Selling Sin: How Culture Influences the Sale of Firearm Suppressors in Australia and New Zealand.
Faculty of Business and Law
School of Marketing, Tourism and Leisure
This paper is a summary of a 2011 academic study commissioned by the New South Wales Government (Game Council) investigating the possible legalizing of firearm sound moderators for hunting and shooting. The study examined the pragmatic advantages and disadvantages of this product in the event it could be made available to the general public in Australia. A comparison between Australia and New Zealand vis-à-vis public access to sound moderators highlights not only the opposite ends of the continuum adopted by two similar countries, but also the arbitrary nature of how attitudes influence product acceptability and availability. Advantages of de-criminalisation in Australia include; hearing-loss prevention, increased accuracy, reduced recoil, reduced stock disturbance, reduced noise pollution, increased safety and an increase in the potential for humane culling. Disadvantages include cost, a deleterious shift in the firearm’s centre of gravity, and the potential of criminal and civil misuse. While based largely on secondary data, the investigation found no obvious link between sound moderators and their use in petty or organized criminal activity. Further, and based upon a review of other legislative regimes where moderator use is legally permitted, the authors conclude that the benefits pertaining to moderator use by civilian shooting communities points to a need for a more informed debate on legislative change within Australia. While the author’s note the logical consequence of such findings should be a move towards de-criminalisation in Australia they also appreciate that entrenched attitudes relating to firearms, both as a product and consumer lifestyle, will likely result in impassioned minority resistance to any change in the status quo.