Anti-gun activist John Crook has accused the Sporting Shooters Association of Australia of trying to ‘break’ gun laws and demanded shooters be kicked off the government’s firearms advisory panel.
In an interview broadcast by Sky News, he said the “Sporting Shooters Association [wants] to break our gun laws” and accused the organisation trying to have US-style gun laws brought into Australia, inflammatory claims denied by the SSAA.
“SSAA NSW completely rejects claims made by Mr Crook that we are trying to ‘break’ gun laws,” SSAA NSW executive director Diana Melham told Sporting Shooter.
“In fact SSAA National was recently recognised by the federal government’s Crime and Violence Prevention Awards for their long standing efforts to improve firearm safety.”
Shooters have turned on Crook, a notorious campaigner against legally owned firearms, saying he is cashing in on the tragic killings in the US town of Aurora last weekend to drum up fear in Australia, where our gun laws bear no comparison to America’s.
Crook seemed to chose his words to suit: “What a tragedy it is that there are groups in Australia that are trying to break those gun laws and have American gun laws.”
He said his message to the Prime Minister regarding her advice on firearms was to “get rid of these people and put on responsible criminologists and people representing the women’s movement, medical associations, people who are interested in supporting gun laws”.
Crook’s focus on the federal government misses the point that gun laws are laid down by states and territories, not nationally, despite a general agreement that all states and territories should have the same laws.
He appeared fixated on the federal government, though.
“Why should the Sporting Shooters Association be in such favour with the Gillard government and indeed all ALP governments, who have gone crazy for this group?” he asked.
“Are they just trying to get gun votes, or do we have to look further and ask are the bed mates of the Sporting Shooters Association, that is the international gun and ammunition manufacturers, are they – we have to ask this question – are they giving money to the ALP?”
The SSAA’s NSW branch stepped away from Crook’s erroneous claims and conspiracy theories.
“It’s inevitable that the tragic events in Colorado last week will cause people to look at firearms legislation here in Australia,” Ms Melham said. “But the question of whether our gun laws are ‘tough enough’ is the wrong question to ask.
“What we should be asking is how effective our firearms laws are. Do they help police get illegal guns off the street and out of the hands of criminals?”
“No one wants illegal guns and the criminals who use them off the street more than licensed, law abiding firearm owners.”
She said SSAA NSW wants to work with the government as a part of the NSW Firearms Consultative Committee to suggest sensible and effective firearms laws.
“We need to target criminals who use illegal guns without penalising the hundreds of thousands of law abiding Australians who participate in the safe, fun and unique range of shooting sports.”
Editor’s comment: What can you say when the media gives unbalanced coverage to such ridiculous accusations by a man who clearly has no regard for democratic process? If anyone should be shut out of the process, it is fanatics like Crook who refuse live by the reasoned values our society is built upon. MM