by sjbgilmour

Ever a hot topic, guns.  So many opinions and arguments for and against their availability and use.  So much fuss in political arenas.  Regardless of one’s opinions; whether you’re pro or anti, one fact cannot be argued: so many injuries and deaths that could have been avoided or prevented had guns not been in the hands of those who used them improperly.

Now, I consider myself and my family among the lucky ones.  We live in a country where guns are harder to get than say, in America.  Also, shooting deaths and injuries here are relatively low compared to that country.   But, they are obtainable.  Kids as young as twelve can obtain a licence to use a gun for hunting.  Right now there’s a kerfuffle about New South Wales National Parks being opened up to hunters — something I personally find abhorrent — but I digress.  There’ll always be a kerfuffle about guns.  Until we no longer have a need for them.

Interesting word that: “need”.  I may feel I need a gun, but let’s define that.  Why do I need a gun?  Do I need it to protect myself and or my family?  Do live in a country where the right to bear arms is an issue and feel I need a gun to exorcise my right to bear arms?

NO, I do not and would not need a gun in any of those instances.  If I need to protect my family, I should contact the police.  They have guns, and are trained and protected and required by law to use them when necessary, and their “when necessary”, I guarantee you, is a helluva lot different from mine.  If I want to protect a right I have as a citizen of a country, I should vote in favour of it.  I don’t need a gun.  I may want one, but I sure as hell don’t need one.

It seems like a lifetime ago, but in my early twenties, I was a member of The Royal Australian Navy.  I was trained to use,  and did use guns.  I was a fairly good shot, actually.  So much so that at one point during my training, I was offered the chance to do further, advanced training to obtain a marksman’s certificate.  I declined.  I just wasn’t interested.  I can’t remember why.  What I do remember was a conversation with the crusty old Chief Petty Officer who suggested I go for my marksman’s ticket.

He asked if I wanted a gun.  I replied that I didn’t.  He pressed (and I’m paraphrasing here — it was a long time ago) ‘Not even to protect your family?’

Again, I said no.

Then I asked him why he asked me that, and he replied, and this bit I do remember very clearly, ‘Anyone who thinks they need a gun is exactly the kind of person who shouldn’t have one.  We don’t want that kind of mentality in our marksmen.’

I didn’t think much more about it then, or indeed for decades.  But now I remember it and now, it makes sense to me.  I can’t do anything about the gun issue in America, and it’s pointless me even getting involved.  I can do something about the issue of guns here in Australia.  Let’s go back to the current storm about hunting.

I call “bullshit!” on the right and or need to hunt game in Australia’s National Parks.  If you want to eat duck and don’t have them paddling about on your own property, go to your poultry butcher and buy one.  It’s cleaner, safer and cheaper than buying a gun and using it to hunt your fowl.  If you want to practice hitting a target with something, and that something has to be some sort of projectile, play golf.  If you really must use guns, join the military if they’ll have you.

I call “bullshit!” on the decision to allow private and or recreational shooters into National Parks, regardless of their targets.  If the government wants to control feral animals, then it should employ the Park Rangers solely to use firearms in our parks and reserves.

There.  That’s my two cents on guns in Australia.