MEDIA RELEASE - Record attendance at SSAA SHOT Expo boosted by 7 News Story

More than 15,000 people attended the 2016 Sydney SSAA SHOT Expo over the weekend making it the largest event in its history.

SSAA SHOT Expo, the only event of its kind in Australia, was held at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 June and is Australia’s premier event for the sports shooting industry. Sydney’s Expo included over 160 exhibitors and showcased the latest on offer for shooting, hunting and outdoor activities.

“The record attendance was no doubt boosted by the sensationalised and misleading story aired by Channel 7 News on Saturday evening. The story, and reporter Mike Duffy, attempted to portray law abiding firearms owners in a negative light and incite unnecessary fear within our community. This clearly backfired and we’d like to thank Channel 7 for the valuable free publicity,” Diana Melham, Executive Director of the Sporting Shooters Association of Australia (NSW) Inc, said.

“Attendance on Sunday soared with visitors wanting to find out more about our sport which includes target shooting, recreational hunting and collecting. It also gave us an opportunity to correct the misleading, dishonest and inaccurate commentary too often espoused by the media and anti-gun campaigners.”

Those interviewed participated in good faith and were keen to provide an accurate insight into our sport. Unfortunately, but not unexpectedly, the story uses quotes out of context and distorted video footage of Expo visitors using wooden stocks with scopes in an attempt to portray that it’s easy to obtain a firearm.

“In fact, here in NSW we abide by some of the strictest firearms laws in the world which govern all aspects of our sport including licensing as well as firearm ownership, registration, use, storage and transport; plus requirements for mandatory police background checks and waiting periods,” Ms Melham said.

An event such as SSAA SHOT Expo requires meticulous planning, permits and inspections by NSW Police, strict protocols for the display, inspection and purchase of firearms, along with a significant security presence throughout the event.

“It’s a shame that negative media focus remains on law abiding firearm owners, when it’s been widely acknowledged by politicians and regulators at State and Federal levels that the problem is illegal firearms and the criminals that use them in their commission of crime.”

According to figures from the Australian Institute of Criminology, less than 3% of firearms stolen from licensed firearm owners are subsequently used to commit a crime, yet the myth that all firearms used in illegal activities started off as legal firearms still exists.

Ms Melham, who was interviewed by Mike Duffy for more than 15 minutes believes the Expo will continue to grow as it travels around the country and returns to Sydney in 2018.

“Despite the story, we’re still happy to honour our offer to assist Mike with obtaining his firearms licence given the keenness he expressed for this on the day,” Ms Melham said.

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