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  1. 1

    caspar

    -“John Howard’s post-Port Arthur National Firearms Agreement brought with it an unintended public safety consequence loaded with irony. State laws now guarantee a multi-million-dollar annual income stream to Australia’s pro-gun lobby, the Sporting Shooters’ Association of Australia (SSAA).”

    The fact that people choose a group such as the SSAA over other competing organisations does not constitute a guaranteed stream of income. It is a potential stream of income that may be realised if the SSAA is able to convince shooters to choose that organisation over other clubs. These clubs actively compete with the SSAA for members or are focused on areas which the SSAA does not cover. For example in NSW membership of the SSAA does not constitute a genuine reason to own a handgun.

    -“But perhaps more importantly, Australia’s hundreds of shooting clubs are run by a single special interest group. In the 20 years since John Howard’s gun laws took effect, that group has cornered a multi-million-dollar levy on citizens who lack any other ‘genuine reason’ to own a gun.”

    The first sentence is in all fairness meant as hyperbole but it should be stated that most clubs are not run by the SSAA. The second sentence, the use of the termed cornered (control of a market) is most likely hyperbole, but it should be stated that most shooters are NOT members of the SSAA. Currently, there are 816k shooters in Australia (Gun policy.org) of those 181,599 (as of September 2016) or just over 22% .

    -“Some members of the fraternity (SSAA) have been shown shooting at targets of gun control advocates and politicians.”

    This is factually inaccurate, the individuals who engaged in this behaviour were NOT members of the SSAA. The SSAA condemned the behaviour of these individuals. Ad hominem attacks based on false association does not contribute meaning full discussion to this debate.

    -“Today, just seven top SSAA branches declare income of $20 million and net assets of $34 million, while the national branch alone collects $10 million in annual fees. That’s more than double the assets of Swimming Australia, and nine-tenths the income of Athletics Australia. In its most recent publicly available financial return, SSAA National in Adelaide reported an accumulated war chest of $6 million in cash.”

    These figures do not take into account the fact that most of the assets (facilities mainly) are owned and operated by the government and if included would significantly change the picture presented. It should also be noted that accumulated funds are used as an endowment in order to ensure continual reliable revenue for the organisations. This form of fund management is used by student unions in order to ensure that the burden on the membership is not unduly harsh but at the same time allowing for the provision of substantial services and facilities.
    It should also be noted that in addition to maintaining facilities membership dues, also fund environmental remediation, wildlife conservation, educational scholarships, research grants (such grants are concerned with environmental management and wildlife conservation), public liability insurance and magazine subscription.

    -“As the law sets no limit on shooting club fees, the SSAA can charge whatever it likes. Annual membership currently costs $87 for an individual, although family discounts and life memberships reduce the national total. Many clubs impose additional levies for the use of facilities.”

    As previously stated shooters can easily join other clubs, alternatively the membership can always just reduce their fees by changing management. It should be noted that any additional levies or usage charges are at a reduced rate for members compared to non-members (very similar to local leagues clubs).

    -“Politicians who, for example, dismantled compulsory student union membership on ideological grounds might be asked how this system is not a government-mandated tax on shooters, with no upper limit.”

    Neither Compulsory student unionism or shooters membership fees were taxes. The fundamental issue with compulsory student unionism was that students had to contribute to a specific body which would then advocate for policies that a student may not support or be ambivalent about with no ability on the part of the student to choose another organisation. As previously stated shooters can CHOOSE to support other organisations and indeed the overwhelming majority of shooters are NOT members of the SSAA. In this manner, the cost of membership is kept in check by competitive forces a situation that did not occur with compulsory student unionism.

    —————-
    Articles such as this which are based on shaky logic make it harder for reasonable voices within the shooting community to be heard as it results in two detrimental outcomes.

    1. Continues to assert that groups such as the SSAA represent all or at the least the majority of shooters when only just over 22% of shooters are actually members.

    2. That this is an, us and them argument where the only outcomes can be all or nothing. The fundamental premise is that any movement on gun laws either to tighten or loosen will result in the prohibition of guns or total deregulation

    Reply
    1. 1.1

      Philip

      You’re right to say that three-quarters of shooters are not gun club members. That’s because they’re primary producers or the like, and don’t have to be. For the remainder who lack an occupational or similar reason, joining a gun club can be the only route to legal firearm ownership.

      As a search of any registrar of incorporated associations will attest, gun clubs not affiliated with the SSAA are rare, and often distant.

      Reply
      1. 1.1.1

        Peter

        “As a search of any registrar of incorporated associations will attest, gun clubs not affiliated with the SSAA are rare, and often distant.”

        What a load of crap. There are three other shooting organisations in Australia for shotguns alone, with many additional ranges and clubs amongst them and thousands of additional members.

        Reply
      2. 1.1.2

        Peter

        It should also be pointed out that the vast majority of shooters and clubs, are not part of any “lobby”. Most are simply ordinary citizens going about their day to day lives and enjoying their safe and legal pass-time of choice.

        Congratulations though to the likes of Phillip Alpers and Sam Lee. Thanks to their endless lies and deliberate misinformation, similar to Brexit the tide is turning and people who have had enough are finally becoming motivated to do something about it. The anti’s have overplayed their hand and people are sick of the blatant bigotry, slander and lies.

        Reply
  2. 2

    Steven

    MR Alpers has failed to point out that SSAA has more assets that Swimming Australia and Almost as much as Athletics Australia because they own the shooting ranges, where as the government/councils and clubs provide the facilities for Swimming Australia and Athletics Australia. How much would the pool next to Luna Park in Sydney be worth?

    He also refers to it as a “hobby club”, the SSAA runs about a dozen different disciplines of competition shooting from benchrest, to shotgun to pistol events. These all have international followings and world championships like swimming and athletics.

    He also chose to ignore the multiple peak bodies that cover sports shooting disciplines,
    Shooting Australia – Peak Olympic body
    Pistol Australia – Peak Olympic body covering pistol shooting along with multiple non-olympic disciplines
    National Rifle Association of Australia – Target Rifle disciplines (shot at the Commonwealth Games and nothing to do with the NRA in the US).

    Reply
    1. 2.1

      Philip

      SSAA (National) and SSAA (QLD) alone declare more than $14 million cash in the bank — plus property assets. Only shooters will decide how that cash is spent. Shooting ranges, or lobbying?

      Australian shooters often out-perform other disciplines at Olympic and Commonwealth Games, and good on them. Those waters are muddied when firearm owners with no interest in such competition are forced to join gun clubs.

      Reply
      1. 2.1.1

        Peter

        “Australian shooters often out-perform other disciplines at Olympic and Commonwealth Games, and good on them. Those waters are muddied when firearm owners with no interest in such competition are forced to join gun clubs.”

        This statement is also wide of the mark. There are domestic competitions participated in by thousands of by people every weekend, who have neither the skill or aspiration to become international competitors. There are many more who participate in a purely social capacity solely for the enjoyment of a safe and relatively inexpensive sport. They are not forced to join gun clubs. They do so, and did so before legislation required it, because they love the sport.

        Reply
  3. 3

    John Costan

    I can’t fathom what instigates such anti-shooter opinions and statements within Australia. This article has undertones of jealousy, and possibly fear, that a particular sporting club is raising above average revenues from members who are under no compulsion to join.
    Articles such as these always carry an undertone that members of shooting clubs and organisations have a detrimental effect on the safety of the general population. However, in the real world, I find nothing to delineate the character and behaviour of shooters from the golfers, fishermen or the sailors I meet in my other pastimes. The football fan enjoying a game at a stadium and sharing the joy and sorrow of their teams performance with their fellow fans is no different to the fans of shooting sports.
    Just what is it that motivates a ‘Professor’, and so called ‘Green’ politicians to work against the interests of sporting shooters and not against any other sportsmen? The sporting shooters they imagine and the sporting shooters I participate with seem totally disconnected. Maybe, just maybe these critics are so disconnected from the real world of the sporting shooter they can’t tell the difference between them and the horror scenes that Hollywood fills their screens with.

    Reply
  4. 4

    Grant

    I read the article as I would any other piece of work from a published academic (with interest, critically, and without a value judgement on the discussion). It didn’t take long to identify an an apparent absence of research or academic rigour, e.g:
    a) there are some membership metrics published here that suggest a growing interest or investment in an activity, but the claimed causal link between this and a legislative framework is not established;
    b) The authors asserts an opinion about the potential use of funds and a relationship between membership and ideological activities but there is an absence of any evidence in this regard.

    I decided that this opinion piece must have its more rigorous academic underpinnings elsewhere and followed the links to Sydney Uni’s site to explore the publication; unfortunately I was only able to find the piece as published here, held out as research.

    My conclusion is that for whatever reason, the author, this site, and unfortunately Sydney Uni have mixed up:
    – the opinions of an individual who happens to be an academic with
    – formal research, the resulting contribution to the world body of knowledge and informed debate.

    For credibility’s sake, I expect you’d want to seperate these.

    Reply
  5. 5

    John Michelmore

    Goodness me, what rubbish Dr Alpers passes off as an article.
    Quote “Politicians who, for example, dismantled compulsory student union membership on ideological grounds might be asked how this system is not a government-mandated tax on shooters, with no upper limit.”
    Membership of the SSAA is voluntary, not compulsory!
    Membership of a firearm club is voluntary, not compulsory!
    Owning a firearm is voluntary, not compulsory!
    I pay compulsory levies to the government, cattle transaction levy, NRM levy, etc. these are taxes and are compulsory, and we have no sday in the use of this consolidated revenue!
    The Dr Alpers quote from the article above is just rubbish; I wonder is Dr Alpers got his doctorate out of a corn flakes packet?

    Reply
  6. 6

    Dave Irving

    As a matter of fact, in South Australia at least, it is not a legal requirement to belong to a club to own firearms. Additionally, not all gun clubs are affiliated with the SSAA.

    While people who wish to own handguns must belong to an approved club and attend a minimum number of shoots per year, this is not the case for rifles and shotguns. I would not be surprised if the majority of gun owners are not members of the SSAA.

    Although I own a number of rifles and handguns, I agree with our current gun laws. It’s a pity that this article has contained a number of errors of fact.

    Reply

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