SSAA NSW PLAYS ITS PART TO STOP COVID-19, BUT OPPOSES ANY ATTEMPT TO UNFAIRLY TARGET LAW-ABIDING FIREARM OWNERS AND STORES

SSAA NSW, as a forward-thinking, outward-leaning and law-abiding Peak Association, has been ahead of the curve in decision making due to COVID-19. This is to ensure the safety of our members, volunteers, staff, all law-abiding firearms owners (LAFOs) and of course, the general public.

For this reason, SSAA NSW has:

  • postponed SHOT Expo without financial penalty and working with the industry to hold it next year;
  • closed SSAA NSW ranges;
  • worked with Branches and ranges on their transition to closing their range;
  • encouraged Branches who cannot meet social distancing guidelines, or had concerns, to postpone their AGMs (SSAA NSW provided a pathway for this to occur by seeking exemptions from the Department of Fair Trading);
  • closed the SSAA NSW office physically to the public with several weeks of preparation and testing for staff to transition towards working from home, with the necessary technology to ensure member requests can continue to be handled;
  • advocated for exemptions of mandatory attendances a month in advance of COVID-19 restrictions to ensure law-abiding firearms owners are not penalised for incomplete attendances, as a result of COVID-19;
  • liaised with relevant stakeholders on the impacts of COVID-19;
  • followed Government’s advice to close St Mary’s Indoor Shooting Centre (as a 50% owner of the centre);
  • provided regular updates to our members regarding varied issues from social distancing guidelines to closure of State Forests; and
  • participated in many more decisions, activities and strategies with relation to the effect of COVID-19 on our organisation and our sport.

Pandemic Impact

SSAA NSW, like all other organisations and businesses, has been significantly impacted by the pandemic and continues to work through the impact on a daily basis. We understand the need to stop the spread of the pandemic for the safety of all Australians and we are willing to play our part.

We understand and accept that decisions are being made across the board for health reasons. That is fair and we all have our role to play.

Targeted and Unfair Treatment of LAFOs

SSAA NSW is aware of recent announcements in other states where decisions have not been across the board but, rather, have been targeted at law-abiding firearms owners. This appears to be unfair treatment and political point scoring.

We are concerned that those states have closed firearm shops citing “public safety.” However, the rhetoric surrounding this implies that law-abiding firearms owners may not be law-abiding during a pandemic.

All law-abiding firearms owners are unlike members of other sporting and activity groups. They are background checked before even being allowed to participate in their chosen sport and operate in the most regulated industry in NSW and Australia.

When a licence is issued, it is because the NSW Police Force has undergone a rigorous process in deciding that an individual is law-abiding.

SSAA NSW, its members and law-abiding firearms owners take their licences seriously. This includes:

  • providing a framework of higher safety and practical training more than requirements dictate;
  • assisting Government in pest control programs and other support;
  • assisting the agricultural sector to continue to operate;
  • undertaking conservation and wildlife management programs;
  • representing law-abiding persons from all parts of the community;
  • assisting to ensure Australia’s food security by the activities we are asked to undertake; and
  • actively opposing all criminal behaviour and calling upon governments to impose higher penalties for those who commit firearm related crime.

We call out the disappointing closure of firearms stores in Western Australia and Queensland on what appears to be a mindset that law-abiding firearms owners cannot stay that way during a pandemic.

In Queensland, it was cited that the closure of firearms stores was due to public health and the view that they were non-essential shops.  This call was made, despite the Prime Minister and the National Cabinet stating that all jobs are essential and as long as all rules relating to social distancing continue to be followed, businesses can remain open.

Further, the Queensland Government continued to hold compulsory voting elections on the same weekend that the rest of Australia was asked to avoid meeting in groups of more than two.

Economic Importance

Collectively, we are a sector that employs hundreds of thousands of people directly and indirectly. The firearms industry contributes billions of dollars to the economy every year, including in regional areas where it is needed.

Law-abiding firearm owners and firearm registries need law-abiding firearm shops to remain open, as they are on the front line ensuring that legislation is complied with, particularly regarding firearm registrations and transfers.  Without firearms shops open, Governments would need to allocate significantly more resources to take over the physical management of firearms.

We are no more or less important than any other sector and as such, should not be treated differently to anyone else during this pandemic or at any other time. Our leaders keep saying, being Australian is about being equal and we agree. We are all in this together, as equals!

Opposing Targeted Treatment

SSAA NSW does not oppose any action or measure, including the closure of firearm stores, if that was the case for all other businesses in the interest of stopping the spread of COVID-19. However, we do oppose such closures of firearm stores only on the basis that the Government are targeting law abiding firearm owners not connected with COVID-19.

We are thankful that the NSW Government to date has not taken this step unlike some other states. We encourage them to ensure that this remains the case. SSAA NSW has been in regular contact with the NSW Firearms Registry over the past month seeking exemptions for all law-abiding firearms owners over mandatory attendances. We expect to hear good news in this regard in the new future, as a result of our advocacy in this space.

As your Peak Association we are keen to play our part in stopping the spread of COVID-19 but will not sit back idly if it is used to unfairly target law-abiding firearms owners.

Thank you,

Lance Miller - President, SSAA NSW
Jai Rowell - CEO, SSAA NSW

COVID-19 SCAMS AND CYBERCRIME

Recently, we have seen widespread reports of email and text message scams during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Many of these scams have attempted to impersonate Government bodies and departments as well as large scale organisations. Some scams have also requested personal financial details from recipients.
 
While our organisation has not been affected by any scams at this time, we would like to take every precaution in assisting our members to identify legitimate SSAA NSW communications.
 
The easiest way to spot a scam via email is by looking at the email address of the sender. Any communications from SSAA NSW will come from an email address ending in “@nsw.ssaa.org.au” ie. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . This method is not fool proof and can still be hacked, however, an incorrect email address is the most obvious form of a scam. 
 
In addition, SSAA NSW would not send any form of communication requesting personal financial information via text message or email. If you are in doubt regarding any online/text message communication from us, please do not hesitate to call us on (02) 8889 0400 to request clarification.
 
If you have suffered financial loss from cybercrime, report it to ReportCyber at www.cyber.gov.au/report
 

Junior Camp Postponed

SSAA NSW advises that the 2020 SSAA NSW Junior Camp will be postponed to next year due to the ongoing restrictions regarding COVID-19 (Coronavirus).

We value the health and safety of all our members, volunteers, general public, staff and of course our juniors. This decision has not been taken lightly, but it is necessary at this time.

The World Health Organisation has declared COVID-19 a pandemic. Governments all over the world, including the Australian and NSW Government, are responding to its rapid spread. We are advised that although this new strain of virus has been likened to the flu, it is much more contagious and appears to have a higher mortality rate. As a new virus, at present, the worldwide population has minimal immunity.

The Government and Chief Medical Officer’s responses are rapidly changing and increasing in severity, with new containment measures being introduced multiple times a week.

SSAA NSW continues to monitor the situation around the clock and is in contact with relevant authorities. Like all other law-abiding and responsible organisations, we are following advice.

Thank you for doing your part in ensuring a healthy Australia and protecting our sport and activities.

Lance Miller - President, SSAA NSW
Jai Rowell - CEO, SSAA NSW

SSAA NSW Range Closures Following Latest Government Announcement

COVID-19

The World Health Organisation has declared COVID-19 a pandemic. Governments all over the world, including the Australian and NSW Government, are responding to its rapid spread.

We are advised that although this new strain of virus has been likened to the flu, it is much more contagious and appears to have a higher mortality rate. As a new virus, at present, the worldwide population has minimal immunity.

The Government and Chief Medical Officer’s responses are rapidly changing and increasing in severity, with new containment measures being introduced multiple times a week.

SSAA NSW continues to monitor the situation around the clock and is in contact with relevant authorities. Like all other law-abiding and responsible organisations, we are following advice.

Most Recent Update from National Cabinet: Sporting Activities

Last night the National Cabinet met. This meeting included the Prime Minister, Premier, Chief Ministers from all States and Territories and the Chief Medical Officer. At the conclusion of the meeting, the Prime Minister announced many new restrictions and measures with relation to travel bans and social gatherings.

One of those measures was that from midnight tonight sporting activities should not occur. As a result of that advice and the escalation of the COVID-19 Pandemic SSAA NSW has put the following into place effective midnight tonight:

ALL SSAA NSW OWNED RANGES:

  • Will be closed from end of today until further notice.

RANGES WHERE SSAA NSW DO NOT OWN THE RANGE BUT A SSAA BRANCH OPERATES THE RANGE:

  • In this circumstance, SSAA NSW advises Branches to close the range by the end of today if not already closed until further notice.

RANGES WHERE SSAA NSW DO NOT OWN THE RANGE AND THE SSAA BRANCH DO NOT OPERATE THE RANGE BUT HAVE ACCESS TO ONE:

  • In this circumstance, SSAA NSW advises SSAA Branches to advise members not to shoot at the range in the unlikely event the range is still open by the end of today until further notice.

Safety

Due to the announcement of the National Cabinet and until lifted by it, SSAA NSW advises members not to shoot at any range after the end of today until further notice.

SSAA NSW cannot enforce a lockdown on a range that we do not own or direct an individual’s activity in that regard. However, we do strongly advise that everyone abides by Government and Health advice.

Insurance may not cover people who do not follow Government and Health advice in this regard and certainly would not provide cover in the event a law is breached.

SSAA NSW has not made this decision lightly. Safety is our paramount concern; for our members, volunteers, staff and the general public.

SSAA NSW also notes the closures of some ranges independently before this date and thanks everyone for their co-operation.

Already, large sporting events including the Olympics, NRL, AFL, Soccer and Netball have been cancelled. Last night’s announcement is an additional measure advised by Government and Health about general community sporting activities.

Advocacy Regarding Attendances

Effectively, this temporarily halts shooting at ranges and this may affect attendance requirements of members into the future.

As emailed to members last week, SSAA NSW have been in regular contact with the Firearms Registry regarding the requirement of completing attendances. SSAA NSW have sought exemptions for all SSAA NSW members at this time due to the escalating events regarding COVID-19.

We are expecting a decision to be made shortly in this regard and will communicate with all members once it is received.

SSAA NSW took the proactive step to advocate on your behalf almost three weeks ago as the trajectory of restrictions and social distancing was escalating. Firearms Registry have sought legal advice.

In the meantime, any licence holder who cannot comply with their annual shooting requirements can be assessed on a case by case basis.

As your peak Association, SSAA NSW took the lead on this issue for the benefit of all law abiding firearms owners and we expect a positive result soon.

Thank You

The COVID-19 pandemic will subside and Government and health restrictions will eventually be eased. At that time, SSAA NSW will work with all stakeholders to get our sport and activities up and running as soon as we can.

We thank you for your understanding regarding decisions that are being made in the interests of public safety and are beyond our control. Everyone is in this together and updates will continue to be provided as they come to hand.

Thank you for doing your part in ensuring a healthy Australia and protecting our sport and activities.

Lance Miller - President, SSAA NSW
Jai Rowell - CEO, SSAA NSW

ATTENDANCE REQUIREMENTS - SSAA NSW ADVOCACY

As emailed to members last week, SSAA NSW have been in regular contact with the Firearms Registry regarding the requirement of completing attendances. SSAA NSW have sought exemptions for all SSAA NSW members at this time due to the escalating events regarding COVID-19.

We are expecting a decision to be made shortly in this regard and will communicate with all members once it is received.

We have been advised that there may be the need for a legislative fix in the form of a temporary amendment to allow registry to deviate from any requirements prescribed by the Act / Regulations.

SSAA NSW took the proactive step to advocate on your behalf almost three weeks ago as the trajectory of restrictions was getting worse in terms of social distancing. Firearms Registry have sought legal advice.

In the meantime, any licence holder who cannot comply with their annual shooting requirements can be assessed on a case by case basis.

As your peak Association, SSAA NSW took the lead on this issue for the benefit of all law abiding firearms owners and we expect a positive result soon.

Download SSAA NSW Standard Branch Constitution here

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