Gun control

The furore which erupted over a licensed pigeon shooter doing his job in the main street of Strathalbyn has highlighted a number of regulatory deficiencies.

The furore which erupted over a licensed pigeon shooter doing his job in the main street of Strathalbyn has highlighted a number of regulatory deficiencies.
Licensed pest controller Nick Adams acted legally when he shot pigeons roosting on the former IGA building on Dawson Street under a private contract last November.
But the alarm created by the sight of an armed man walking the main street of a quiet town on a Friday evening is also evidence the current system is not ideal.
An assault charge against Strathalbyn business owner Maurice Behan – originally levelled at him after he attempted to disarm Mr Adams – has been dropped after his lawyers argued he was simply acting in response to public fear.
While the parties involved in the altercation dispute the details of what happened that evening, both agree that reform around pest control is warranted.
It would seem sensible that – at the very least – contract shooters operating from public land should be required to display clear signs identifying themselves, their activity and their authorisation.
But there also needs to be more clarity around who is responsible for regulating their activity.
In the days after the altercation, The Courier made numerous phone calls to both the police and the local council trying to find out who was responsible for granting permission to licensed pest controllers to operate from public land.
Both denied responsibility.
Perhaps this should also change.
If either the police – who are responsible for public safety – or the council – which is responsible for managing public land – were more involved in the process, they could help take some responsibility for public awareness.
This could be through having a presence while shooting was happening or by public notification – as simple as a notice in the local newspaper.
Pest control is an unpalatable but necessary part of managing the environment and the complexities around it are not going to go away.
But while there’s no foolproof way to ensure that similar issues don’t arise, it’s clear that more needs to be done for the protection of both contractors and the public.