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SSAA Victoria News

Herald Sun targets shooters ... again

SSAA Victoria today prepared and submitted a complaint to the Australian Press Council (APC) and a tip-off to Media Watch following another biased article published by the Herald Sun. The article “Gun trolls target charity” claimed the so-called ‘gun lobby’ attracted new shooters by “telling disenfranchised men they were being victimised if their right to own better weapons was denied”. The article – highlighting supposed bullying by the ‘gun lobby’ – published extensive, unchallenged and wildly inaccurate quotes from Alannah and Madeline Foundation CEO Lesley Podesta. The following is an excerpt from the article:

"In many cases their lives are tough, they don't have a lot, they're victims of globalisation in some cases, their lives have been affected by job losses.

"But the answer is not 'give you a gun to give you back your masculinity, power and status in the community'.

"This is what the gun lobby tells them, that if they had these guns they wouldn't feel disempowered anymore."

The Media Watch tip-off can be read here, while the APC complaint can be read here. The crux of the complaint was that the paper failed to present both sides of the story; failed to take reasonable steps to ensure accurate information was published; failed to declare a conflict of interest and continued a campaign against lawful firearm owners. SSAA Victoria is eagerly awaiting a response from Media Watch and APC.

Australia's 25-year homicide decline

Homicide in Australia has declined over the last 25 years – since well before the introduction of the National Firearms Agreement. That information comes straight from the Australian Institute of Criminology’s new National Homicide Monitoring Report. The number of homicide incidents has fallen by 22 per cent over the last 25 years, decreasing from 307 incidents in 1989-90 to 238 incidents in 2013-14. Amid regular reports of increasing violence and gangs on our streets, it could be easy to think homicides were rife in Victoria. However, the latest AIC data shows that the homicide rate in Victoria, at 0.9 per 100,000 in 2013-14, is lower than all other states except ACT and Queensland. Victoria's homicide rate was well below Northern Territory's 6.5 per 100,000 in 2013-14. In an effort to disarm the public, the anti-gun lobby often claims firearms are the most dangerous threat to community safety, but the AIC data shows otherwise. Using that mentality, it is knives that should be removed from society. Between 1989-90 and 2013-14, excluding just two years, knives and other sharp instruments were the most common weapon used in a homicide incident in Australia. In 2013-14 knives were used in 36 per cent, or 86, homicides. Homicide victims were actually more likely to be killed by someone’s hands/feet than a firearm. Hand/feet were the second most commonly used weapon, being the cause of death in 25 per cent of homicide incidents between 1989-90 and 2013-14. The number of homicide incidents involving a firearm decreased by 57 per cent between 1989-90 and 2013-14. Firearms were used in just 13 per cent of homicide incidents in 2013-14, down from 24 per cent in 1989-90.

Other weapons reportedly used in homicides included blunt instruments, explosives, fire, poison, drugs, rope and vehicles.

*AIC graphic    

GMA out in force

SSAA Victoria has applauded Game Management Authority (GMA) officers for undertaking a recent compliance operation. GMA, Victoria Police and Parks Victoria worked together to conduct deer hunting compliance checks on the Queen’s Birthday weekend. David Laird, SSAA Victoria’s Hunting Development Manager, said it was encouraging to hear of the greater enforcement efforts. “People acting illegally, irresponsibly or unethically undermine all legitimate hunters and should not be tolerated,” he said. “Charging those acting illegally sends a strong message and ultimately supports the vast majority of hunters who do the right thing.” GMA Chief Executive Officer Greg Hyams said the operations included a road block at the Timbertop walking trail on Howqua Track and roving patrols targeting the areas around King River Valley through to Bluff Hut and along Brocks Road to Sheepyard Flats. “Over the two days 180 people were spoken to and over 50 vehicles were checked,” Mr Hyams said. “A hound hunter camp was inspected near Howqua Hills with 10 hunters interviewed. Three hounds were inspected and will be assessed against the breed standard. “One vehicle was intercepted with two local men who were in possession of firearms and spotlights in deer habitat. They will both receive infringement notices. A second vehicle was intercepted with two local men, with a loaded firearm and spotlighting equipment in deer habitat. The firearms and spotlights were seized by police, their firearm licences have been suspended and the two men will receive summons to attend court in the near future.” Mr Hyams said hunters were generally a law-abiding group but there were some who chose to do the wrong thing. “Game hunting generates jobs and contributes hundreds of millions of dollars to Victoria’s economy, particularly in rural and regional areas,” he said. "It is vital to the future of hunting that hunters act safely and responsibly at all times." SSAA Victoria encourages members to report any suspected illegal hunting activity to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or www.crimestoppersvic.com.au; or the GMA Customer Service Centre on 136 186 or www.gma.vic.gov.au

Members called to rally MPs following NFA vote

Following a recent meeting with the office of Federal Justice Minister Michael Keenan, SSAA Victoria is urging members to contact their local MP. During the meeting, Minister Keenan's staff emphasised that it was up to the states to adopt the new National Firearms Agreement in whichever way they saw fit. Without action by sporting shooters across Victoria, the state's MPs are likely to allow changes to our firearm laws, a recent motion in Parliament proves. The Member for the Eastern Victoria Region, Jeff Bourman, introduced the following motion in March: I move that this house:
  1. Acknowledges the legitimate recreational pursuits of sporting shooters and hunters.
  2. Recognises the contribution made to the economy and environment by recreational and sporting shooters in Victoria.
  3. Notes that changes currently being proposed to the NFA would place unfair conditions on law-abiding firearm owners, who have already proven to abide by stringent regulations that limit the use of firearms in shooting sports, recreational hunting and pest control.
While the voting was close, the MP failed to garner majority support. The results were as follows:
Ayes, 18 Noes, 20
Atkinson, Mr Barber, Mr
Morris, Mr (Teller) Mulino, Mr (Teller)
Bath, Ms Dalidakis, Mr
O’Donohue, Mr Patten, Ms
Bourman, Mr Dunn, Ms (Teller)
Ondarchie, Mr Pennicuik, Ms
Carling-Jenkins, Dr Elasmar, Mr
O’Sullivan, Mr Pulford, Ms
Crozier, Ms Hartland, Ms
Peulich, Mrs Purcell, Mr
Dalla-Riva, Mr (Teller) Herbert, Mr
Ramsay, Mr Shing, Ms
Finn, Mr Jennings, Mr
Rich-Phillips, Mr Somyurek, Mr
Fitzherbert, Ms Leane, Mr
Wooldridge, Ms Springle, Ms
Lovell, Ms Melhem, Mr
Young, Mr Symes, Ms
Mikakos, Ms
Tierney, Ms
Pairs
Davis, Mr
Eideh, Mr
SSAA Victoria is encouraging every member to assess the results of the motion vote and determine whether their local member supported the motion. “If your local member failed to support this motion, it’s imperative that you make an appointment and visit them, or in the very least call or email them to inform them of your disappointment,” SSAA Victoria Chief Executive Officer Jack Wegman said. “It’s really important that each of those representatives is made aware of just how many firearm owners live in their electorate and how important this issue is to them.” In speaking with these MPs, members are encouraged to inform them: You are aware of the above motion; you are disappointed in the lack of support given to sporting shooter constituents and they will lose your vote during the State Elections if they fail to recognise recreational shooters. If your local member did support the motion, SSAA Victoria encourages you to get in touch with them and thank them for their rational vote, and ongoing support of recreational shooters. Ensure they are aware that they will be rewarded at election time. Electoral offices, postal addresses, email addresses and phone numbers of each member of the Legislative Council can be found here: http://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/electorates/ Search via your suburb to find your local member in the Legislative Council (coloured red).  
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