Firearms and hunting came out smelling rosy in a segment on Triple J’s Hack, in which Sophie McNeill and other reporters took “a special look at rising gun ownership in Australia and the growing political influence of shooters”.
Beginning with comment and interviews with shooters and instructors at Queensland’s Belmont range, Hack covered the basics of the sport, including hunting, clay targets and rifle target shooting.
It then cut back to McNeill with two guests, the SSAA’s Tim Bannister and Greens MP David Shoebridge. McNeill conducts a nicely balanced interview, allowing some good debate and steering the conversation to a number of issues.
Various shooters, ranging from recreational hunters to Olympian Suzy Balogh, are also featured on the program, while the gun control lobby gets less airplay this time.
The program picks up on a number of interesting points, including the fact that shooters always seem to be talking up their sport as if they need to do PR. Ultimately, Bannister responds that it’s because John Howard succeeded in making shooting “distasteful”.
Shoebridge talks about our “growing gun culture” and “worshipping the gun as if it’s something beautiful in and of itself,” and tries to focus on guns purely as a means of killing, but Hack repeatedly brings the sporting aspect back into the mix.
There are hints of the conspiracy theory touted by gun control lobbyists that the SSAA is a large, bullying political organisation, and Hack covers the donations made by the SSAA and others to political parties, but in the end it’s clear that shooters’ support for pro-shooting policies and political groups is nothing underhanded, just what’s to be expected.
Unfortunately, the Shooters and Fishers Party media spokesman got his back up when Triple J called him, and he ended up hanging up. It’s clear that he was expecting the radio show to ‘stitch up’ shooters, but Hack has produced a balanced and very credible program – one that is much more positive than shooters might have expected, given the way the media has treated the sport over the years.
The program is well worth hearing, and you can find it on this page. You’ll have to scroll to the bottom to find the embedded file.
Ron Walker, a gun owner who lives in the inner west of Sydney, features in another related program on Hack. He gives a shooters’ perspective on firearms and ownership. You’ll find the audio on this page.