges is that they can create enormous disturbance to families living within four kilometers of the shooting – percussion rates of one shot per second have been recorded in the past.
When the final three sites were drawn up, GCA asked the government to reveal them to the public so that families living near the range could make formal complaint about the development if they so chose. (Note: gun noise travels about 5 kilometers in the direction of firing)
The (Baillieu) government refused; so last November Gun Control Australia asked the Tribunal (VCAT) to help protect the public.
At VCAT, Gun Control Australia’s arguments were well received and the government decided to entirely withdraw the three proposed sites.
Thus, at this moment, the public has been protected from the underhandedness of the Bracks and Brumby governments. Of course, little honour goes to the Baillieu government, but at least that government did withdraw the proposed massive shooting range development sites. This means that people have some chance of resisting the development should a future range cause disturbance to them.
GCA is not objecting to the range, but the underhandedness and anti-public bias of the government and the shooter groups who wanted the range.
Gun Control Australia’s past experience has shown that many shooter groups are selfish and deceptive and have no accountability morality when it comes to their self-interest. Indeed, we have found that some of them can be quite ruthless.
Inadequate Safety Training for Shooters
In 2008 a Victorian country shooting group was given the right by law to control what knowledge is required of people who want to own a long-gun legally. This was an extraordinary and sickening failure of responsibility by Bracks and Brumby.
We know that gun clubs strongly opposed the introduction of the improved gun laws that came about after the six gun massacres of 1987 (32 murdered) and the two gun massacres of 1996 (41 murdered) Thousands of shooters marched through the streets of Melbourne in an effort to stop the improved gun laws.
We have known for over six years that the stricter gun laws of post 1987 and post 1996 have been wonderfully successful (gun homicide and gun suicide rates are now one third of what they were before the stricter gun laws) Yet despite these facts, Bracks and Brumby placed the training to get a gun into the hands of a group of hardened duck shooters.
The results are disastrous; Shooter Licence applicants are given minimal, childish type training (eg. No history of gun law development and the importance of our gun laws. No proper indication of the damage done by legal gun owners in Victoria) and then, outrageously, always awarded their pass to legally own guns. To rub salt into the public’s wounds, the Bracks/Brumby government gave official rights to the (mainly) hardened old duck shooters to develop gun courses for schools. To us in Gun Control Australia, this was an appalling decision. Surely investigative journalists must study why the Bracks/Brumby governments sold-out to the gun lobby during the 2006-2009 period.
It seems to us that the Victorian Branch of the ALP is becoming a curse to the people of that state.