Supressors and Feral Deer on the Agenda in Tasmania

Shooters Union Tasmania had a meeting a few weeks ago with the Tasmanian Police Minister, Jacquie Petrusma, to discuss widening the availability of suppressors and Category C firearms in the state.

While little headway was made on these issues, it was a productive and civil conversation which has served to raise SU’s profile with the Tasmanian Government.

SU Tasmania has also had some initial discussions with the Invasive Species Council and Bob Brown Foundation regarding the issue of feral deer in the state; we are pushing to have their semi-protected status removed in a bid to control their numbers.

We look forward to further discussions with these groups as we work to find a sustainable way to manage deer in Tasmania – preferably one that involves less bureaucracy for hunters to shoot them, especially if they are being harvested for food.

Shooters Union NSW Fights for a Greater Voice

Shooters Union NSW has been busy this month making sure the voices of law-abiding firearms users are heard, starting with a positively received appearance by state co-ordinator Craig Golding on ABC Illawarra late last month regarding proposed controversial changes to the state’s animal welfare legislation, and our concerns they will be used to make life even more difficult for hunters.

SU NSW have also applied for membership of the Firearms Registry Consultative Council again – with a reminder to the powers that be that we aren’t some fringe group to be ignored.

Craig has also been chasing up on  delayed licence applications with the Firearms Registry; a friendly firearms dealer, one of our members has been waiting more than a year for licences to be processed.  It’s just not good enough.

Queensland Parliament Ignores Shooter Submissions AGAIN

The Queensland Government’s Legal Affairs and Safety Committee’s inquiry into the Police Legislation (Efficiencies and Effectiveness) Amendment Bill 2021 has now been released, and you can view the report here (the relevant section begins at page 18):


The Committee has recommended the Bill be passed without alteration.

Shooters Union is quoted extensively in the report, based on our written and in-person submissions, but we are extremely disappointed that our recommendations have fallen on deaf ears.

Even more concerningly, the concerns of our friends at SIFA and the Firearm Dealers Association of Queensland, who also made submissions, were ignored too.

While there are some positives in there – notably the extension of the safekeeping time period a gun may be lent to or stored with another licence holder (or dealer) from three months to six months – the Bill does not fix the flawed Firearms Amnesty in Queensland, and we are well aware of instances of people having their amnesty-related PTAs delayed for weeks or even months while Weapons Licensing cross-check a list of stolen firearms.

We can’t help but wonder if the dismissive response to our concerns (and those of SIFA and FDAQ) is at least partly due to the fact that Shooters Union, alone of the shooting associations, takes the time and effort to make submissions to government on relevant issues.

Submission on Consultation Paper Electromagnetic Weapons

Shooters Union have been engaged in consultation with the Department of Home Affairs on ‘electromagnetic weapons’. Under the proposal, the Department would seek to ban the importation of these items, except for defence and law enforcement.

This attitude stifles innovation and industry. If this really is a viable future shooting technology, then the Australian shooting industry should be able to import these items to examine, research and develop this technology.

Amnesty Hassles

While Shooters Union supports a permanent amnesty, we have serious concerns about how the amnesty has been introduced.

The original amnesty didn’t allow for anonymous surrendering of firearms which made it unworkable as many were suspicious about its motives. This issue was addressed so people handing in or registering “illegal’ firearms need not divulge their names. However, this did not satisfy all of the issues we raised so that now another amendment is needed.

Although all the groups, including Shooters Union, which attended the Police Minister’s Advisory Forum in May last year agreed on what needed to be done, the current amendments still do not accurately reflect what was agreed.

We are unsure as to why the amendments do not honour the agreed solution, but the responsibility must lie with the principal Policy Officer at the Queensland Police Service.

Cross Border Problems

We have become aware of shooters recently running into difficulties with Queensland licence renewals when using properties in New South Wales or other states as their licence genuine reason. This has the potential to affect a lot of shooters, especially primary producers and recreational hunters.

We have raised with the Queensland Weapons Licencing Branch our concern that this change appears to have been made with no consultation and, more importantly, without notifying shooting community representatives.

In all eastern states it is long accepted practice that you may be resident in one state but have your genuine reason geographically located in another state. In fact that practice seems to support the concept of uniform firearms laws via the NFA.

We are chasing down who made the decision that interstate properties were no longer an acceptable reason for Queensland residents to obtain a firearms licence and, more seriously, why the decision was made and the legislative basis for the decision.

Shooters Union NSW calls for end to mandatory attendances

NSW is the only state in Australia that requires long arms licensees to attend events a certain number of times per year as a condition of keeping their licence, and Shooters Union believes it is an unreasonable and unnecessary requirement that should be abolished.

Consequently, Shooters Union NSW has formally written to the state Firearms Registry Consultative Committee calling for an end to mandatory participation requirements for rifle and shotgun owners.

Among other points, the letter notes that “Since the outbreak of Covid 19, mandatory attendance requirements have been modified to take into account the rapidly changing Covid 19 situation. These changes, while being welcomed, have demonstrated that the removal of mandatory attendance requirements have had no negative effect on public safety.”

We’ll keep you up to date with further developments.

Our legal defence fund is working hard

So far this year we have assisted more than 80 shooters and spent more than $18,000 on legal battles with firearms licensing branches around Australia.

Since our last update, a number of Shooters Union members have had licences issued or suspensions and refusals overturned as a result of our legal advisors’ involvement. Some of the causes of the refusals from Weapons Licensing are for minor criminal charges many years ago, as well as traffic infringements.
We have also received more than a dozen new cases in the past few weeks, including members who have received Show Cause notices due to other people (not the licensee) at their residence being considered unsuitable to have firearm access.

Our fight for your rights is helped by the many generous donations being made to our Legal Defence Fund. Please consider donating if you can – every dollar makes a difference and helps Shooters Union fight for the rights of all Australian shooters, including you:

Shooters Union works to amend Bill

Shooters Union has made a submission AND an in-person hearing appearance on behalf of our members regarding the Police Legislation (Efficiencies And Effectiveness) Amendment Bill 2021.

Some of the issues the Bill deals with includes extending the time firearms may be held in safekeeping by another licensed shooter or dealer from three months to six months, and changes to the Firearms Amnesty legislation to allow dealers to retain anonymously surrendered firearms while PTAs are being processed.

Our submission, which you can read here, was essentially that while we support extending the safekeeping time from three to six months, we are deeply concerned Weapons Licensing will then use it as an excuse to be even slower at processing licences or resolving licence issues than they currently are now.

We were joined at the public hearing by SIFA, who also provided a written submission, and the Firearms Dealers association of Queensland had provided a written-only submission, but were somewhat surprised to see we were the only Queensland-based firearms advocacy group to both make a written submission and appear at the public hearing.
Our involvement with this inquiry is just one of the countless things we do to represent shooters, and we’ll be sure to keep you posted on any developments from it.

A copy of the Bill itself can be found here, and the explanatory notes are here.

Lockdown book giveaway winners

Earlier this month, we ran a special competition just for our NSW and Victorian members to help them get through the continuing lockdowns. Cleaver Firearms donated five copies of the latest Nick Harvey practical reloading manual and five copies of the Hayes Handgun Omnibus reference book.

The winners are:

  • Nick Harvey Practical Reloading Manual 11 th Edition
  • Matthew D (VIC), Mark F (VIC), Ian G (VIC), Peter S (VIC), David S (NSW)
  • Hayes Handgun Omnibus
  • Darryl C (NSW), Glyn C, Daryl L (VIC), Rhys M (VIC), Dane M (NSW)

Congratulations to all our winners, thank you to everyone who entered, and an even bigger thank you to Cleaver Firearms for so generously providing the prizes!