It's time to decide who shooters' and hunters' best interests at heart and make it count at the polling booth.

Time to get political

The Federal Election is just weeks away and licensedshooters (LFOs) around Australia are wondering how to vote and how to use thepower of the voter.

First up, there are a handful of Federal political partieswho will be concentrating their efforts on gaining Senate seats in the comingAustralian Parliament and who are overtly supportive of licensed shooters. Insome cases, like the Shooters and Fishers Party (SFP), it is a central plank oftheir policies and in others, like the Katter Australia Party, led by theredoubtable patriot Bob Katter, who have very proactive policies to do withoutdoor access and gun control regulation relaxation as part of their widersocial policy platforms. In addition, the Victorian-based Country Alliance andthe Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party are supportive of licensed shooters also.

The federal political situation is far from an easy-to-callresult. Abbott’s Coalition hopefuls are now somewhat off balance.

This will be good for LFOs because in a close electionresult, the eventual governing party(ies) will possibly be in a balance ofpower situation in the Senate where our people will likely be. The House ofRepresentatives, where the three independents (Windsor, Katter and Oakeshottand the Greens (spit!) held the minority government to ransom over the CarbonTax and other issues will be similarly closely contested, but shooters will bevoting on their own local issues for their local members there.

No legislation gets past the Senate as a house of review andour political friends know this and will, if elected, be looking after ourinterests federally in the Senate. It would be in shooters’ interests to vote 1above the line on the Senate ballot paper for your preferred one of the above.

In the case of the SFP, they will preference minor partiesfirst, then the majors and last the Greens. Under the Act, EVERY party mustissue a preference to EVERY other party on the ballot sheet. If you the voterare at all unsure of what all the parties on the senate ballot paper stand for,then vote 1 above the line for your favoured shooter-friendly party.

While this is a Federal Election, the manner in which theState Governments have treated shooters (like the recent NSW Governmentuncalled-for suspension of public land hunting) will have federal implicationsat the national ballot box and that is why Abbott is reported to be incensed byO’Farrell’s recent abuse of his state’s LFOs.

Central to the over-regulation suffered by LFOs since 1996(in some States more than others – eg the Western Australian outright abuse andcash grabs imposed on their LFOs), is the National Firearms Agreement, whichhas central in its effects on shooters the establishment of Longarm Registriesby state police forces. These massive, proved-to-be-insecure white elephantshave cost taxpayers and shooters hundreds of millions of dollars for no provenbenefit to public safety. We should go the way of Canada and New Zealand andabolish them and the eventual goal of politicians on our side is to dismantlethat agreement.

In the meantime, it behoves you, the law-abiding,voting-age, licensed firearms owner to write a few letters asking somepertinent questions of certain politicians, your local Federal member and theiropposition candidate, the Federal Attorney General, and your local state memberalso. Some questions that you may consider asking are:

Do you/will you support LFOs in the pursuit of theirlegitimate recreation/lifestyle by the reduction of expensive and ineffectiveregulation which adversely affects those law-abiding constituents.

Will you advocate on behalf of LFOs to abolish the NationalFirearms Agreement, so that State Police Longarm Registries are dismantled?

Do you support the pursuit of minimally-regulated legalhunting on private and public land as the right of every LFO? How would youprogress this right?

Will you advocate to substantially increase governmentfinancial support for existing shooting clubs and to the establishment of newshooting facilities throughout Australia?

How have you engaged with your LFO constituents up until nowwhen they have come to you with their concerns? Please quote some specificexamples.

What is your party’s policy on legitimate firearms ownershipin Australia and are there any forecast changes to that policy? If so, what arethose changes?

You get the idea. While you are writing, personalise theletter with your own language and any other pertinent concerns you may havewith regard to shooting and hunting.

Do not email politicians asthey take no notice of them. Neither just cut and paste the above into yourdocument. Mail them letters, personally signed and dated and even better,follow up with a local shooter friend in a face-to-face appointment with yourlocal member. Personal appointments have proved very successful for the NRA inAmerica as it makes the issue personal for every pollie. They all need to feelthe heat building and it is a better time now than ever before.




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Marcus O'Dean