During April 2012 the website of the Sporting Shooters Association of Australia (SSAA) has a message from its National President, Bob Green. His message tells readers about the role of privately owned guns used as a pastime and recreation.
April 28th 2012 is the 16th anniversary of the Port Arthur gun murder of 35 people, so Australians may well choose to recall the part played by the SSAA in trying to prevent the introduction of the very successful gun laws that came into operation following that tragic event.
No group in Australia tried harder to stop the improved gun laws than the SSAA. Indeed, no group is trying harder, now, to destroy those wonderfully successful gun laws than the SSAA.
Background – Gun Law History Over Recent Decades
In the three decade span between the mid 1950’s and the mid 1980’s Australia experienced very high yearly rates of gun deaths. During this period shooter groups were the government’s main reference advisors on gun laws.
In 1987 there were six gun massacres, 32 were murdered with guns. Most murderers held their guns legally.
Soon, most Australian jurisdictions made stricter gun laws resulting in a significant lowering of gun homicide and gun suicide rates. The SSAA organized a march of almost 30,000 shooters through the streets of Melbourne in an attempt to stop the proposed gun law improvements being enacted.
In early 1996 a dedicated shooter murdered six members of his family at a suburb of Brisbane and on 28 April 35 were murdered by a young man called Martin Bryant, at Port Arthur in Tasmania.
In the following year or two stricter gun laws were introduced by most Australian jurisdictions resulting in further lowering of the gun homicide and gun suicide rates. The SSAA organized shooter marches in capital cities aimed at stopping the proposed new gun laws being enacted.
In 2002-03, against the SSAA’s wishes, stricter controls were also introduced on handguns following the gun murder of two students at Monash University.
By 2004 it was becoming clear that the combination of new gun laws had been most effective and this was supported by subsequent statistics.
About one third of the number of people who used to be murdered with guns before stricter gun laws came about in the period 1988 to 2003 are now murdered with guns. About one third of the number of people who used to die from self-inflicted gun wounds now do so.
Perhaps about 2000 more Australians are alive now because of the stricter gun laws. This change has occurred since governments followed the public’s wishes regarding gun laws and not the wishes of Australia’s major shooting groups.
Shooter Groups Deplorable Attitude to the Above Evidence
Once it was obvious the stricter gun laws were working, the SSAA set about concealing the facts from politicians and public. In academic papers and media interviews SSAA representatives ridiculed the stricter gun laws in the hope of covering–up the true facts – this has continued till today, in what is an extraordinary and sickening attack on the interests of the general public.
So when, in his April 2012 message, SSAA president Bob Green tells you about the less harsh side of shooting, as in these words:
……… the Victorian duck hunting season opened, with hunters legitimately harvesting what nature provides them in the form of green, lean and healthy alternatives to our diets. No doubt, there were many members who took to the field to help reduce the impacts of foxes, rabbits, feral goats and pigs on our native wildlife or to find some meat for the family dinner table.
Please remember the SSAA’s attempt to stop the stricter gun laws that have saved about 2000 lives and the ugly side of the SSAA’s aims that are not mentioned, eg, the SSAA’s continued attempts to have almost all types of guns as readily available in Australia as they are in America – regardless of the sickening consequences to public safety.
But, above all, remember how, at Port Arthur on the 28th of April, 16 years ago, in the Broad Arrow café, Victorian mother Mrs Carolyn Loughton threw herself on top of her 15 year-old daughter, Sarah, in a desperate attempt to save her life from a young man with a semi-automatic rifle. Then go to the Melbourne suburban cemetery and on Sarah’s grave, read the mother’s heart-breaking tribute to her daughter.
Suddenly you’ll find you have learnt something about the dark side of Australia’s ruthlessly selfish gun lobby.