where we live

The WA maps show why the Labor and Liberal parties need to rethink where shooters live – or risk losing votes in marginal urban seats

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Assuming where we live

ONE of the reasons shooters are having problems with governments dishing out bad gun laws and policies, comes down to a lack of knowledge about who we are and what we do.

In addition to lacking relevant qualifications and experience, the major political parties seem to be basing their decisions to ignore us in the belief that shooting is only “a country thing”.

The perception

That belief assumes that shooters live where that they shoot – that is, in country rather than metropolitan areas.

After all, it wouldn’t make sense for the parties to invest political capital in supporting shooters if they think their votes will get picked up by the National Party or independents.

Except we may not live where they think

Shooting is like fishing in that long weekends bring the best out of us as those of us in metropolitan areas hit the roads to head off to country areas to shoot – or fish, as the case might be.

Where we live - traffic

Whether your heading off to a competition in Wagga Wagga or hunt deer in the bush, this does not change where shooters live – and vote.

That’s why traffic on the major roads on long weekends are nearly always bumper-to-bumper.

Shooters live closer to CBDs than most would think

Many of us know that that assumption that shooters will only be found in country areas, isn’t even close to reality.

In fact it was this author’s belief that most shooters are likely to be found in the middle to outer urban areas of our metropolitan areas.

However the release of the ‘shooting maps’ by WA Police Minister Paul Papalia in 2022 tells an even more significant story.  

This map of Perth shows that the highest concentrations of shooters in Perth are in the suburbs that go right up to the CBD, along the coastline and  along the edges of Swan River.

Shooters live - regional

 As you can see, the concentrations of shooters gets less and less the further you go out from Perth.

… and if you want the broader view, then here it is.

These maps – which were prepared by WA Police from the state’s own firearms registry – provide clear evidence that shows that any assumption that shooters live outside our capital cities is wildly incorrect

This should send an important message to the Labor and the Liberal parties that there are high concentrations of shooters in the very seats that they contest, who they need to be able to see at election time.

With around 900,000 licenced shooters nationally – and the majority of them clearly in metropolitan areas – it’s not hard to do the maths.

That is not to take anything away from our country colleagues.

Farmers, hunters, target shooters and gun collectors will always be found in towns wherever you go. 

In fact activities such as shooting are critical to the economies of many regional areas.

Country towns will show that higher percentages of them are shooters, but that’s often because of the lower populations, which could hide the real story closer to our cities.

What it means is that our metropolitan areas that are usually fought between Labor, Liberals and the Greens, remain rich with shooters whose votes are worth winning over.

Just look at where our major facilities are

Where shooters live - SISC

Sydney International

In addition to the dozens and dozens of small ranges that cater for pistol, rifle and shotgun around the metropolitan areas, are the major facilities that support international level events.

These include the Sydney International Shooting Complex in Cecil Park, NSW.

SISC  was used for the shooting events at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

Where shooters live - BISC

This is just an hours drive from the Sydney CBD.

Then there’s the Brisbane International Shooting Club in Belmont. 

BISC will be used for the shooting events at the 2032 Brisbane Olympics and is just a 30 minute drive from the Brisbane CBD.

Where shooters live - MISC

You can see the Melbourne CBD from MISC

Plus the Melbourne International Shooting Club in Port Melbourne which was used for the shooting events at the 2006 Commonwealth Games, just 15 minutes from the Melbourne CBD.

Wherever there are ranges, there will be shooters.

That’s where you’ll find them.

Put a pin on any map of any capital city, and we reckon that your nearest shooting range will be no more than 20 minutes away.

Another fact which many shooters will be aware of – that the major parties will not – is that many target shooters only ever shoot at metropolitan ranges – never venturing out into country areas.

We write to the majors

WE’VE written to Labor and the Liberals in all states (other than Queensland and the two territories), to point this out to them.

The letters make the same observations in this article and include the Perth map you see here.

We’re not expecting that our letters will necessarily change anything, but we are going to make sure they get the message that they cannot assume where shooters live, will be repeated whenever the opportunity arises.

We’re hoping that when the major parties do start to realise where shooters live, that they’ll also realise it’s politically smart to put the right policies together to win over the shooters’ vote.

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There is a significant issue when it comes to politicians…. They know the facts even though it appears that they don’t. They’ll be aware of these facts and they continue to ignore them because shooters/collectors are so used to being regarded as second-class citizens that we’ll just accept the latest round of BS dished out by these elected fools, have a little whinge, and go on with life.

To a politician, their main goal is the media and giving the impression that they are actually doing something.

Shooters are an easy target as the most-uninformed always state rubbish like, “Why do you need more than 5 guns?”, “Why do you like collecting tools of death?”, “Do you want Australia to be like the USA with school shootings?” These people feel that they have the high moral ground and there is no discussion or argument that will remove them from their high horse.

When confronted with these points, people go into defensive mode and the ‘high horse’ has control of the discussion and they know it. It’s the same tactic when someone called you a racist or transphobe or whatever else.

The appropriate response is to not let the person control the discussion nor justify yourself to them. Maybe turn it around and ask them why they have three kids and put them on the defensive (as an example).

A politician is completely disinterested in your views or your opinion. They were “…put there by a mandate of the people…” (to use their words) and, if your interests don’t coincide with that of the media, then you lose.

The only way to make them understand is to not reason with them. Inform them that you’ll be working overtime to see them voted out at the next election and that you won’t forget their behaviour and actions in making a legal sport into something that they can use to make themselves look good while making you look bad.

And, if you happen to be one of the rusted-on voters who support a major party because a union says so or another “friend” says so because you can’t make up your mind (or can’t be bothered) then you’re doing nobody any favours (except the politician).

paul cumbers

hey you blokes of politics reloaded are doing a good job m8, thank goodness that you are articulating what most of us think. 🙂


The comment ” wheres theres ranges there’ll be shooters”. Rumour is WAPOL wants to shutdown all ranges with in 5 years. Right now are changing templates , butt heights and so on .Can you look into that. Papali doesnt care or listen to voters due to his narcissism and self belief he is saving the world. Cant see the forrest for the greens.

Derek Swann

RE “cant see the forest for the greens”, if the truth be known he possibly only got voted in thanks to the Greens and their preferences, the ALP would be dead in the water if it wasn’t for the Greens, Teals and Independents preferences that push them over the line

Derek Swann

Reply to Robert

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