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Who are the National Coalition for Gun Control?

On Thursday 18th March 2004  Ms  Samantha Lee made unfounded claims, bordering on slander, that the ‘pro-gun lobby’ sent out a cancellation notice using Coalition for Gun Control (CGC) letterhead.

Let’s make it clear – the CGC media launch was by invitation only and the last thing the CGC wants is to allow any organisation involved with sport shooting to be able to ask questions at anything organised by the CGC. The CGC claim that they speak for the majority of Australians, but fail to offer any proof other than carefully staged ghoulish appearances when emotions run high about some terrible tragedy. They claim the ‘pro-gun lobby’ is a large and powerful organisation, which must be silenced for the good of society.

The claim the gun lobby is large is right – a lot of Australians recognise their heritage in firearm sports and hunting. In fact,  the shooting public are a legitimate mainstream part of Australian society and should be allowed to speak on issues that directly affect their sport.

I therefore call on the CGC to disclose its funding sources, and provide  details of its membership. I ask that they be as transparent in their dealings as organisations like the SSAA are. There is no secret that SSAA members fund a representative to the UN, that they support safe storage and legitimate sports. There is no secret about the number of people they represent.  

This is in contrast to the CGC, who apart from the so-called 'pro bono' support by Saatchi and Saatchi, are very shy about their funding. There is no transparency about who funds the CGC.  

From John Tingle :
On March 22 2004, Mike Jefferys, who does the breakfast programme on 2CC Canberra, interviewed Samantha Lee.  When he asked her who the NCGC actually were, and how many of them there were, she hedged.   When he put it to her that she was the only member, she replied “Maybe I’ve just got a loud voice.”

He then asked her what had happened to the TV Commercial.  Was it a fact they had to withdraw it because segments in it could be in breach of the firearms laws?    No, it had been canned because of a personal matter between herself and the advertising agency, Saatchi and Saatchi, which produces ads for the NCGC on a free “pro bono” basis; and that the “public” didn’t need to know the reason behind the cancellation.

In a recent, widely syndicated article on NGOs, Pramit Pal Chaudhuri, foreign editor of the 'Hindustan Times' wrote that "...the money trail of most NGOs resembles that of Al Qaeda rather than that of ExxonMobil. The 2003 Global Accountability Report labels NGOs among the least transparent global institutions, particularly in money matters. The article comments that:

"The result is that NGOs can be, and often are, funded by cranky millionaires, flat-earth foundations, criminals and old ladies who believe in the power of crystals. Such NGOs actively promote these idiosyncratic world views. …..As NGO staff are not beholden to anyone in their country of activity and have no incentive towards moderation, their behaviour often resembles that of a small, hostile religious sect. “ 

One of the most potent weapons wielded by the CGC in Australia are public opinion polls that purport to show that a majority of the public are opposed to guns.  These polls are biased by a methodological flaw: the mere act of asking people if they have concerns about guns on the street requires them to express a view on a subject that ranks very low in their everyday concerns.  Because modern political decision-making is so poll-driven, these polls have convinced government of an enormous groundswell of public opposition to legal gun ownership - and they then take inordinate measures to assuage such opinion. 

Like the Cheshire cat, the heads of the anti-gun lobby materialise wherever there is a stage, a TV camera or a microphone. But they are less formidable than they appear -- the CGC corpus is insubstantial. 

The anti-gun movement has played a key role in introducing overly restrictive legislation for licensed firearms owners, but for its professional activists, too much will never be enough.  While governments vacillate, activists will raise endless doubts about civilian ownership.  Wracked by uncertainty, and paralysed by political and bureaucratic timidity, Australia has thrown up ineffective and unjust legislation to satisfy the demands of a tiny clique of  extremists.