Image: SSAA response to Liberal Democrat gun policies
The Sporting Shooters Association of Australia has a habit in federal elections of sending out questionnaires to candidates asking them to respond to a number of policy positions that are in the interests of members. They also have a habit of only publishing a selective list, consisting of the Shooters and Fishers Party, and a few others with worse policies.
The Liberal Democratic Party has responded in the 2007, 2010, 2013, and again in tomorrow’s Western Australian half senate election re-run. This will make the fourth time that SSAA has refused to publish the LDP response:
Liberal Democratic Party policies – recreational firearm use
What is your party’s policy on recreational sports shooting?
The Liberal Democrats fully support the responsible use of firearms in all sporting contexts as well as for self-defence, collecting, agricultural purposes, and any other non-coercive use.
We have a high proportion of firearm owners among our members owing to our firearm-friendly policies. These are found at: http://www.ldp.org.au/index.php/policies/1152-firearms
Recreational sports shooting is a legitimate, healthy pursuit enjoyed by large numbers of men and women. It is safe, can be undertaken by people with disabilities, and offers all of the benefits of other sports including family participation and social opportunities.
What is your party’s policy on recreational hunting?
Our attitude towards recreational hunting is the same as toward sports shooting. It is a legitimate and safe activity.
Hunting for food is also a natural activity, older than civilization itself.
What is your party’s policy on utilising trained and competent hunters to cull introduced species on public lands?
We fully support the use of volunteer hunters to cull introduced species on public lands. Volunteers are essential to the control of bushfires and in responding to natural disasters, and they could also become integral to feral animal control.
Do you have any policies that assist or support the sport of shooting and the recreation of hunting?
Liberal Democrat policies are friendly to all forms of shooting related sports, including large and small bore, rifles, and pistols, single shot and semi-automatic, as well as paintball and airsoft.
Our elected representatives will oppose any attempt at further restricting the rights of law-abiding and responsible shooters and will support any measure to roll back existing restrictions. That includes abandoning the National Firearms Agreement.
The Liberal Democrats are also opposed to the absurd laws that make it illegal to own firearms for self-defense, or even non-lethal items such as mace and pepper spray.
The police simply cannot be there to protect us every time there is a threat, and few of us would like to live in the sort of society where they can.
After the 2013 federal election in which New South Wales elected David Leyonhjelm of the Liberal Democrats to the senate, the media was obsessed with his firearms friendly attitude. David proved himself to be the most articulate advocate for firearms owners in the country.
As result, we were inundated with calls from angry shooters who were unable to understand why they were not informed of our position and policies. Many of them are now members of our party.
It is now quite apparent that SSAA is little more than a shill for the SFP and are not interested in providing its membership with any genuine information on alternatives to that party. Worse still, the SFP has in previous elections habitually preferenced the Liberals ahead of us, despite that party being responsible for the 1996 gun confiscation.
Regardless of who wins tomorrow, shooters will need the support of our senator or senators when firearms related matters come up. The hostility of the SSAA towards our party is going to make it extremely difficult to work with their representatives.
Fortunately, there are other organisations such as the Shooters Union who appear to be more willing to listen to us.