Focus on illegal guns

The following Opinion piece was submitted to the Sydney Morning Herald for their consideration. After speaking with the SMH, they said they could only run the article if we agreed to wholesale changes. These changes included adding entirely new paragraphs of text, making several tired puns (such as "shoot from the hip") and, possibly worse of all, changing the word firearm to "weapons".

Earlier in the week the same paper had run several articles and opinion pieces involving anti-firearm campaigners.

Decide for yourself.

Focus on the illegal guns !!

"There's only one way to get real gun control: Disarm the thugs and the criminals, lock them up and if you don't actually throw away the key, at least lose it for a long time." – Former US President Ronald Reagan.

The issue of gun control is a topical one at the moment. Recent tragic events in the United States have caused many Australians to look at our own firearm laws.

And much has been made of a recent study showing that Australia has the same number of firearms today as we had in 1996 - before the horrific Port Arthur massacre. But an important point is being overlooked in these discussions.

Each of those firearms is a legal firearm. It is owned by a licensed, law abiding, firearm owner who has met and complied with some of the strictest gun laws anywhere in the World.

As I speak with non-shooters I often hear that Australia is developing some kind of American gun culture. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The truth is that here in NSW we have very strict laws which govern our sport. A person who wishes to legally purchase a firearm has to first show a genuine reason such as target shooting, hunting or collecting to obtain their firearms licence. They are also required to complete a theory and practical based firearm safety test and undergo an extensive police background check. They must also prove to Police that they have the facilities to store a firearm safely, and agree to regular police inspections of their safe storage.

The checklist for people wishing to purchase a handgun is even more rigorous with a six month probationary period where an applicant is required to attend regular practice shoots while under the strict supervision of Club officials.

Applying for a firearm in NSW is a lengthy process which can easily extend past twelve months.

What we need to focus on is illegal firearms.

The law makers that we entrust with these important decisions should be guided by one key question in relation to firearms.

Will this law stop criminals from obtaining illegal firearms?

Unfortunately, the answer is too often – no.

Just last year we learned that more than 200 illegal firearms had been sent through a suburban Australia Post office. In recent weeks we have all been shocked to learn about a small group of criminals working in Customs and Border Protection – our front line of defence against the very illegal firearms that we are seeing used in crime after crime after crime.

And earlier this week a senior NSW Police officer acknowledged that the illegal import of firearms was a major challenge for law enforcement.

SSAA NSW represents more than 44,000 members throughout the State who are subject to some of the strictest firearms laws in the World. We have athletes who have represented Australia at the highest level of international competition and juniors who hope to one day reach those lofty heights.

But every time they hear of a new shooting incident, they are left worrying what new laws the Government of the day will come up with to attack their sport.

As a member of the NSW Government’s Firearms Consultative Committee, SSAA NSW want to work with the Government on sensible and effective firearms laws.

But we must focus on the criminals with illegal firearms. We must make it harder for them to get their hands on illegal firearms. And when people are caught with illegal guns, we must make sure the punishment fits the crime.

Because no one wants illegal firearms off the street more than licensed, law abiding firearm owners.

Diana Melham

Executive Director

Sporting Shooters Association of Australia (NSW)


Statement on Firearms Consultative Committee

We would encourage anyone who wants to learn more about the strict firearms laws and licensing conditions that are already in place in NSW to contact the NSW Firearms Registry.

SSAA NSW remains committed to working with the NSW Government and Police, through the Firearms Consultative Committee, on sensible and effective firearm laws that get illegal guns and the criminals who use them off the street and out of our community.

Field to Fork - The Australian Game Cookbook wins International award

SSAA's venture into game cookbooks has proved a hit both at home and internationally after Field to Fork - The Australian Game Cookbook recently took out the prestigious title of Best New Cookbook in Australia at the Gourmand International Cookbook Awards in France.

SSAA NSW recently spoke with Rachael Andrews, SSAA National's Media Officer, who told us one of the key factors in the rise of game cookbooks was the "MasterChef phenomenon."

"People are watching these amateur chefs use meat such as quail or kangaroo or goat and they're realising there is something more than chicken, beef and lamb that they can put on their plate."

Rachael said that 'Field to Fork' was created by the SSAA Media and Publications team because of the fear some people have when using game meats.

"We're trying to take the mystery out of cooking with game meat."

And the recipes are easy to try at home according to Rachael because the cookbook uses flavours people are already familiar with such as satay, sweet chilli and honey barbeque.

Asked what her favourite recipe was, Rachael was unable to choose just one.

"The bacon topped roast rabbit, purely for the ease of cooking and the great flavours created by crispy bacon and the roasted rabbit. But if I can have a second favourite it would be the Moroccan Goat with Roasted Vegetables."

Field to Fork - The Australian Game Cookbook is available online at Field to Fork cooking and would make a great Christmas present for the experienced cook or the novice in the kitchen.

Two great stories from SSAA NSW Wagga Branch

Our good friends at SSAA NSW Wagga Branch have had not just one, but two, great stories on their local nightly news in the past week.

The first story is a recap on the recent Try Shooting Day held in Wagga where more than 50 people were introduced to the safe, fun and unique range of shooting sports. The Branch also managed to raise in excess of $500 for a local charity !! A great day !!

You can watch the story by clicking the image below.

The second story was about a fantastic local junior - Roy Gow - who is definitely a name to remember for the future !!

Watch the story on Roy's achievements by clicking the image below.

Congratulations to SSAA NSW Wagga Branch on these great stories and for all your efforts in promoting the safe, fun and unique range of shooting sports !!

SSAA (NSW) Coffs Harbour successful in court proceedings

On 24 July 2012, the Local Court of New South Wales in Grafton dismissed the court proceedings brought by Padraig and Lynette McGuire against the SSAA (NSW) Coffs Harbour Branch Inc and ordered the the McGuires pay the legal costs incurred by the Coffs Harbour Branch on an indemnity basis, bringing the long running legal saga to a close.

In December 2010, without prior notice, the McGuires brought a lawsuit against the Coffs Harbour Branch, claiming around $29,000.00 as “commercial rates” for earthworks he carried out at the Branch’s range in Dairyville, on top of the around $8,500.00 he has already been paid by the Branch.

The proceedings have dragged on for so long mostly because of defaults by the McGuires.  In the first few months, the McGuires did not turn up to court for their own lawsuit.  Finally, on 7 June 2011, when they turned up for the first time after the Court indicated that it would throw out the case otherwise, they were ordered to file their evidence by 26 August 2011.

The McGuires did not file any evidence in 2011.  What they did file in 2011 was an Amended Statement of Claim, asserting that the Branch’s committee authorised this payment on 28 June 2010, two days before they were removed by an SGM of the Branch.  This claim necessitated the joining of the other 5 members of the then committee as parties to the proceedings.

Meanwhile, the McGuires ignored or rejected all settlement offers made by the Branch from August 2011 to 6 June 2012, with the last offer having been made by the Branch in open court.

On 6 June 2012, the Court dismissed all applications made by the McGuires and granted all applications made by the Branch.  These included orders that the McGuires pay $29,000.00 into the Court as security for the Branch’s trial costs (because of their delays and changing addresses) and for the trial of the cross-claim involving the other committee members to be deferred until after the trial between the McGuires and the Branch, to minimise their exposure to costs.

The last deadline for their evidence, 6 July 2012, went by without the McGuires filing a single piece of evidence in the Court.  Instead, their lawyer, which was by then their third, made applications to postpone the trial and rewrite their whole claim.  The Court dismissed those applications and the lawsuit itself and, highlighting the extraordinary way in which the McGuires have conducted the lawsuit, made the unusual order that they are to pay the Branch’s costs on an indemnity basis.

With the main lawsuit dismissed, the Branch quickly negotiated a settlement with the other committee members that got dragged into this because of the McGuires’ assertions in their claim.

The McGuires’ New Lawsuit

On 19 July 2012, the McGuires filed in the Court a new lawsuit against 21 parties, including two of his previous solicitors, the SSAA NSW Association, the SSAA National Association, the Coffs Harbour Rifle Club, the Coffs Harbour Branch and a number of individuals in Coffs Harbour.

This new lawsuit was thrown out by the Court, but not before much concern and distress were caused to some of the named defendants, particularly those that are individuals.

Download SSAA NSW Standard Branch Constitution here