CANBERRA -- Ted Drane, president of Sporting Shooters Association of Australia, the nation's largest firearm owners lobby group, said last night he felt sickened at the Port Arthur massacre but queried whether tougher gun laws could have made any difference.
He said the SSAA would "fight like hell" against any attempt to impose restrictive firearms laws which did not involve consultation with shooters.
Mr Drane said he would be faxing Prime Minister John Howard and Attorney-General Daryl Williams offering a consultative approach to any discussions on changing gun laws.
"People will try to make us wear the guilt for what happened in Tasmania today and we are not guilty," he said. "We are not guilty and we refuse to be made to feel responsible."
Mr Drane said the massacre would inevitably produce calls for tougher gun laws.
"How tough can you get -- abolition -- and that wouldn't work," he said, adding that much more needed to be known about the circumstances of what happened in Tasmania before any sensible comments could be made.
It needed to be known whether the person held a licence and owned firearms legally and if he had any history of mental illness.