Brown queries extent of gun lobby resources

from page 5 of The Mercury, May 1, 1996

by Michael Lester, State affairs writer

  Australian Greens Senator-elect Bob Brown has called for the public exposure of the wealth and influence of the gun lobby on state and federal politicians.
  He said the gun lobby had access to hundreds of thousands of dollars and could threaten political parties with campaigns of between $500,000 and $1 million to ensure its interests were met.
  Dr Brown also called on the gun lobby to put some of its wealth into reparations for those affected by the Port Arthur massacre.
  Sporting Shooters Association of Australia national president Ted Drane said his organisation could mount a campaign of the magnitude described by Dr Brown. However, he said the money did not come from overseas.
  "We could if we had to spend substantial sums on a campaign," Mr Drane said.
  Dr Brown said yesterday the Greens would pursue tough federal and state gun laws.
  "We all have to do what we can to salvage some good from this evil," Dr Brown said.
  "The obvious good is for Australia to have the most stringent gun-control laws that are available in any democratic society."
  Dr Brown welcomed the tripartite agreement by state politicians to ban military-style semi-automatic weapons and introduce a guns register as a great advance.
  "But the history of massacres in Australia is that they are followed by an outcry, a political commitment, then a weakening of the position over the months that follow," Dr Brown said.
  The gun lobby was a formidable organisation, he said.
  He was concerned there were signs Queenslan would oppose tougher uniform national gun laws.
  "I'm concerned at the power and influence of the gun lobby which has overseas connections and wealth," he said.
  Tasmanian Firearm Owners Association secretary John Presser said his organisation did run advertisements telling voters which political candidates supported their interests but did not campaign against parties or candidates.
  He said the association was not wealthy and had a bank balance of about $300.
  Mr Drane said the SSAA did get about $20,000 from the United States Institute of Legistative Action which was associated with the gun lobby organisation the National Rifleman's Association but generally relied on its own income.
  Last year the SSAA had a turnover of more than $3 million.

[image: "Bob Brown: concern at "power and influence of the gun lobby"." (4x5) ]

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