1. I use ‘Join the fight’ as a sign off on my articles, and a few of you have written to me requesting information on how they can ‘join the fight’. The fight is about what legitimate ‘law-fare’ we can engage in to get just gun laws in Australia.
2.Firstly, it is good to see that you are not relying on others to fight your battles for you, and that you are prepared to get involved.
3. We have a system of government called ‘representative democracy’, in which noisy groups get the attention of electors.
4. We shooters have failed miserably at getting the attention of Politicians. There are a number of reasons for this. Firstly, we now know from released Cabinet minutes, that the final Hawke Cabinet meeting debated federal gun laws five years before the Port Arthur massacre, and that the Attorney Generals Department were therefore waiting for an event to happen and developing policy in anticipation.
5. It was not something that a voice spoke to John Winston Howard from the wilderness about.
6. As a result, when Port Arthur happened, anti- gun law forces were highly organised, and shooting groups could not have been more disorganised. We were ambushed and routed.
7. Secondly, both sides of Parliament recalled the damage shooters did to the Unsworth Government and sought to diffuse shooter political influence by adopting a bipartisan approach to firearms laws.
8. Shooters have failed to break down this bi-partisan approach without success since 1996. As all politicians know disunity is death, there is only one path for us to take.
9. Make your vote count, become a single-issue voter and VOTE AGAINST THE SITTING MEMBER other than in seats where a demonstrably pro-shooter is standing.
10. If we vote as a block, and hold ranks, Political self-interest shall ensure our success, because the only way any Government would be able to get a second term, would be by dealing with us.
11. JOIN THE SHOOTERS FISHERS & FARMERS PARTY, LIBERAL DEMOCRATS or KATTER’S AUSTRALIA PARTY
12. Remember, nothing focuses the mind of a politician like their pending political mortality.
13. A policy of voting against the sitting member by all shooters would deny all Australian Governments (other than that in the ACT) a second term.
14. Use your vote to TRIGGER CHANGE
15. ITS TIME TO COME OUT OF THE CLOSET- OR GUN ROOM OR YOUR GUN SAFE!
16. Many of us do not admit that we shoot. This is bad for the sport. it is important that you let colleagues and acquaintances know that you shoot. This will challenge the anti-gun values of some individuals and may set them on the path to change.
17.Years ago, a colleague once said to me of another ‘he’s a bit of a shirt lifter, but he is a good bloke’, over the year’s a similar view of other gays has seen pretty overwhelming support for gay marriage, because people have realised that being gay is not a personal threat to them.
18.We can benefit from a similar change of attitude, if only we also ‘come out of the closet’ and let people see that shooters are ‘good blokes’.
19. I donate used shooting magazines to a local High school library, and a friend supplies the Science Department at his son’s High School with a range of skulls for use in science lessons. Try these, and other approaches. There are many ways we can contribute to improving our image if we think about it.
20. LOBBY YOUR MP
21. Get to know your MP, and personalise the relationship.
22. Write to your MP. Just because you have only a partial High School education does not mean you cannot write to an MP.
23. MP’s tend to pay more notice to people who are disinclined to write, than they do to professional letter writers like me, because they know it does not take much for me to knock off a few letters before breakfast, but an individual who does not demonstrate such talents, and who is obviously upset enough to do something that is not natural to them is unsettling to a Politician, because such a voter is upset enough to vote for someone else.
24. Before mailing your letter, ensure that you have the MP’s name and title correctly described, as well as any awards such as the Order of Australia. Check these on Who’s Who, Wikipedia.
25. There is an excellent article on lobbying your MP that has been published on the BASC website. BASC is an English pro hunting lobby group.
26. This article covers written and face to face lobbying of MP’s- I highly recommend it.
27. INVITE YOUR MP TO A MEETING OR THE RANGE
28. One thing well worth while doing is invite your local member along to your gun club. Let he /she see the emphasis placed upon safety, and let your MP try shooting- as we all know, it’s an addictive sport, and we may win a convert!
29. JOIN A LOBBY GROUP
Australian National Firearms Lobby Group – Facebook
Combined Firearms Council of Victoria
Shooters Union of Australia
31. There is one notable exemption from this list- the SSAA. I regret that I cannot in all conscience list them above.
32. While they have copied the Institute of Legislative Action idea from the US NRA, and, while a number of their policy officers write articles that I enjoy reading, and they do an excellent job in safely running shooting ranges and competitions, the SSAA’s lobbying leaves a lot to be desired.
33. I am a member of 25 years standing, and I have assisted the SSAA through his work on many occasions, this involved me recently being instrumental in raising several thousand dollars for SSAA ACT through pro bono work on an estate. Sadly, I, cannot in all conscience promote the SSAA as an effective lobbying organisation.
34. I genuinely wish I could. If you are a disgruntled member, please, do not just quit the SSAA, as I know many are. Instead, complain, and get involved, and make the organisations culture change. To me, the SSAA has too much potential and too many resources to walk away from.
35. The SSAA is the sleeping giant in the gun war in Australia, possessing huge membership and millions of dollars of member’s money in resources. It management just needs to be hauled into line, and forced to utilize professional lobbyists who they can afford, in the interests of its membership. Gun control issues are simply too important for the well meaning amateur approach.
36. VOLUNTEER YOUR TALENTS
37.There are a lot of talents in the community, if you have some, volunteer them.
38. For example, one of the reasons that the Combined Firearms Council of Victoria is punching well above its weight is that it has a number of retired public servants in its ranks. These guys know their way around Government, how to write policy, how to attack it, lobby, and their way around Freedom of Information and other tools. They also have plenty of time on their hands.
39.I often give pro-bono (i.e. free) legal advice to pro- gun groups and political parties. If you have any particular talents, i.e. web design, journalism, advertising, etc. offer them.
40. WRITE ‘LETTERS TO THE EDITOR’
41. I have submitted quite a few letters to the editor over the years and find that a surprising number have been published. You need to be topical, and you need to develop the short, punchy writing style so loved by editorial journalists. Do not get despondent over rejections, it is very much a numbers game.
42. REPORT BIASED REPORTING
43. Complain to the Australian Press Council if it relates to print media http://www.presscouncil.org.au/making-a-complaint/
44. Australian Communications & Media Authority about broadcast journalism
45. Before writing to the industry body, I suggest that you first complain to the Editor of the paper, magazine or broadcaster.
46. PUBLIC PROTESTS
47. I am not a fan of public protests. They are too easily manipulated by left wing agitators, and the media never give us truthful coverage when we have conducted them. A resultant assault conviction could in any event jeopardise your firearms licence.
WELCOME TO THE FIGHT!
National Firearms Lawyer
P: (02) 6299 9690
M: 0427 280 962
Simon Munslow is a lawyer who has a lifelong interest in shooting, having acquired his first firearm at the age of nine, and has had an active interest in firearms law since writing a thesis on the topic over thirty years ago at University.
Simon Munslow practices extensively in Firearms Law matters throughout Australia.
He is a regular contributor to the Australian Sporting Shooter magazine’s website on Firearms law matters, has published articles on firearms reviews and firearms law, and occasionally is asked to comment in the broader media on firearms matters.
This article is written for general information only and does not constitute advice.
He can assist you with:
Criminal law & Administrative law and in particular that related to Firearms
• All firearms, weapons and game charges
• Avoiding & setting aside Apprehended Violence Orders
• Possession of unregistered firearms
• Unsafe transportation & storage matters
• Applications for prohibited weapons
• License Appeals
• Freedom of Information / Government Public Access matters
• Importation & Customs problems
• Advices & opinions related to Firearms law matters