November 16, 1963.
A big change is to be made in the laws concerning firearms in this country. Quite apart from the holding of rifles, shotguns, ammunition, etc, which have always been strictly controlled, the authorities have taken steps to prohibit the holding of air rifles. Now, we have all had some type of air-gun or other in our time. Windows have paid the penalty, birds were shot down, and unfortunately people have been injured. Boys will be boys, and what boy does not find glamour in having a gun, and particularly in being recognised as a good shot? Bows and arrows will, in all probability, come within the orbit of the new laws, and rightly so.
Let us not dwell too much on the harm occasioned by the unjudicious use of arms of any kind; we know too well the sorrows and heartbreaks where fatal accidents have occurred. We also recognise that precautions were taken too late. On the subject of guns, let us ponder a while over the use of antiquated firearms by sportsmen. This time last year it was our duty to report inquests on many sportsmen who were accidentally killed out shooting. The present time is most appropriate to call the attention to the known fact that some sportsmen have shotguns, which are far more deadly to the owners, potentially more dangerous anyhow, than to the prey.
Many instances have been publicised, by virtue of inquests, where faulty guns have caused serious and often fatal accidents. There should be a check-up on types of guns, especially during the season. Enough for sportsmen.
At the present time the moves being made by the authorities are doubly welcome, for air-guns are not what they used to be: the spring type. Today, powerful guns which are not rifled have a great range. Such weapons should only be used under strict control. It is necessary to state that many young men today are partially sightless as the direct result of the negligent use of such weapons.
We have many controls - some will suggest there are too many - but the new proposals should indeed be welcomed.