ONCE again, Federal Government overreach is directly impacting law-abiding firearms users and businesses.
Effective from June 22, the majority of red dot sights and holographic sights on the market in Australia may now be illegal to sell – not because of changes to firearms legislation, but due to changes to the laws surrounding the use of button-cell batteries.
The changes, as part of the Commonwealth Government’s Consumer Goods (Products Containing Button/Coin Batteries) Safety Standard 2020, require, among other things, that “the compartment in which the battery is held must be designed to ensure the compartment is resistant to being opened by young children.”
We gather a significant number – possibly the majority – of red dot and holographic sights on the market in Australia do not meet the requirements of the new Safety Standard.
While the changes were announced 18 months ago, the ACCC did not consult with the firearms industry for, as far as we can tell, no other reason than it just didn’t occur to them.
Other industries who were consulted, however, have had an 18 month transition period to sell through existing stock and source compliant stock.
Shooting industry representatives were only made aware of the changes on a few days before the new standards came into force, and we know for a fact our friends at SIFA have been working almost quite literally around the clock since then, holding meetings with senior Government figures in an effort to straighten out the situation and get exemptions put in place for firearm sights and accessories.
Potentially millions of dollars in stock held by importers, distributors and dealers across the country is affected, and investigations are ongoing to determine the extent of the problem – not to mention whether compartments intended to be opened with a coin or other tool qualify as “resistant to being opened by young children”.
Shooting industry representatives have requested a similar 18 month transition period, as provided to other businesses, to allow existing stocks and shipments to be sold through, but so far the official response appears to basically be “No, and tough luck.”
Fortunately for shooters we have clarified THE CHANGES DO NOT AFFECT YOUR EXISTING, ALREADY OWNED RED DOT/HOLOGRAPHIC SIGHTS IN ANY WAY. They remain legal to own and use and do not need to be modified; it also appears they will be legal to sell privately as well (eg if you sell a rifle with one attached to it).
We are furious the government has once again ridden roughshod over the shooting industry and will keep you updated on the situation as it develops, and will hopefully have more information soon.