Like a sleeping giant, shooters are waking up and will end the slow-cooking of their culture

Cabinet documents from the Hawke-era reveal plans long before the tragic Port Arthur massacre to introduce a register of longarms and slowly wipe shooters off the map. The long-term commitment to slowly ending shooting for sport and recreation was confirmed this year by strengthened provisions of the National Firearms Agreement between the States and the Commonwealth.

As a shooter, you are the target of a cultural campaign waged by large segments of the police, politicians and academics bitterly opposed to private firearms ownership. George Orwell (Eric Blair) understood perfectly when he wrote:

That rifle on the wall of the labourer’s cottage or working class flat is the symbol of democracy. It is our job to see that it stays there.

Justin Luke recently explained how serious this cultural campaign is and what’s at stake: everything.  As the ‘grandfather’ arrangements for reclassified lever-action shotguns (and whatever gets reclassified next year) strangle all private firearms ownership over one or two generations.

Growth: the shooting community’s best hope

Numbers of firearms licensees (and registered firearms) have been growing strongly. Consider NSW, where registered firearms jumped about 8% in under two years.  Or Queensland, where there will be 200,000 licensed owners shortly, if there aren’t already.

This is the biggest danger to politicians and policy-makers: that they get on the wrong side of a growing culture of responsible firearms ownership. Indeed, they recognise and they fear this. Consider the disgusted references to ‘gun culture’ in newspaper articles.

They’d better worry about their job security

There is a growing market of younger Australian shooters who can see a more balanced regulatory system just across the ditch in New Zealand.  Who will advocate for it?

The SSAA (an organisation packed full of dedicated, passionate volunteers) has the membership base and the bankroll to stare down the politicians and the worst of the firearms bureaucracy, riding on the demographic strength of increased numbers. But it might take the gradual generational change of leadership.

For the time being, we see Queensland’s Labor Police Minister (the latest in a series) gleefully continuing Queensland Labor’s policy of doing everything possible to end private firearms ownership and culture by taking firearms off farmers and stopping ANZAC reenactors (both of which have been safely using firearms for decades).

The sleeping giant is growing. And sleeping less and less nowadays.