Review of Firearms Act 1996

The government hasn’t outlawed sugar simply because it looks like cocaine, and if they were to do such a thing, most of us would agree that it is absolutely absurd. But, for the last sixteen years, guns which so much as LOOK like other guns have been banned, for no other reason than their appearance.

The Firearms Act 1996

The Firearms Act 1996 (Prohibited Firearms) strictly prohibits machine guns, sub-machine guns or any other weapon which is capable of propelling projectiles in rapid succession from just one pull of the trigger, along with self-loading shotguns and rifles. But, the Act goes on to also prohibit any firearm which ‘substantially duplicates in appearance’ any firearms listed as prohibited by the Act.

Representing thousands of firearm owners and enthusiasts across Australia, the Shooters Union is calling for a review of Item 6 of the Act, which prohibits firearms by appearance alone. Shooters Union believes that this does not, in fact, make the regulation of firearms any simpler – it adds a large degree of unnecessary subjectivity.

Unreasonable and Subjective

How much like a prohibited firearm does your gun need to look before it is prohibited? Are children’s toy guns also prohibited under this act? In order to meet the intentions of the agreement set out by the Firearms Act 1996, firearms are categorised according to their type, calibre and purpose of operation – not by their appearance.

Shooters Union is campaigning for a review of Item 6 as it is completely unreasonable to prohibit any item based on its appearance alone, without taking into account the purpose of the item. Banning a firearm on the sole grounds that it is similar in appearance to a prohibited firearm puts those who are complying with the Firearms Act 1996 at a disadvantage. Viewing owning a firearm which simply looks like another, regardless of how it is operated, as an offence, is absurd – especially when no criminal misuse has taken place.

Registered, Licensed Users Are Not a Danger

What is hoped to be achieved by the banning of firearms which resemble those that are prohibited? Will banning firearms that look like prohibited types actually contribute towards reducing violence in society? Have there been any problems with the misuse of firearms which look similar in appearance to those prohibited? These are all questions which the Shooters Union is asking in our quest to have this unreasonable legislation changed.

We believe that there is no danger in allowing an individual who has been thoroughly vetted and passed all of the necessary firearms checks to own and use a registered firearm of whatever category they have been approved to own, regardless of the appearance of the firearm itself. Once an individual has been permitted to hold a licence for a particular category of firearm, they should be expected to be able to use such firearms both safely and legally, regardless of whether the firearm in question looks similar to a prohibited gun.

Click here to read our full submission.


Young Shooters: Shooters Union on Ch 7 Sunrise Program

Watch Shooters Union President, Graham Park discuss the issue of young shooters and why they should be trained in the proper supervision of handgun use from the age of 12.

Video Transcription

Samantha Armitage:
Now, a new indoor gun range in Adelaide is causing controversy with critics concerned kids as young as 12 are being encouraged to shoot real guns.

David Koch:
But supporters argue it’s a positive place to learn about gun safety. Now, you be the judge.
The Gunnery in Adelaide South is the first in the country with virtual moving targets, as well as stationary ones. 12-year-old Louise is an avid sporting shooter, and already has her gun license.

I definitely think it’s safe because of all the rules you have to follow.

David Koch:
Louise is the daughter of range owner, Peter.

You’re never too young to be educated about guns, and the safety and the use of them.

David Koch:
Safety is a priority here. Anyone who doesn’t have a gun licence is strapped into a harness, anchored to the ground, with their gun tethered. There’s also an overseeing instructor. Like many ranges across the country and in line with the law, children as young as 12 can shoot, providing they’re supervised by a parent or guardian, but locals are divided.

Speaker 6:
I think it should be at least 18, because why would we want 12-year-olds playing with guns? There’s no need for it.

Speaker 7:
I don’t really have a problem with it. I’m excited to go in there. It seems like something new and different.

David Koch:
The Council gave the range the green light after consultation with police. Graham Park from the Shooters Union of Australia and Samantha Lee from Gun Control Australia join us now. Morning to you both. Samantha, The Gunnery owner says if children want to learn to shoot, he’s providing an educational and safe environment. Now, what do you say to that?

Samantha Lee:
This is straight out of American gun culture book, it’s trying to normalize gun culture here in Australia by allowing young people as young as 12 to access semi-automatic handguns. No doubt there’s an attraction for young people in these particular scenarios, linking computers and machines; however, this is about trying to indoctrinate kids here in Australia in relation to a gun culture.

Samantha Armitage:
Graham, you can’t get L-plates for a car until you’re 16 or 17, but you can get a shooter’s license at 12. Why do children as young as 12 need to know how to shoot a gun? I say this as a farmer’s daughter, who I accept that some people can own guns and should own guns, but why does as 12-year-old need to know how to shoot a gun?

Graham Park:
Thank you for having me on. Well, with over a million licensed shooters in Australia, there’s lots of people out there that it is a very normal sport and activity, and so it seems to me a very rational thing that you’d want young people to be trained safely. Just as we begin training people young in other sports, we do so with shooting. The reason they have what they call a minor’s license is so that they can do that under direct supervision. They can’t own a gun, they can’t take it out on their own. They have to be with the supervision of an adult who has a full license, so I think it’s a very good thing. Shooting is a very normal part of Australian society, and I don’t believe it’s helpful to compare it with radically different cultures.

David Koch:
Yeah. Samantha, supporters of shooting argue that it’s no different to many other sports, like archery or javelin at Little Athletics or something like that. What do you say to that?

Samantha Lee:
Well, guns are designed to kill, that is the difference. A football isn’t. What we need is sensible gun laws here in Australia. In terms of our National Firearms Agreement, you’re actually not meant to access a firearm until you’re 18 years of age; however, state and territories have watered down their gun laws in each jurisdiction, which means that particularly in Western Australia, there is no age limit in relating to accessing firearms.

David Koch:
So you don’t have a problem with gun ranges or shooting as a sport, it’s just the age that you start?

Samantha Lee:
Look, we’re into sensible gun regulation, and what that means is ensuring that young people are protected from things that harm them. As pointed out, we don’t allow them access to alcohol, cigarettes, medicines, cars until they’re 18, but we allow them to access semi-automatic handguns when they’re 10 or 12 and it just does not make sense.

Samantha Armitage:
Graham, this is a very emotive issue in the world right now. We look at Nice, we look at Baton Rouge. Are you fighting an uphill battle to convince people that there is a place for shooting in society?

Graham Park:
Not at all. It’s a vibrant and growing sport, and especially young people really enjoy it. It’s extremely safe, as evidenced by the fact that the insurance rates, which they’re the guys that seem to know the risks involved better than anyone, the insurance rates are extremely low, lower than for almost any other sport for liability-type issues on ranges because of that and because of the level of supervision that you saw in your little one-minute clip earlier with people either under direct supervision or actually being physically restrained from even being able to do anything. So I don’t know that that really fulfills the thing of people out running around with things. I think it’s providing a safe environment for people to learn and understand about firearms, rather than the silliness they see on entertainment TV which is filled with violent misuse of firearms.

David Koch:
Okay. All right. Thank you to you both. An interesting discussion. Appreciate both points of view.

Samantha Lee:
Thank you.


Category H: Licence Update

We continue our fight to restore the rights of Queensland farmers, who face being treated like criminals just for doing their jobs.

Earlier this year Shooters Union became aware of a change in the treatment of farmers applying for renewals to their Category H (handgun) licences, which are used in primary industry. These are mostly for the humane destruction of feral animals or stock, particularly where carrying a rifle is not practical or safe. We were told at the time there had been no changes in the treatment of these applications but then, in May, the Police Minister let the cat out of the bag: the state government are opposed to farmers using handguns to do their job.

Why does this matter?

Shooters Union supports sensible laws for the licensing, storage and usage of firearms, and an effective ban on handguns for farmers is far from sensible. Most farmers need a firearm to do their job, and many of those need a handgun to address specific physical, environmental or safety factors. If the government wishes to change the rules, they should take it to Parliament for debate, not sneak it in through the back door.

Let’s look at the Minister’s arguments:

“A rifle is the preferred weapon to be used for the destruction of sick or injured beast.

Common sense tells us the calibre of firearm is the most important factor, not its length. Indeed, at close range a low velocity large calibre is far safer, and this is best done with a hand gun. In many cases, it is impractical or unsafe to carry a rifle (e.g. climbing into a stock truck).

“Since 2000, in excess of 800 handguns have either been lost or stolen in Queensland.

Less than 20 handguns are stolen each year, according to the government’s own statistics. Agricultural properties account for less than 10 per cent of all victims. There is no evidence theft from farms is the source of many stolen handguns, if any at all.

“There are many applications out there which are dubious or have question marks about them.”

There is no evidence to suggest there have been applications that have not met the regulatory requirements, and the suggestion otherwise is a slur on hardworking farmers. If farmers need guidance jumping through the many hoops of the licensing system, the government should be helping them, not labeling them as criminals.

“There are states such as New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania who have quite sophisticated grazing enterprises and there are no such licences in any of those jurisdictions.”

False. Farmers in other states do have access to handguns where required. More importantly, Queensland farmers have been operating responsibly, safely and effectively under rules unchanged for the past 20 years. Now, after decades without issue, these rules have been changed without consultation.

It is disappointing that decisions that affect the working conditions of Queensland farmers have been made without consulting farmers or their representatives. It is even more galling these changes are based on ‘concerns’, not facts.

Show the government you support a fair go for farmers. Contact your local member to tell them farmers should not be tied up in red tape, just to do their job.

You can find their contact details on our website here.

We will keep you updated on this important issue.

Fair Go for Farmers Rally

Below is an email that was sent by Grant Maudsley, the General President of AgForce, urging farmers and non-farmers to take to the streets in August to protest against the Government’s decisions regarding vegetation management as well as excessive and contradictory regulation. Please help us to support our Regional friends by including a large contingent of Shooters amongst their ranks.

As you would be aware, AgForce has been fighting hard on your behalf against proposed changes to vegetation management laws.

AgForce launched the ‘Fair Laws for Farmers’ campaign to give members an opportunity to get vocal in driving home the message that these ill-conceived laws will drive up food prices, shut down regional development and cost jobs.

Protest rallies in the regions have been generating some great media coverage, billboards have now gone up in key centres and the farmers’ videos we have been uploading on the website HERE and on the AgForce Facebook page have also been very well-received.

We are now preparing to take to the streets of Brisbane to protest against these laws and we want as many people as possible to get involved.

The protest rally we are planning for Brisbane will gather from 12 noon on Thursday 4 August at Queens Park (next to the Treasury Casino) to march from 12.30pm to Parliament House on the corner of Alice and George Streets.

We have chosen this day to coincide with the start of the Ekka – the time of the year that the country comes to the city.

As part of the planning process for the rally, AgForce is booking buses from nearby regional centres such as Kingaroy, Warwick (stopping off at Beaudesert on the way) and Gympie.

We are asking members to please register your interest for a free bus seat online HERE as soon as possible if you would be interested in coming on a bus to take part in the Brisbane rally.

Buses are also currently being considered for SIQ and SW members to depart from either Roma or Toowoomba, and for CQ members departing from Rockhampton.

If you are interested in this, please separately contact SIQ Regional Manager Mel Nobbs on nobbsm@agforceqld.org.au or call 0407 101 773, or contact CQ Regional Manager Sharon Howard on howards@agforceqld.org.au or call 0427 021 370.

We would encourage members to get together a group of people and travel down by car as well.

I’d also like to remind everyone that AgForce has a crowdfunding page to support the ‘Fair Laws for Farmers’ campaign. After some initial technical issues, the page is back up and running and accessible HERE. Thanks to all those who have contributed so far either via the crowdfunding page or directly to AgForce.

Farmers very rarely take to the streets to protest against Government decisions, and this is the first time in AgForce’s history that we have organised a march in Brisbane.

We want as many people as possible to come along and take part so the State Government gets the message that we are fed up, we are angry and we are not going to just meekly accept these changes.

Agriculture has always been one of the bedrocks of the state’s economy, and I firmly believe our industry has a bright future, but we need sensible land management laws if we are to reach our full potential.

This protest rally is all about telling the Queensland Government they can’t keep kicking us around and expect us to take it. Eighteen major changes and 38 amendments to vegetation management laws since 1999 is just ridiculous.

We’re not asking for much – we’re just asking for ‘fair laws for farmers’.

Grant Maudsley,
AgForce General President

Shooters Union responds to “Gun laws a credit to Australia where children don’t need to learn to shoot”

Getty Images

Getty Images

Did you see the op-ed piece written by Lauren Martyn­Jones.? It is titled, “Gun laws a credit to Australia where children don’t need to learn to shoot”. It was published on 17/7/2016 in the weekend edition of the Courier Mail.

The article is best summed up by her statement, “There is something entirely incongruent in exposing children to deadly weapons before they are allowed to drive, vote, or drink alcohol.”

She asks, in the context of adults needing a genuine reason to own a gun, ”…why then is there no “genuine reason” test applied when it comes to allowing people, particularly children, through the doors of shooting ranges?”  She then states “Exposing children to the idea that shooting pistols is a recreational activity is the start of an insidious slippery slope.”

What makes this op-ed piece unsettling is it is wrong. It is an opinion based on the false premise that children cannot be responsible around guns. The truth is actually the opposite. The truth is why police support teaching gun safety in US schools. Google the phrase ‘study where children find gun’ and take a moment to read the results. What you will find is that children raised in homes with guns, where parents talked to them extensively about gun safety, were the only ones that did not touch the toy gun when it was found. The children whose parents had never exposed them to guns let their curiosity get the better of them. They touched it, looked down the barrel, and even aimed it at other children.

Lauren, I know how curious children can be. Teaching and protecting them from the dangers of the world is a parents duty. Sheltering them from those dangers only increases their curiosity.

When it comes to gun safety, your opinion goes against what is recommended by law enforcement officials. It even goes against the Yale study you probably discovered when doing the Google search. Therefore you are not entitled to this false opinion. To borrow a line from a Q&A segment I recently saw – I say that because if ‘entitled to an opinion’ means ‘entitled to have your views treated as serious candidates for the truth’ then it’s pretty clearly false.

In the spirit of education, I would like to invite you to a day at the gun range with me. You can contact me by calling 07 3221 2220. My shout. I will pay for your entry fee, ammunition and required safety gear.  All you need to bring is a pair of closed-toe shoes and an open mind. Hopefully you will see the families I have seen at the range. Maybe you will see the young girl hitting the bullseye more times that her bratty older brother. Maybe you will see the young boy in the wheel chair outshoot his classmates. Either way it will be the smiles on their young faces and their responsible firearm competence that will hopefully make an impression on you.

Your article ends with the sentence, “There are so many activities for children and young people that there is no reason for them to enter a shooting range, unless they can meet the high standards of the genuine reason test.”
Perhaps you can consider that a child’s safety is genuine reason enough for a parent to begin teaching these lessons at an early age.

Link to article – https://www.couriermail.com.au/news/opinion/gun-laws-a-credit-to-australia-where-children-dont-need-to-learn-to-shoot/news-story/c361c58967adad0bf67da39553be5d7d

New Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission Super agency to tackle Crime

Two government agencies responsible for criminal intelligence, national information-sharing and supporting law enforcement have merged to become the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) as of July 1. The merger, which was first announced in November last year, means the Australian Crime Commission and CrimTrac now exist under the one super agency with investigative, research and information delivery functions.

The ACIC is responsible for national firearms services, including the Firearm Trace Program that allows law enforcement agencies to request illicit firearm traces. The program consolidates firearms information to create a national picture of firearm types located in the illicit market, along with the diversion methods.

The ACIC hosts the National Firearms Identification Database (NFID) to aid police in identifying and describing firearms consistently, along with the Australian Ballistic Information Network (ABIN), which is meant to help police match ballistic evidence from crime scenes across the country. The Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) is currently investigating the benefits of ballistics databases on criminal investigations, with initial results obtained by the SSAA Legislative Action department showing bullet profiling to be an expensive failure.

The ACIC will also incorporate the National Firearms Interface (NFI) upon its completion scheduled for later this year, which aims to help police and other law enforcement agencies manage the registration, licensing and movement of firearms into Australia and across state and territory borders. The NFI is meant to include a single record of every firearm in Australia detailing every event in its history and was previously hosted by CrimTrac at a cost of $4.3 million. The NFI is aiming to support the ABIN database, which came at a cost of $5.6 million.

ACIC chief executive officer Chris Dawson said the new agency has a vision for “a safer Australia that is better connected, informed and capable of responding to crime and criminal justice issues…Through our investigative, research and information delivery services, the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission will work with law enforcement to improve our collective ability to stop criminals exploiting emerging opportunities and perceived gaps in information.”

There are plans to incorporate the national crime and justice research centre, the AIC, into this new super agency at a later date.

This article first appeared on the Sporting Shooters Association of Australia on the 13/7/16. You can view the original article here: https://ssaa.org.au/news-resources/research-archive/new-australian-criminal-intelligence-commission-super-agency-to-tackle-crime

The Federal Election Fallout

The numbers from the July 2 Federal Election are still trickling in, with close contests and possible recounts in many electorates preventing the official declaration of all results in a timely fashion. With the Coalition claiming victory as the count wraps up, the SSAA Legislative Action (SSAA-LA) department will continue to analyse the political outcome for our recreation and bring our members the latest updates.

Amid the murky election results, one fact remains clear: the Australian Greens party has so far failed in its bid to increase representation in the lower house with just one MP elected – Adam Bandt from central Melbourne – and has even lost at least one senate seat – Penny Wright’s replacement, Robert Simms in South Australia. The party’s aim to substantially increase the usual 10 per cent share of the vote has fallen short and it appears that the Greens party is on track to record its worst Senate result since the 2004 election.

With the Greens’ outrageous firearms policy released in the dying days of the election campaign, the party lost at least one million votes from sporting shooters – and counting. Intertwined with its justice policy, the party revealed what the SSAA-LA already knew: Greens politicians would work to ban all self-loading handguns on the unfounded grounds that this would reduce firearm-related deaths and violent crime. In addition to this, the party would recategorise lever-action shotguns to Category C or D based on magazine size and non-existent public safety issues, and continue to perpetuate the myth that legitimate firearm owners somehow contribute to the threat of terrorism. The Greens party once again proved that it remains untrustworthy and undeserving of shooters’ votes. The election results thus far show fair-minded Australians have turned away from the politicking of the extreme Greens in recent times, with an appetite for change seeing votes directed towards other minor parties.

The final election week also saw a cynical campaign from Gun Control Australia with the unashamed use of Port Arthur murders survivor, Walter Mikac, as its political mouthpiece. The GCA’s advertisements questioning the need for the Adler A110 lever-action shotgun in an attempt to make legal importation and firearms ownership an election issue also failed to gain much traction. The SSAA-LA quickly responded with our own clever graphic, which was shared far and wide, thanks to our proactive members and the power of social media.

Also at time of writing, speculation around which senators will serve the full six-year term versus the three-year term was rife, with many analysts indicating that most of the elected Greens senators would only serve a half-term. This is based on how many first-preference votes are recorded for each candidate, with the Greens already making noises about how this will be decided.

No matter the final results from the July 2 polls, the SSAA-LA will be making contact with many of the newly elected and returned politicians to make representation about our recreation on behalf of our 180,000 members and the wider firearms community. We have already turned our focus to the National Firearms Agreement (NFA) pencilled for discussion this month. The ongoing review came to a standstill during the election campaign while the government was in caretaker mode, but we have still been active in ensuring this issue does not become left unresolved for our members.

With tumultuous and uncharted times ahead on the changing federal political landscape, the SSAA-LA will continue our endeavour to protect firearm owners’ interests and communicate our increasing political activities to our growing membership.

This article first appeared on the Sporting Shooters Association of Australia’s website on the 12/7/16. View the full article here: https://ssaa.org.au/news-resources/politics/the-federal-election-fallout

Canberra gunmaker GC Precision Development’s bid to make Victoria Police guns shut down

A Canberra gunmaker’s bid to make rifles for Victoria Police has been shut down in a situation he has labelled “absurd”.

A specific ACT law, which does not exist in NSW, meant Gareth Crook was allowed to “possess” but not “use” silencers and folding stocks when making the rifles.

It meant the stocks and silencers were “nothing more than paperweights”, and he could not first test the weapons he would sell to Victoria Police.

Mr Crook challenged the decision not to award him permits to use the prohibited items in the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

While the decision was concerned with the sensitive subject of gun laws, it highlights a situation, described by Mr Crook as “absurd”, that ACT gun makers cannot make guns for the law enforcement organisations that also call Canberra home.

Mr Crook was approached by the Victoria Police special operations group last year, asking his company GC Precision Development to trial precision bolt action rifles.

If the trial was successful, there would be an ongoing relationship with police with further testing and ongoing support for the weapons when needed.

It was potentially a big win for the gunmaker, only two years into his business.

But police asked for two elements that proved to be problematic: silencers and fully adjustable folding stocks, both of which are prohibited in the ACT.

Mr Crook applied for a permit to use both of them in his testing but was knocked back, instead told he could possess a certain number but not use them, drawing the “paperweight” argument at the tribunal.

He told the tribunal his company was considering making up to 5000 silencers for the Australian law enforcement, defence and pest control industries “… and that it is absurd and unreasonable that he cannot obtain a permit authorising him to test (meaning use) these suppressors in order to ensure their quality and suitability before supplying them to the market.”

This part of the issue has since disappeared, after the ACT government clarified laws around silencers – in part because shooters hired to cull kangaroos in the capital were using silencers.

In fact, one of Mr Crook’s arguments was that why contractors in roo culling programs were allowed to use silencers on their rifles for what he said were legitimate reasons, while he was not allowed for “equally legitimate albeit different” reasons.

The government lawyer acknowledged the inconsistency, the tribunal said use of suppressors by people who culled kangaroos was “probably” not legal.

“No one appreciated at the time suppressors were used to conduct the kangaroo cull that the use may not have been, and was probably not, in accordance with the law,” the tribunal wrote.

Mr Crook appealed the decision to not give him permits for silencers and stocks in the ACT Administrative and Civil Tribunal, but was knocked back.

While the tribunal’s president sympathised with Mr Crook, he said current laws meant the registrar was correct in not giving the gunmaker a permit.

Article written by Alexandra Black 4/7/16. Article first appeared on The Canberra Times website. Click here to read the article. https://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/canberra-gunmaker-gc-precision-developments-bid-for-victoria-police-shut-down-20160608-gpe2r1.html

Number of registered guns not the issue, it’s the guns we don’t know about

There are nearly 200,000 registered gun owners in Queensland sharing 800,000 weapons, figures obtained by Fairfax Media reveal.

But one UQ academic said it is not the number of guns registered that is concerning, but the number of guns police do not know about.

Professor Ross Grantham from UQ law school, who is a registered gun owner himself, said the number of registered weapons was not surprising.

“If you think of golfers for example,” he said.

“When they go out on the course they will take however many clubs in a bag they need to perform different things.

“It’s the same for shooters, you might have a .22 rifle for one thing then a pistol for Olympic style pistol matches and you might have a different weapon for practical shooting matches.

“It’s not unreasonable to think that a person might have four per licence.”

Outside sporting shooters, there are also people who keep weapons for other reasons.

“There’s a lot of heirloom firearms out there, and people tend not to sell firearms,” he said.

“Selling them isn’t entirely straightforward because of the way the deals have to be brokered through police.”

Professor Grantham said firearm licence holders have to be among the most law-abiding citizens in the country, so concerns held about the number of weapons held by registered licence holders were unfounded.

“A licensed firearm owner is one of the safest people in the community,” he said.

“They are subject to rigorous background checks and any infringement can result in their license being revoked.

“A couple of high-range speeding offences or a drink-driving offence and their license will be gone.”

And despite having some of the strictest gun laws in the world, it remains a mystery exactly how many unlicensed firearms are in the community.

“So much of the regulatory impost is on this very safe group (of licensed owners),” Professor Grantham said.

“But there’s so many in the criminal world that nobody knows anything about.

“Police don’t know how many (guns) there are or who has them or how they are getting into the country.”

Even the buy back in 1996 failed to ensure the country was clear of unlicensed weapons.

“There are rumours that circulate that after the 1996 buy back only a fraction of the guns out there were ever identified,” Professor Grantham said.

“There are a lot of guns in the wrong hands but there are also a lot of unregistered firearms out there in backyards and cupboards that nobody knows about.”

Of the 184,000 licencees in Queensland police only found 143 of them to be non-compliant with the requirements to hold a licence in the 2014/15 financial year.

Just 22 charges were laid in the same period.

Article written by Nathanael Cooper. 6/7/16 at 9.390pm. Article first appeared on the Brisbane Times website. Read the full article here: https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/number-of-registered-guns-not-the-problem-its-the-guns-we-dont-know-about-20160706-gq035v.html

Qld Government Weapons Consultation Forum Members Announced

Shooters Union Queensland has serious concerns about changes to gun laws that could restrict your rights, and even result in the confiscation of guns you legally own. Changes to Australia’s gun laws, including who may own firearms, what types, and for what reasons, are being considered as part of a review of the National Firearm Agreement.

As president of Shooters Union Queensland, I wanted to let you know of our fears, and let you know what you can do about it.

Why is this important?

Australia’s gun laws are set state-by- state. They’re designed to be consistent, so politicians from each State and Territory meet to discuss changes, usually to make firearm ownership more restricted, and the red tape more challenging.

The State and Federal Governments are discussing and reviewing the National Firearms Agreement, but they have been doing it behind closed doors. After advocating directly to the Minister’s office, and publicly, Shooters Union Queensland has now been invited to sit on the State Government’s Weapons Consultation Forum.

This is a good first step.

What do we know?

  • The State and Federal Governments met in April to discuss legislative changes to the National Firearms Agreement;
  • Lever action shotguns, such as the Adler shotgun, may be reclassified to severely restrict their availability to law abiding firearm owners;
  • Plans to restrict farmers owning handguns, used for the humane destruction of livestock, and pest management, are being considered;
  • Senior police officers and Ministers from different States and Territories have been discussing banning pump action centrefire firearms since 2005;
  • Any restriction in the type of firearm you are allowed to legally own would mean handing in your existing, legally acquired firearm.

As members of the forum, we will be asking for the details about these recommendations, and what other steps are being considered. We will keep you informed, and advocate for sensible legislation governing the licensing, usage and storage of firearms.

How does this review work?

The steps to change gun laws are quite simple.

  1. State Governments submit their proposed changes to the firearms laws to be considered by all states;
  2. The states agree on what changes should be made nationally;
  3. The changes are implemented at a state level.

We encourage you to let your friends, family members and colleagues know about these changes, and let them know how they can have their voice heard. Get them to join Shooters Union Queensland, today.

As law abiding firearm owners, we cannot risk being ignored yet again.