Gun owners urged to lock up their weapons
STRAIGHT SHOOTERS AIM TO PLAY IT SAFE
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.”
STRICT RULES: Responsible gun owners Josh Guinea and range officer Kerry Guinea at the Sporting Shooters Association Australia range near Rupertswood.