LET’S be clear on a very important fact from the outset: Not all gun owners are criminals, nor are the higher numbers of firearms in rural areas an immediate cause for concern.
It’s important to point that out, because there are some on the far left who use any and every opportunity to take a swipe at law-abiding gun owners, decrying their “private arsenals”.
However, it’s also important to highlight the worrying “slackness” about firearms in some parts of our society. For close to three years in a row, Wagga’s had the highest number of firearms-related offences in the state. Now that doesn’t mean that we’re a hotbed of gun crime, simply that some people aren’t following the rules when it comes to the safe storage and handling of these weapons.
The vast majority of licenced gun owners jump through the hoops and pay the high costs associated with their firearms, whether it’s for pest control or sports shooting. Beyond the prices for licences and firearms themselves, even ammunition is more expensive to buy in Australia than it is overseas.
Which makes it all the more curious that some people don’t bother to lock it away tightly and securely. You see, while the licenced owner may have paid the prices and jumped through the hoops, if that gear isn’t stowed away correctly there’s a criminal element waiting to snatch it away and possibly use it for more nefarious purposes.
This is why our police are to be commended for going out there and doing the legwork that earns our region the unwanted state title. By doing those checks on gun safes and making sure your ammo is locked away, they’re trying to make sure potentially deadly materials don’t fall into the wrong hands.
We’re fortunate in Australia that we’ve seen so little gun crime. The United States, for all of it’s freedoms, has an absolutely shocking number of gun-related deaths every year. Walk into any Walmart or Bass Pro Shop and you can find a number of firearms available for sale with far fewer checks and balances on who buys them. There are even the really worrying weapons, like semi-automatic assault rifles, not just the supposed “rapid fire” shotguns that the Greens carried on about earlier in the year. Ammunition for these guns is also cheap and plentiful.
Firearms can be sold safely and used safely, but we need to make sure we’re being responsible as well.