SSAA Victoria Response to Temporary Changes to Firearm and Ammunition Regulations
The SSAA Victoria Team
The Sporting Shooters Association of Australia (Victoria) Response to Temporary Changes to Firearm and Ammunition Regulations.
The Sporting Shooters Association of Australia (Victoria) (SSAA Victoria) has stated its objection to the decision to halt the sale of firearms and ammunition for sporting and recreational purposes. Not only is the action not justified, it attacks the integrity and values of the Victorian public and law abiding, licensed firearm owners.
“What the government has done sends a terrible message about fellow Victorians,” said Jack Wegman, CEO, SSAA (Victoria). “No credible evidence has been put forward to justify the decision to ban a legal product obtained in a lawful manner, by responsible people who have been carefully vetted by Victoria Police. This act makes absolutely no sense. It is based on some hypothetical situation that does not exist. There’s enough uncertainty in the general public because of COVID-19. We don’t need the State Government to compound the issue, while damaging the reputation of law-abiding firearm owners.”
The SSAA understands the decision made by the Victorian government is based on a recent ‘spike’ in applications for Category A/B firearms licenses. However, this decision has not taken into consideration that application numbers always increase in the weeks leading to the official hunting seasons. This is not a new trend. So it should be no surprise that with the 2020 Hound Season, Hog Deer Season, Stubble Quail and Duck Season to begin shortly, those wishing to participate have submitted their applications.
Concurrently, ammunition and firearm sales also increase in the weeks leading up to the hunting season. Ammunition and firearms are expensive, so too the cost of proper storage facilities. Therefore, it makes financial sense to purchase ammunition and new equipment just before the start of the hunting season. Most firearms and ammunition are imported. With the drop in the Australian dollar future shipments are likely to be significantly more expensive. It makes perfect sense for people to purchase goods now given those factors.
It is nothing more than unfounded aspersion to suggest that Victorians are seeking to obtain a firearm license in order to ‘stockpile’ ammunition because of the COVID-19 virus.
What is deeply upsetting to all registered sporting and recreational shooters are the comments made to media outlets implying that community safety is at risk, and that there is concern surrounding the possibility of domestic violence issues during these stressful times. These remarks are offensive to the character and maturity of licensed recreational and sporting shooters.
To obtain a Category A/B license, applicants have to undergo thorough checks and vetting procedures. Approval is not guaranteed and certainly not immediate. SSAA Victoria endorses these procedures, which is why the Association has legitimate concerns regarding this decision and the baseless assumptions used to make it. Furthermore, there has been no consultation with relevant industry associations, individuals or businesses, in order to obtain the facts or address any possible concerns.
To obtain a firearms licence all applicants must complete an approved firearms safety course. Currently, all firearms safety courses have been suspended due to the COVID-19 outbreak and will not resume until restrictions are lifted. New firearms applications will not be able to be made until that occurs. The only license applications that will be processed are for people who have already completed the safety course.
“People should be worried that at a stroke of a pen, and without valid justification, the opportunity has been taken away from law-abiding citizens following a lawful process to obtain legal products,” said Jack. “People should ask themselves, ”Where is this going to end. Can people in Australia really be punished just for being suspected of something?”
Whilst always supportive of the need to protect the health and wellbeing of Victorians, especially in this current period, SSAA Victoria will ask the State Government to reconsider this matter. These restrictions go far beyond anything necessary to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The Association calls on government to show some faith in the good character of Victorians, especially licensed sporting and recreational shooters who follow every measure of the law.
About SSAA Victoria
The Sporting Shooters Association of Australia (Victoria) was incorporated as a public company on October 1, 1973. We exist to promote the shooting sports and protect firearm owners’ interests.
With more than 40,000 members, SSAA Victoria is a leading body representing licensed firearm owners in Victoria. SSAA Victoria has more than a dozen branches and more than 30 sub-clubs and disciplines within the organisation.