Monday, 23 July 2012

Guns in Australia

I finally decided to set up my own blog spot to combat a lot of the misinformation we hear from the media about guns.  I hope to add regular new topics talking about gun law, conceal and carry, news, history, shooting and hunting.  I strongly encourage debate and feedback from anyone interested in learning more about guns or from those who wish to challenge my views.  Lets be polite, rational, factual and most importantly dispel some of the lies that have been perpetuated by journalists.

Firstly, I thought it might be good to share some background information about me and why I believe this is an important debate to have.

I'm a middle-aged Australian who has been shooting and hunting since the age of 12.  My father taught me how to shoot back in 1986.  We were in the bush with a friend of dad's and his children.  We made a little campfire and talked about guns and gun safety.  Safety was really important.  We were taught whenever you are handed a gun, you check first to make sure it's unloaded.  We were taught never to point a gun at anything you don't intend to shoot.  That you do not load a round until you are ready to shoot.  That you never put your finger on the trigger until you are ready to shoot.  That we never shoot over a ridge and that we are responsible for the bullet until it comes to a complete stop.  There were some other safety principals like not climbing over a fence with a gun, but rather have someone hand it to you.  It all sounds simple enough, but we went over this for a couple of hours and practiced handling unloaded firearms until my father thought we were ready to use them safely.  We set up a few targets down in a gully and began to practice learning the art of marksmanship.

I gave up hunting when I became an adult and had other priorities.  I traveled the world, lived in the city and worked a career in consulting.

In July 2009, I was inspired by a story on 60 minutes about a mother who hunted deer, farming her own fresh, free-range venison.  I was so inspired by the story that I made enquiries into obtaining my firearms licence again so I could start hunting myself.  I loved camping, so I figured why not incorporate a hunt, and harvest my own fresh organic meat?

To my dismay, I experienced an incredibly cumbersome process of trying to re-obtain my firearms licence, and to apply for the permits to acquire some firearms.  I beavered away through the process and sure enough, about eight weeks later, I owned a small caliber rifle and a shotgun.  I made some enquires into hunting and where I could hunt, and was surprised that national parks in NSW were off limits.  However, I could hunt in State Forests if I studied up and sat a test to obtain my Game Council R licence.  I bought the training manual, studied every night for a few weeks and booked in my test.  It was not long before I could apply for a permit to begin my first hunting adventure.

The first State forest I booked into was a bit of a scrub and not very pleasant for camping, so I made enquiries as to why I wasn't allowed to shoot in a national park.   It was then that I discovered The Shooters and Fishers Party, who have two members in the legislative council in the NSW Parliament.  These guys have been fighting for over a decade to have hunting allowed in national parks, and only just recently in June 2012, they struck a deal with the Barry O'Farrell Coalition Government to expand the Game Council to incorporate national parks.

I was curious as to why it had taken so long, and why both major parties had been against it for so long.  Truth be told, guns are not popular in Australia.  People have an irrational fear of them and don't want to go down the path of America.  The Greens hate guns and believe only the police and military should have them.  This policy doesn't make a lot of sense to me, especially when you consider the damage introduced species do to our native flora and fauna.

Are the Greens genuinely green or are they watermelons?  Green on the outside but red in the middle?

My blog will explore this and other topics about guns over time.

Happy reading.

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