Australian National Defence Preparedness Should Involve Better Firearms Access

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The Shooters Union Australia's latest media release follows a stark warning from Defence Minister Peter Dutton.

Sky News reported Dutton had warned Australians to prepare for war as he said the nation needed to stare down acts of aggression.

Mr Dutton, speaking on Anzac Day, said Australia was determined to preserve peace in the country and region, adding the nation had to stand strong and not cower in the face of military threats.

"The only way that you can preserve peace is to prepare for war and to be strong as a country, not to cower, not to be on bended knee and be weak, that's the reality," he told Channel Nine's Today Show. 

"We are a country with a proud heritage that we commemorate today, the most important day on our calendar and we're determined to make sure that we can have peace in our country.

Mr Dutton said Mr Morrison's remarks were reflective of the "reality of our time" as fears over China's aggression grows, as he also pointed to Russia's actions in Ukraine.   

"We have to be realistic that people like Hitler and others aren't just a figment of our imagination or that they're consigned to history. We have in President Putin at the moment, somebody who's willing to kill women and children.

"That's happening in the year 2022 and I think Europe's been startled by what's happened there. It's a replay in part of what's happened in the 1930s. You don't need to overegg it.

"The Chinese, through their actions, through their words, on a very deliberate course at the moment and we have to stand up with countries to stare down any act of aggression to make sure that we can keep peace in our region and for our country."

Media Release 

DEFENCE Minister Peter Dutton’s comments earlier this week that Australia should “Prepare for war” have prompted one of the country’s largest shooting organisations to declare that it’s time for a rethink about firearm restrictions as a result.

Self-loading rifles and shotguns, regardless of calibre, along with pump-action shotguns were effectively banned for the majority of licensed shooters by the Howard Government in 1996, with the result most Australians’ (skewed and inaccurate) knowledge of them comes from video games, movies and TV shows.

Shooters Union of Australia president Graham Park says it’s time for a re-think, and that licensed shooters should be able to access these guns for target shooting and volunteer pest control use as part of plans to build Australia’s resilience and defence capabilities.

“It’s well-known the laws were a knee-jerk reaction, thrown together in a fortnight back in the pre-Internet era without proper consultation with shooters,” he said.

“We now have an entire generation of people who have no practical knowledge of modern firearms, a severely depleted and under-equipped Australian Defence Force, and an increasing amount of instability and uncertainty in the wider world.

“If Australia is going to engage in some international sabre-rattling, it would help if we actually had some sabres to rattle.”

Shooters Union supports firearms licensing and background checks, and Mr Park said it was important people not mistake calls for licensed shooters to have wider access to firearms as support for a Hollywood-inspired free-for-all.

“We’re not calling for unfettered access to actual military-issue assault rifles or machine-guns,” Mr Park said.

 “But there is a genuine case for Australia needing better firearms literacy and skills, and part of that is allowing licensed shooters to access self-loading rifles and pump-action shotguns, and generally reducing the public-directed fear-mongering around lawfully held guns.”

“Most of Europe already has this in place, and they are discovering now what a sensible policy that has been.

“Australia would do well to follow that example.” 

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