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!

Shooters Union appoints WA Representative

We’ve had a number of shooters in WA get in touch to ask for our advice or input on issues, and in response we’re pleased to announce our SA president Peter Heggie is now also officially our WA representative.

Peter runs The Gunnery in SA and has extensive dealings with customers and the firearms branch in WA as a result, is well placed to help our members and supporters in WA while we consider longer-term options.

He can be reached via e-mail to WA@shootersunion.com.au

Weapons Licencing bullies elderly landowner into surrendering licence

A sad case from Queensland recently, where an elderly landowner had her licence renewal denied because, according to WLB, she did not have enough land to justify owning the single-shot .22 rifle for humane destruction of injured animals and would not be able to join a shooting club before her licence expired – even though the land size had never been a problem in the past, and she absolutely could have joined a shooting club like us in time, had she been given the correct information.

She said the person from WLB was very aggressive with her on the phone and basically bullied her into surrendering her licence. After receiving the official notice, she contacted us asking for advice on how to legally dispose of her rifle. After discussing options with her, she decided that it was all simply too complicated to apply for a new licence – but we were able to direct her to a local gun shop so the gun wouldn’t go to the crusher.

If you are having licensing issues with WLB, make sure you contact us right away via membership@shootersunion.com.au so we can see if we can help, and ensure you are making decisions with the right information. Don’t leave it until the last minute, as there are often strict timeframes involved!

New ways the Police can take away your guns and how to STOP THEM!

Watch this video to learn more about what Shooters Union are doing to fight against the Overreaching & Overzealous “Fit & Proper Persons laws” that are affecting Queensland Shooters NOW.

If you’ve been issued a revocation notice please email: membership@shootersunion.com.au with the details for assistance in fighting the notice.

The rights of Law Abiding Firearm Owners across Australia are under attack, please consider donating to our legal defence fund to help fight against government overreach, overzealous legislation and unfair penalties and restrictions. You can donate here: shootersunion.com.au/donate-and-support-the-shooters-union/

Queensland Shooters: Have you had your licence suspended or refused for not being a fit and proper person?

Weapons Licensing Branch have implemented unreasonably strict processes for determining whether someone is a ‘fit and proper’ person to have a firearms licence, with the result that large numbers of shooters are finding their licences suspended due to issues most people would agree are irrelevant to their current fitness to have a licence.

We are not exaggerating when we say we believe this is the most serious attack on gun owners in our state since the 1996 law changes, and to show how seriously we’re taking this, we are introducing our new plan to help shooters fight back.

For current Shooters Union members who have their licence suspended, revoked or refused due to no longer being a fit and proper person, we will:

  • Arrange a free, no-obligation consultation with an expert lawyer
  • Pay your appeal’s QCAT filing fees ($350) if a lawyer feels an appeal is in order.

We’re trying to keep this offer straightforward, but there are a few conditions – primarily, you must be a current member, you must consult with a lawyer about your planned action, and the lawyer must agree the appeal has merit.

To receive our assistance, it is vital that you immediately e-mail membership@shootersunion.com.au with all relevant documents (particularly the suspension/revocation/rejection letter from QPS).

There are strict legislative timeframes at play to appeal a license suspension/revocation or refusal, so we need to get the ball rolling right away.

We already have more than 50 members who have lodged QCAT appeals year alone and that number is just going to rise as WLB look for more reasons to take licences and guns away.

We are determined to fight this and we are expecting to lodge dozens, if not hundreds of QCAT appeals in the coming months as a result of WLB’s new policy, and it is going to cost tens of thousands of dollars to make sure our members are represented and fought for.

We’re going to need money and support to do it, so we are urgently asking for your support by donating to our Legal Defence Fund to help us stand up and fight for #allshooters.

Every dollar you donate helps ensure shooters have their rights fought for via legal actions – and every victory that comes from those actions is another blow against the antis and further secures our rights too.

More details on the Legal Defence Fund can be found here https://shootersunion.com.au/shooters-union-is-establishing-a-legal-fighting-fund/ – and every donation, no matter how small or large, is greatly appreciated. Donations can be made via this link: https://shootersunion.com.au/donate-and-support-the-shooters-union/
We need your help – so please share this message widely, and if you aren’t already a Shooters Union member, please consider joining today – it’s only $35, includes $20m public liability insurance, and in QLD we are also a Genuine Reason for Cat A, B and H licences too.