The Origins of Shooters Union of Australia
So there we sat, talking around the lunch table at the local range, as shooters worldwide do. A wide variety of subjects came up, nearly all shooting related, some serious and some that could only be described as tall tales.
A couple of subjects that created a lot of discussion centred around current gun laws and the impact they were having on the shooting fraternity. One of the impacts was that a lot of people were deciding it was too expensive to keep their licences. They had licence fees, club fees, the purchase of a safe, for some who had inadvertently let their licences lapse, there were safety course fees and so on it went. Then there was considerable dissatisfaction at the apparent lack of activity on the legislative front by existing shooting groups. Could anything be done about those two particular issues?
Well, yes, maybe ……. How about a new shooting club, dedicated to opposing further restrictions with a membership that was really cheap? All the other costs were beyond our control, but club membership fees of a new organisation were something we could control. But what a lot of work to get a new shooting organisation up and running ……. and it was too!
That discussion at the range was in 2004 and it planted the seeds for Shooters Union, deliberately named because we didn’t want to be an organisation or association like the others. We wanted to be a union of like minded individuals who joined together to further the aims of shooters Queensland wide (and later Australia wide).
We struck some snags in setting up Shooters Union of Qld, but with persistence (often termed pig-headedness) and dedication, each hurdle, often set by authority, was overcome. It took about two years before the small band of a dozen or so at inception, were joined by others who could see the vision that has become the Shooters Union movement.
Shooters Union Expansion across Australia
It wasn’t a big bang. It was a slow expansion. We lost members along the way – some only joined for a year to get their licences and came back five years later when they had to renew. Some still do that, but thousands more joined because they liked what we stood for. They liked who we were and how we took on their battles with officialdom – and won! They liked that we stood up for our members and for shooters and other firearms users generally. They liked what we achieved in a fairly short space of time.
We went from “Shooters Union? never heard of them!” to “Shooters Union? Oh that’s that new bunch . They’re doing some good stuff for us. You should join!”.
Today, our membership is growing fast. We are recognised by other shooting organisations, if grudgingly and we have expanded into three states with a national organisation to bind us. We have a strong and active committee, each dedicated to the ideals of responsible firearms ownership. We look after our members, providing information and education as required. Our Membership Director handles dozens of calls a day, the committee members handle a similar number of emails. We have branches and ranges and more whole clubs considering whether to join us en masse.
If you’re not already a member, why not join us, even if you are a member of another shooting organisation. We all need your support to stand up for you!