Gun own­ers urged to lock up their weapons

STRAIGHT SHOOT­ERS AIM TO PLAY IT SAFE

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - CHRIS MCMA­HON chris. mcma­hon@ news. com. au

LE­GAL firearm own­ers have been re­minded it is their duty to lock up their weapons, with po­lice say­ing op­por­tunis­tic thefts were the most preva­lent rea­son guns went miss­ing.

Sport­ing Shoot­ers As­so­ci­a­tion of Aus­tralia pres­i­dent Ge­off Jones said it was “enor­mously im­por­tant” for reg­is­tered gun own­ers to lock up weapons.

“We have a na­tional cam­paign that’s been in place for prob­a­bly 15 or more years called ‘ Se­cure your gun, se­cure your sport’,” he said.

“It re­flects badly on us as sport­ing peo­ple or hun­ters if we are not pre­pared to be so­cially re­spon­si­ble.

“Our or­gan­i­sa­tion is 170,000- strong in Aus­tralia and we are very sup­port­ive of the re­spon­si­ble as­pect of firearm stor­age and se­cu­rity.

“It’s very sim­ple. Ev­ery firearms li­cence holder has to com­plete a firearms safety course. In that course, they are taught what the re­quire­ments are for their state’s spe­cific laws, so there is no ex­cuse for those li­cence hold­ers to not se­cure their firearms.”

Mr Jones said the SSAA took a tough stance on those who skirted rules.

“If some­one has gen­uinely stored their firearms prop­erly and it’s been stolen, they should be left alone,’’ he said.

“If they fail to se­cure them prop­erly, they should ’ fess up and front the courts be­cause they do have a so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity. If some­one fails to store prop­erly and it is stolen, in most cases they are charged and they should suf­fer the full force of the law. We don’t sup­port or de­fend any­one who doesn’t com­ply with the law.

“When a gun gets in the hands of some­one who isn’t li­cenced, it is ab­so­lutely wor­ry­ing. It’s no dif­fer­ent to a stolen car. They’re the ones of­ten in­volved in po­lice chases and ac­ci­dents – hor­rific stuff, and it’s a sim­i­lar sort of thing with firearms. They’re per­fectly safe when used ap­pro­pri­ately and re­spon­si­bly but in the wrong hands, they can be dan­ger­ous and we take it very se­ri­ously.”

Mr Jones said when guns were used in crimes, it de­liv­ered a sig­nif­i­cant blow to those who used firearms recre­ation­ally, for sport, and legally.

“It’s frus­trat­ing,’’ he said. “The shoot­ing sports are con­sid­ered to be one of the safest sports in the coun­try.

“I think you’d find most of our mem­bers are de­cent, lawabid­ing peo­ple.”

Pic­ture: WES­LEY MONTS

STRICT RULES: Re­spon­si­ble gun own­ers Josh Guinea and range of­fi­cer Kerry Guinea at the Sport­ing Shoot­ers As­so­ci­a­tion Aus­tralia range near Ru­pertswood.

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