A Sporting Shooters Association of Australia billboard depicting a hunter and promoting hunting in Western Australia has prompted one local newspaper to generate anti-gun sentiment, reporting that it almost killed one Fremantle resident.
“I almost died when I saw it,” said Rod Murray in the first sentence of a report by Fremantle Herald journalist Steve Grant who went on to describe the main image of a hunter holding a rifle in a safe manner as “brandishing a high-powered rifle”.
It was also reported that Mr Murray is passionately anti-gun and apparently his opinion is enough to carry what appears to be the newspaper’s anti-gun bias.
“Are they trying to be like the NRA in America?” Mr Murray reportedly said. “That’s all we need—the Republican lunatic mob moving in.”
The location of the billboard appears to be the Fremantle Herald’s biggest concern reporting that it was erected “in the heart of hippy-green South Freo”.
The paper contacted local Greens MP Lynn MacLaren who admitted she hadn’t seen the billboard, but that didn’t stop the newspaper printing her fears about the promotion of a “gun culture”.
Because the main image features the hunter in what appears to be a wetlands environment, Ms MacLaren’s opinion on hunting in the wetlands was also reported and she predictably claimed hunting added to pressure that was already on those areas.
“I’d be looking at ways to protect them and create more rather than killing what’s there,” she told the Herald.
Mr Grant also claimed that the SSAA was “locked in battle with the Greens, which wants semi-automatic handguns banned”.
However, SSAA WA publicist Rachael Andrews brought balance to the report pointing out the rigid controls on handgun licencing and explaining the motive behind the billboard.
She said that the poster, that shows the hunter as an electrician in a smaller image with the words “electrician by day, hunter by choice”, was designed to show hunters come from all walks of life.
“To show that it is not a fringe part of Australian life, but it’s everywhere,” she reportedly said, adding that it was movie posters showing pistol-wielding heroes aiming at other people that glorified guns.
“We are talking about firearms in a safe environment, a supervised environment – that is not the same as the glorifying of firearms in movies where it’s being aimed at people.”
She said city people require education about hunting and its importance to country folk.
Interestingly, all the comments at the end of the story are pro hunting.