ON A sweeping mission to demystify firearms and their users, Senator Bridget McKenzie visited Tamworth Pistol Club on Sunday morning.
As chair of the Parliamentary Friends of Shooting, a group established in 2015 to promote the legitimate sport of shooting and counteract negative attitudes towards hunters and shooters, Senator McKenzie was visiting the region’s shooting clubs and businesses over the weekends.
“I’m very passionate about the one million law-abiding firearm owners in this country getting a fair deal from federal and state governments, so it’s important that you get on the ground and talk to the diversity of people involved in that,” she told The Leader on Sunday.
“We called in to see all the gun shop owners as well because this is a billion-dollar industry.
“It’s not just about the firearm owners, it’s also the small businesses that are involved, it’s the environmental impacts that are resolved as a result of people going hunting.
“I think people in the city fail to realise that it’s about good animal husbandry too – to be able to carry a long arm or a pistol on huge properties, such as you have here in northern NSW, so that if you come across sheep or cattle who need to be euthanased, that you can do that in a humane way.”
Senator McKenzie said another reason behind the Parliamentary Friends of Shooting group was to remind people shooting stars aren’t made overnight – it takes clubs like Tamworth Pistol Club to foster the sport and development of its members.
“I’ve set it up so that we positively promote the environmental, social and economic benefits of hunting and shooting to those people who aren’t part of that community,” she said.
“Part of that is also about educating the press, particularly those in urban areas, about who we are as shooters, how much fun the sport can be, and the important contribution that hunting and shooting makes right across society.
“It’s about demystifying firearms.
“It’s about taking that message to the wider population so that we don’t make decisions in a reactionary way, in an emotional way, that we use best evidence and that we understand that law-abiding firearm oweners are nothing to fear.”
Tamworth Pistol Club president Phil Harris invited Senator McKenzie to visit the club, which boasts close to 400 members and seven ranges, making it one of the largest in regional NSW.
“We’re putting her through a .22 standard match, but there are a number of other shoots happening at the club today, including service match and cowboy shooting,” he said.
Senator McKenzie tipped the key to a precise shot was all in the stance.