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Shooters' Orange candidate doubles down on citizens carrying concealed weapons

February 10, 2023

By Peter Holmes

Aaron Kelly, the new Shooters, Fishers and Farmers (SFF) party candidate for Orange, has told The Orange News Examiner he backs citizens being able to carry concealed weapons, saying it would act as a deterrent to those with nefarious inclinations.

On his Facebook page, Kelly promoted petitions calling for Australians to be able to carry concealed weapons in 2016 and 2017. We managed to get screenshots before Kelly locked down his Facebook page on Friday.

Kelly was announced as the SFF candidate for Orange at a media briefing on Friday morning. He was joined by SFF upper house member Mark Banasiak. Asked about his support for changing gun legislation, he appeared to backtrack, saying: "No, that shouldn't necessarily be changed."

But when he spoke to The Orange News Examiner after the press conference he reiterated his support for changes to legislation around carrying concealed weapons.

"If we were able to put stuff through parliament for that to be legal then yes I would support that," he said. "They would need to have certain licences and it would need to be a very rigorous process in them getting that."

Aaron Kelly (left) and Mark Banasiak MLC on Friday morning. Facebook.

Examiner: That would be a big change for Australia though, wouldn't it? You go to the pub on a Friday night and you don’t know who’s carrying a pistol in their jacket.

Aaron Kelly: "It's probably something that happened many years ago, and that right was taken off a lot of people."

When was this?
"I'm talking early days of Australia, probably 70, 80, 100 years ago."

But today, that would be a big change in our culture.

"It would be, yeah."

You think it would make Australia safer, in terms of having armed people who might be able to help?

"I don't think it would necessarily make Australia safer; it would make lot of people reconsider bad actions that they'd normally think they can get away with very easily."

If you know someone might be carrying, you might behave differently?


When you signed up to try and take Orange off Phil Donato, did you realise reporters would start going back through your social media to find out more about you?

"I was made aware of the fact that people would go back through social media. I don't remember the times that I made those comments on social media. One of them was - I don't think i couldn't even find that now if I wanted to. [But] someone has spent a lot of time finding a few things."

Your Facebook is now locked down. Was that under advice?

"Well that should have been all locked down before. I always had it on private.

It wasn't on private earlier today.

"I know there is Facebook stuff of other people you can look at and get a glimpse of what they've done at different at times."

Your whole timeline was there, from this week going back beyond 2016. Everything was there for anyone to see.
"Oh righto."

But now it's been locked.

"I still have the right to privacy."

A Parkes resident of 27 years who works in security transporting cash and fixing ATMs, Kelly was a member of the local SES for 18 years, including five years as unit controller.

A screenshot of one of Aaron Kelly's Facebook posts before he locked his account down. Facebook.

In May 2016 Kelly's Facebook page linked to a petition to "allow Australians Concealed carry for self defense [sic]".

In June 2017 Kelly's page published a link to a petition created by a person called Cory "to propose that Australia introduce a licensing system for citizens to carry a concealed weapon (handgun) in Australia".

The petition stated, in part: "This will be a tough sell as most people have never handled a pistol, don't understand the safety features, and have been brainwashed by the media and politicians for decades - creating a society that has an irrational fear of firearms. Jeff Cooper coined the term 'Hoplophobia' back in 1962, describing it as a 'mental disturbance characterised by irrational aversion to weapons'."

"Why can't an off-duty police officer choose to carry a pistol when he is doing his grocery shopping, or an armed security guard or sporting pistol shooter for that matter? Approximately 0.5% of Australians are trained and licensed to use pistols. How brazen would a criminal be knowing that 1 in 200 citizens would be only too happy to step in and assist another good citizen like yourself in distress?"

A screenshot of one of Aaron Kelly's Facebook posts before he locked his account down. Facebook.

Kelly commented on his link: "I support covert carry for Australia."

In January 2017 he linked on Facebook to a petition calling for the deputy PM at the time, Barnaby Joyce, to: "Allow us to defend ourselves".

Two months later he posted a link to a petition calling for the banning of The Quran being sold in Australia. He backtracked on this at Friday's press conference.

A post on Kelly's Facebook calling for the banning of The Quran. Facebook.

As to why he was running for state parliament, Kelly said in a press release: "I believe in the SFF. I am a hunter and think hunters and shooters need as much representation in parliament as possible."

He backed palliative care beds at Orange Base Hospital - a cause sitting MP and former SFF member Phil Donato has pushed for some years, and a greyhound centre of excellence being built in Orange instead of Bathurst.

When contacted by The Orange News Examiner Donato said he did not support the right of citizens to carry concealed weapons.

Should Australians be allowed to carry concealed weapons?

  • Yes

  • No

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