Who Victorian shooters are – and what they are thinking

One in two shooters who responded to our recent survey has a formal trade qualification, degree or other higher level of education.  

They’re also young, passionate about what they do – and understand how preference flows at state and federal elections work.

Over many years, those opposed to shooting have tried to paint us as aging, uneducated and disconnected from society. So, we decided to use social media to test if this was true.

The results say a lot about how wrong those who criticise us can be.

The typical Victorian shooter

The survey attracted 833 responses. Based on their responses:

  • 86% of shooters are members of at least one shooting organisation;
  • 47% were in the age group 24-40. A further 30% were aged 41-55;
  • 55% had a formal trade qualification, a degree or other higher level of education beyond high school;
  • 95% engage in hunting. 70% engage in target shooting;
  • 69% have some understanding of how preference flows in the upper house at state and federal elections work. Less than 9% didn’t.

This last finding is a significant result because it follows years of work by shooting organisations to make shooters aware of the dangers of blindly voting ‘above the line’ at elections  It confirms the opportunity the CFCV has to help guide shooters when voting to protect their sport.

Victorian shooters are younger, better educated and more connected within their shooting communities than others would assume.

What they’re concerned about

We also surveyed respondents on what they thought the CFCV should lobby government on.  We presented them with 12 issues of concern and applied standard weightings to enable responses to be evaluated.

Here are the top three concerns shooters have:

  • Number 1 – The issue shooters felt most strongly about is to “Allow self-loading 0.22 and shotguns for pest / hunting as is presently the case with farmers”  This reflects a inequity based on a political bias which makes no practical sense;
  • Number 2 The second strongest response was to “Reclassify sporting style semi-auto rifles and pump action shotguns to Category B (i.e. centrefire)”. Shooters are still of the strong opinion the current categorisations are not reasonable.  The current debate over the Adler A-110 lever action shotgun, which is based on nothing more than a Youtube clip, has only served to raise their ire;
  • Number 3 – The third strongest response was to “Provide for lifetime shooters licences” While there are practical limitations with photo IDs and address changes, the response does raise the question of how our licensing regime could be made more efficient.

Related to this was shooters’ strong response on the management of our firearms registry.

Many of the comments received were critical of way our registry was being managed: over half those surveyed said it should be scrapped. As the management of the firearms registry is within the State Government’s control, we’ll be delving into this a bit deeper with another survey, in the near future.

Making the Firearms Consultative Committee a statutory body missed out on third place by the narrowest of margins.

We’ll be putting the concerns raised by this survey to MPs from both sides of parliament shortly.  We’ll be interested to see how they respond.

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