SSAA, ADA and FGA decline NSC’s unity offer to support gun shops
4 May 2020|gun shops, Legal actions
IN THIS POST we reveal that the SSAA seems to be leading the charge to avoid supporting our efforts to keep our gun shops open.
Let’s be clear about this: governments of three states have engaged in deliberate and damaging political attacks on the shooting sports.
This requires the strongest possible response from our industry. Yet not everyone agrees, which is infuriating shooters.
SSAA goes on the warpath
For reasons only it can explain, SSAA Vic used social media to attack the NSC’s decision to fight the gun shop restrictions through legal channels.
Last week, SSAA Victoria put out a post which we believe was a thinly veiled swipe at those actions. In its post the SSAA said it had received advice from ‘expert legal counsel’ about the prospect of taking action, but that any action would be ‘quickly dismissed’. Instead it said it wanted take other ‘action that would lead to a result, not be a publicity stunt’ .
Our question is, if the legal advice was so clear, then where is it? If the action would be so quickly dismissed , then how is it that the NSC has been able to obtain directions hearing in the matter filed in Victoria. Why are firearm traders’ associations in three states still looking at starting at their own actions?
The SSAA later added a comment to its post questions about our constitution, annual reporting, members rights and so on. These are no secret - but digging into the NSC’s background while failing to discuss the action we are taking is hardly relevant, which has only made us even more concerned about the path that SSAA Vic took on this matter.
Members of our executive responded to the comments, including asking where the advice came from (was it from a QC, SC, or barrister?) - and if the SSAA would share the advice? These were perfectly reasonable questions to ask given the statements made, but the response was to delete the questions we asked and block our executives from their Facebook page.
Enter ADA and FGA
The SSAA, ADA and FGA have long worked together on matters of common interest, such as advocating for game hunters. That is great to see because of what they do. They also work closely on matters of political interest, with the SSAA stating on its own website that it protects firearm owners’ interests.
While we do not question their interest in hunting, we thought the least we could do to patch things over was to give them a chance to help us on the action we have taken - after all, we have a directions hearing coming very soon.
NSC makes unity offer
Last week, we wrote to the three organisations seeking their support and financial contributions to fight as a unified team. While we are running three actions, support from the Victorian organisations who have been otherwise quite vocal on the matter would help us sustain the fight on all fronts. In fact their support is more critical than perhaps they realise.
We received two responses. The first was from the ADA which came in three parts. The first parts raised similar questions to that of the SSAA while the third part curiously indicated their willingness to have their own observer at the directions hearing.
Whilst the ADA has not make an offer to support our action, their attitude seems to have changed during the week, which does not shut the door in working together in some form going forward. That said, we won’t be asking the ADA to send an observe but will engage with them after the hearing because we believe it is still possible to work with them.
The other response came from FGA. While the FGA response also was to also not agreeing to support, the language was even more conciliatory and pointed to the wishes of its members. Likewise we will continue to try and work with FGA on the best result for Shooters.
Unfortunately the SSAA was the stand-out.
Responses from other organisations
The NSC also made approaches to several other shooting organisations in Victoria who have been supportive. Some of these organisations have significantly fewer members but they saw fit to donate to the fight which is obviously appreciated and important in keeping the fights going.
As we reported a few days ago, the Shooters Union also made a significant donation – and we are working quite well and cooperating with other major shooting organisations in WA and Qld.
After we sent the invitations, the SSAA, ADA and FGA released a joint statement which reads, in part:
There has been much conjecture about legal options and avenues that could be pursued. SSAA Victoria, FGA and ADA would like to reiterate that under advice from expert legal opinion, the best way to proceed is to continue with direct conversations with senior Government advisers and authorities.
Each Association has an obligation to deliver the best results possible for their respective membership and to allocate available funds responsibly. Neither SSAA Victoria, FGA nor ADA will waste resources on exploitative activities that promise much but in reality, deliver little.
The statement also said they were “working with senior Government advisors and Victoria Police delivers better outcomes for shooters” and “It is the expectation of SSAA Victoria, FGA and ADA that restrictions on our members will be lifted.”
Does this mean a “backroom” deal has been done? Can the the SSAA etc tell shooters when the restrictions will be lifted?
We suspect that if the organisations had thought about the matter more carefully, then the joint statement might have been toned down, or maybe not issued at all.
MP alleges deal
In a few days time, and with their permission, we will reveal a letter we have received from a Victorian MP which seems to also question whether a backroom deal has been done with the Victorian Government.
If a deal has been done, then we would like to know what that deal is.
We are not making any allegation against any of these organisations or saying that a deal has been done (but asking the question). However we do believe that SSAA’s conduct over the past few days raises serious questions that its members should ask of their organisation - especially in light of the serious and deliberate political attack that we face.
As we said, we’ll reveal the MP’s letter in a couple of days. It’s a corker.
Joining the NSC
Many of you who have joined the NSC have told us how much you want to abandon the SSAA.
However, it needs to be pointed out that membership of the SSAA, ADA and FGA provide ‘genuine reason’ while the NSC does not.
It would therefore be unwise to drop your membership if it leaves the reason for being able to have your licence exposed. That said, the NSC is working towards offering genuine reason, which is a discussion we are having with the Victorian Government at this time.