Firearms owners should not take privilege lightly

Firearms ownership in Australia is a privilege not a right.

It is a privilege bestowed on those who comply with the law by having a use for registered rifles, shotguns and some hand guns. 

For example, farmers, sporting and target shooters, collectors and those who use firearms for hunting. 

I will always defend firearm ownership for those who have been granted the privilege to own and use them if they meet those criteria.

The rifles I disposed of by lodging with local police for supervised destruction had little or no heritage value. 

The 303 was actually a Sportco 303/25 that had been converted for sporting use and consisted of an Enfield 303 action with a modified stock and a well worn .25 calibre barrel that in my view was potentially dangerous. 

The other was an equally well worn .22 calibre pea rifle. 

Sportco was an Australian manufacturer of rifles and shotguns in Adelaide from 1947 until the early 1980s and specialised in re-barreling Lee Enfield rifles to .303/22 and .303/25 calibre. 

I posted a message on Social media indicating what I had done and urging others do the same or sell any registered firearms that were no longer used to a licensed firearm dealer. 

Australia already has the most stringent and effective firearm laws thanks to former Prime Minister John Howard and Kim Beasley and all Australians should acknowledge their courage.

It is a great pity the United States hasn’t adopted similar laws on firearm ownership. 

I get tired of the old saying that cars kill more people than firearms. Why don’t we ban them?  Cars are not the weapon of choice for the average mass murderer.

We have witnessed the most shocking acts of firearm related violence in Australia over past decades and more recently in Europe and the United States. 

People should remember every innocent victim of those cowardly and senseless acts had a far greater right to live than anyone has to own a firearm. 

Steve Gibbons MP,

Federal Member for Bendigo

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