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Push for kids to shoot with their families -

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SHANE MCLEOD: In New South Wales, laws that restrict young people from using air rifles at shooting
ranges are being targeted by the small but powerful Shooters Party.

The party's numbers in the Upper House of Parliament allow the State Labor Government to stay in
power. It will introduce what it says are common sense amendments to the next sittings of
Parliament, to allow kids under 12 to go shooting with their families.

But the Coalition for Gun Control says it's a dangerous scenario and has accused the gun lobby
group of trying to recruit young people.

Lindy Kerin reports.

LINDY KERIN: Many Australians would be shocked to see children under 12 with a gun.

But Roy Smith from the Shooters Party says that's what many shooting families would like.

ROY SMITH: Well lots of families that shoot together as a sport, adults and juniors, and we've had
a significant number of people asking us to remove the age restrictions so that younger siblings
can shoot air rifles alongside their older brothers and sisters.

LINDY KERIN: Roy Smith says the restrictions in New South Wales are nonsense and he's trying to
change the law so that kids under 12 can use their rifles under adult supervision at target ranges.

ROY SMITH: I mean there's a restriction that really only applies in some states of Australia, not
all states. Most states have legislation allowing juniors to shoot on approved shooting ranges and
the legislation we have in Australia with respect to air rifles is probably unique around the
world.

LINDY KERIN: The private member's bill will be introduced at the next sittings of New South Wales
Parliament.

Roy Smith says he's confident he'll get the support of the Government and Opposition.

ROY SMITH: We're talking about juniors receiving instructions, under instruction, by a licensed
adult on an approved target range. I mean there's absolutely no risk whatsoever to anyone within
the community, and in fact the benefits are significant because we're getting juniors and we're
teaching them sensible and responsibility at an early age rather than waiting till they get an
opportunity or try and find an opportunity to do something the wrong way.

LINDY KERIN: But that's what concerns the Coalition for Gun Control's Samantha Lee.

She says the move is dangerous and absurd.

SAMANTHA LEE: Young people in New South Wales, they can't drive a car till they're 16, they can't
drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes until they're 18, and it's absurd to think that they may be able
to use a firearm when they're 10 years of age.

When you think of air rifles, they're kind of lighter firearms, it's a bit like introducing young
people to light nicotine cigarettes and hoping that they'll move onto full strength cigarettes in
the long-term.

Martin Bryant, the perpetrator or the Port Arthur massacre, began training with air rifles and then
moved onto semi-automatic firearms and this is our concern with introducing young people to
firearms at such an early age.

LINDY KERIN: But Roy Smith from the Shooters Party has rejected the criticism.

ROY SMITH: That shows the unrealistic nature and the stupidity of these people and just how far
they will go in an attempt to paint responsible law abiding firearm owners as being irresponsible
and I'm sure that most people in the community will see this in a sensible light.

LINDY KERIN: The New South Wales Police Minister Michael Daley was unavailable for an interview but
in a statement he said the Government is working through the complex and detailed policy ideas.

He says it's important to strike the right balance between allowing for responsible shooting sports
and making sure that young people are strictly supervised on shooting ranges.

Meanwhile the New South Wales Greens MP Lee Rhiannon says the Shooters Party campaign is part of a
bigger agenda.

She says the party is in a strong position to negotiate with the New South Wales Government, which
needs its support for key legislation.

LEE RHIANNON: I remain concerned that the latest push from the Shooters MPs to weaken gun control
measures and make it easier for young people to shoot in New South Wales could be part of their
wider agenda which is they get a win and return, if the Government grants that, they will then work
with the Government on passing unpopular legislation.

SHANE MCLEOD: New South Wales Greens MP Lee Rhiannon ending Lindy Kerin's report.