Up In Arms

Up In Arms

In a world of perpetual outrage, there are some guaranteed instant argument creators. I’ll be discussing one of them this week so prepare yourself.

Here goes…

Last weekend I shot a dozen different firearms and fired off hundreds of rounds as part of my firearms licence training. It was fantastic fun.

I signed up for the course as part of a quest to truly understand the process and laws attached to gun ownership in Australia.

Along the way, I discovered just how much fun shooting can be and how it attracts people of all ages and from all walks of life.

The youngest trainee was just 14 and the most experienced enthusiast had 80 years of wisdom. They, like the dozens of others attending, had different reasons for taking up the course.

There were primary producers attending for professional reasons, hunters, handgun enthusiasts, skeet shooters and collectors. Some were members of clubs while others just wanted the privilege of being licenced to possess a firearm.

I even met a multi-games gold medallist just enjoying a few rounds on the range. She demonstrated that the skill attached to being a good shooter is about discipline, focus, practice and more practice.

Remarkably, whilst apprehensive at the start, I left my weekend course aware of just how safety-conscious the typical gun enthusiast is and how guns are safe and fun when handled correctly.

Perhaps more than any other mechanical implement, when misused, a gun can inflict injury or death. It is an unforgiving instrument when in the wrong hands and I completely understand why they make many people apprehensive.

When bad people or those with mental illness gain access to guns the result can be catastrophic. This is likely why gun owners are often received poorly by those who don’t appreciate the joys and challenges of sports shooting.

The sports shooter is someone who cares about the safety and reputation of others involved in their sport and also for the wider community.

These enthusiasts were willing to spend their time discussing many of my concerns about guns and gun violence here and abroad. I left better educated and more fully able to understand why someone would want to own one or more firearms – even if it is just for the pleasure of doing so.

For those who don’t like the thought of firearms in private ownership, these responsible owners shouldn’t be of concern.

I was told there are hundreds of thousands of firearms unaccounted for in Australia. There are many more imported without knowledge of the authorities.

That is what should worry us. Who has these guns and what do they intend to do with them? This is the great challenge of law enforcement.

The new rules and regulations relating to storing, registering and handling of firearms (at least in SA) are onerous and restrictive for the responsible shooter. However, I completed my training thinking they strike a reasonable balance between allowing people to enjoy firearms and managing community expectations.

As someone who has always fought for less regulation in our lives, I can understand why some gun owners would like to see changes. After all, the bad guys don’t care about the law no matter how many rules you have in place.

Some will argue that the only way to stop these bad guys with guns is by having more good guys with guns. After a single weekend of shooting, I haven’t subscribed to that position but I certainly appreciate the joy and pleasure sports shooting can bring.

Things that make you go Hmm…

Bill fails geography, Melbourne silks close rank around judges, there’s a public servant bludger drive and Canberra parents meet an sorry fete. Darts stews in stench of foul play, there’s cracks in the chess club and an Aussie ex-exec lives the high life. ABC journos tilt left, eat-driving gets complicated but is this a crime of things to come?

Green cash trumps altruism in Cheshire, a cunning joy flight comes unstuck, the Dutch divide over Christmas tradition as globalists squeeze Tanzania’s values. China gags film-maker Fu Yue, love knows virtually no bounds in Japan as this boss adds some Christmas bang. London ambos’ priorities are all wrong as this British high school doubles down on virtue.

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