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Wednesday 19 December 2012

Shooter defends rifle club

The gun control issue has been a hot topic in the media in the last few days after another tragic shooting at a school in the United States.

Shooting for sport has also come under fire with some believing a complete firearm ban is necessary to stop gun-related violence.

But Steve Cruickshank (pictured) from the Mossman and District Rifle Club defended the sport, saying those who participate in target shooting hold safety as their number one priority.

"There is always some kind of backlash...we're really controlled here with gun laws. On our range here you can't have bolts in rifles until you're ready to fire.

"There is really strict safety measures in this field...that's standard right across (shooting clubs)."

Mr Cruickshank dispelled the myth he says is prevalent in the community that those who participate in shooting are simply trying to be "macho."

"That's the view right throughout society. We have a hell of a time trying to get grants for this club," he said

"The public probably would like to see all shooting clubs close down, that's my feel.

"The people that come shooting are the ones who just want to have a relaxing afternoon shooting at a little target."

He said that the Club's 26 members represent a broad spectrum of the community including tradespeople, university students, farmers, and corporate consultants.

Visitors are welcomed with open arms at the Club, however participants are closely supervised by licensed range officers.

"They control the range and make sure it's safe. They don't allow any Tom, Dick, or Harry to come in and have a shoot," Mr Cruickshank said.

On the debate about tighter gun control in the USA, Mr Cruickshank was pessimistic about the possible benefits of the move.

"They've left it too late. The amount of people who have got guns is a lot, and the amount of people who would hand them back in? No way," he said.

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Will DEVLIN, Port Douglas, 20-12-12 17:41:
Editor, who is the "some believing a complete firearm ban is necessary to stop gun-related violence"? I have NEVER heard or read such a statement. Your correspondents and Mr CRUICKSHANK are right - shooting IS a sport; nothing inherently dangerous, and I'd suggest more people die from heart attack on a golf course (my sport of choice) than are accideentally injured or killed on a rifle range. People, generally, should be able to own firearms, secure them and have them registered and themselves licensed. It's the issue of hand guns and automatic- and semi-automatic firearms that is at issue. People are right about Pres Obama - he's in a no-win position against the financial might of the National Rifle Assoc and the poor old red-neck Americans who take the 'right to bear arms' to a ridiculous conclusion for the sake of their argument. Bans are rarely the answer - responsible gun ownership - as advocated by Mr CRUICKSHANK - is!
matt blak, molloy, 19-12-12 21:08:
Firstly for your readers info Australia outlawed semi autos after Martin Bryant committed the Port Arthur massacre. We can still legitimately purchase high powered rifles with a lawful excuse. I have a couple. I am also subject to regular Police Audits. They actually come to my house and check the guns and that they are secured properly. I am subject to stringent laws governing my ownership and the authorities know all about me and my clean record.
I can however choose to purchase an illegal firearm and not be subject to any scrutiny, the same as america. It is however nearly impossible to procure a semi auto rifle not that I want one. The other issue is that I need a licence to purchase ammo so it is really hard to get a gun and also have enough ammo to use it. I think that is a brilliant thing.
I have been on a remote community on the cape when semi autos were legal. One night a drunken guy thought he would go nuts. We counted 30 shots (standard magazine for a SKS/Kalishnikov) before some one rushed him and subdued him. The main problem with guns is that you need to discriminate against the idiots.
America on the other hand allows you to buy a semi auto from a 24 hour shopping mall alongside beer and nachos. And there is no restriction on what you are allowed to use your gun for or what your psychological profile is. Self defence is not a legitimate use for a gun in Australia. If Australias gun laws were imposed on America then only 5% at most of New Yorkers would be allowed to own a gun.
Guns like semi autos should be banned from the general population unless a clear and urgent need is demonstrated. I do however believe a firearm should be able to be used in self defense. The problem is that todays dogooder ideals don't allow discrimination. Discrimination in this case is justified. It is always the 1% of the population thats stuffs it up for the rest of us.
Americans however are a different case. They have a right to bear arms that we do not. I do believe that they can keep the right to bear arms but only a six shooter or lever action,not military style weapons. Problem nearly solved but as in our experience a bloody whole lot further needs to be solved. How many massacres have occurred since Port Arthur in this country? None.
nick g, pd, 19-12-12 10:50:
If they change the constitution there will b uproar when the first innocent person is killed because he couldn't defend himself. Obama can't win!

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