SEBASTIAN ZICCONE ON WHY HE STARTED THE CFCV

Former CFCV President, Sebastian Ziccone, has kindly written the following article which delves into the reason he formed our group.

The second firearms buyback which occurred after the tragic shooting at Monash University in 2006 had a huge impact on the organised shooting associations. They saw that the spectre of ultimate disarmament was a reality as the government perceived the groups as fragmented and subsequently soft targets on which to impose a “statesman” like solution.

It was ’96 all over again

The Sporting Shooters Association of Australia (Vic.) had protested vigorously after the draconian and utterly unnecessary confiscation of semi-auto long arms back in 1996. It was adept at confronting government (state and federal) in the means with which the authorities attempted to reduce the number of both firearms and licensed shooters in Victoria.

A major consequence of this attack on law abiding licensed shooters was the phenomenal increase in the membership of the shooting organisations and the SSAA in particular. The down side of this willingness to confront the government was that members of SSAA (Vic.) executive became targets for both the authorities and the media; there were times when we were excluded from a variety of forums.

The response to the Monash University shooting

The Monash University shooting gave me (as President of SSAA (Vic.) at the time) cause to consider our eventual demise – a death of a thousand cuts –so to speak because the shooting organisations were so fragmented.

Together with David Barton – the SSAA (Vic.) CEO at the time, we decide to call a meeting of all the shooting organisations then at risk of strangulation by the government because of the further attacks on our chosen sport. That meeting was attended by most of the invited groups.

There was much discussion over the need to create a group that would represent all shooting organizations. A group that would take the fight to the government without having to make it a personal confrontation by individual organisations.

There was some angst amongst some of the groups regarding the voting rights of the various members with the smaller groups anxious that they would be swallowed up by the larger groups. I avoided that trap by suggesting that voting should be equal across the board irrespective of the size of the organisation.

Funding was another matter that saw some heated debate but because of the need for capitalising the new group we decide that each organisation would contribute based on its membership. That first meeting resolved to take those decisions back to their respective executive for ratification. The result became the Combined Shooting Council of Victoria (CFCV).

Other shooting organisations decided to get involved

The membership of the CFCV in the beginning included SSAA (Vic.), Field and Game Australia, Victorian Amateur Pistol Association and International Practical Shooting Confederation (Vic.). However it quickly drew in more organisations who were concerned about the longer term implications of yet another concerted attack on the shooting sports by the government. Organisations such as the Victorian Clay Target Association, Vintagers: Order of Edwardian Gunners, Target Rifle Victoria and Firearm Traders Association.

CFCV was involved in two state elections during my time as chairman. Our impact on the results of the second election was such that the then Labor state government was readily prepared to discuss consultation with stakeholders (shooting organisations) regarding changes to regulations and the (re) implementation of a consultative committee on firearms matters.

Editorial footnote

Sebastian stood down in the mid-2000s with Bill Paterson now at the helm.

His timely response to the Monash shooting – just five weeks before the 2002 Victorian State Election – seized an opportunity at a critical time for the shooting sports in Victoria.

Had it not been for his involvement, we wouldn’t have had funding for ranges, the constructive working relationships we now have with a number of MPs or the harmony which now exists between shooting organisations. The history on having duck season in Victoria would most likely have been rewritten, probably alongside the shape of hunting more generally in this state.

We owe a lot to Sebastian. However we still have a lot of work ahead of us to do.

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  1. Well done Sebastian

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