Home - LATEST UPDATES FROM THE SHOOTERS UNION CAMPAIGNERS (page 5)

LATEST UPDATES FROM THE SHOOTERS UNION CAMPAIGNERS

Shooters Union is establishing a legal fighting fund

One of the questions we get asked is: How come we’re not constantly fighting the State Governments in court every time they pass anti-gun laws?

The simple answer is: Fighting Governments in court is really expensive, even if you win – and even more so if you don’t.

However, it’s become increasingly apparent that there are cases where it’s a necessity – and to that end, Shooters Union Australia is establishing a Legal Defence Fund to help stand up for the rights of #AllShooters.

What will the Fund be used for?


The Legal Defence Fund will be used to make financial contributions to legal cases (including Civil Administrative Tribunal hearings and appeals) directly affecting law-abiding firearms owners as a group.

Who will administer the Fund?


Funding decisions will be made by the Shooters Union Australia executive board, with input from members and experts if required or appropriate.

If a SUA member is charged with a firearms offence, will the Fund help pay for their lawyer?


At this stage no, unfortunately. The Fund is intended for legal matters which affect a number of law-abiding shooters – such as getting suppressors legalised, ensuring handguns remain available to primary producers for occupational reasons, making Category C firearms available for competition target shooting and recreational shooting, or challenging unfair legislation – rather than individual cases.

Having said that, if the outcome of an SUA member’s legal case may set a legal precedent, the executive may opt to make assistance from the Fund available at their discretion and on a case-by-case basis.

How can I get in touch about Fund-related matters?


Email: legal@shootersunion.com.au

Queenslanders slam government for shifting legal goalposts

THE Queensland Government is coming under pressure from furious primary producers and shooters over allegations they ‘moved the goalposts’ to nullify a legal case result which had ruled against them.

Queensland farmer James Ryder requires a firearm suppressor to mitigate hearing loss from controlling feral pests on his farm, and applied to the police Weapons Licensing Branch (WLB) for an exemption to own one.

His application was denied due to suppressors being categorised the same as machine-guns and rocket-launchers under current law, but he was advised – in writing – that he could appeal the matter to the Queensland Civil Administration Tribunal (QCAT), which he did.

QCAT not only ruled in Mr Ryder’s favour, it questioned the restrictions on suppressors and suggested they be removed from the restricted category.

The police appealed the ruling, claiming QCAT did not have jurisdiction to hear the case – and QCAT agreed with them, essentially nullifying its earlier ruling.

The decision has caused outrage among primary producers and shooters alike, with Mr Ryder accusing the state Government of moving the goalposts because they didn’t get the outcome they expected.

“I have followed all the correct procedures, including the police service’s own advice, and they’ve decided to change the rules because they don’t like how it’s turned out for them,” he said.

“It’s completely unacceptable and I will be taking this legal fight further.”

Mr Ryder said he honestly did not see why there was such a fuss over suppressors, either.

“If I was 150km south across the border in NSW, I could easily apply for – and get – a suppressor permit for use on my farm, yet in Queensland they are lumped in with machine guns, bazookas and land mines,” he said.

“Hearing loss is not a particularly pleasant thing to experience ,especially when there is a simple fix available that satisfies both Worksafe noise guidelines and biosecurity obligations for farmers at no risk to the community.

“Noise induced hearing loss is a major issue amongst farmers, farm workers and recreational shooters. Suppressor are a safe effective engineering control measure that follows the hierarchy of control guidelines required under Queensland Work Safe laws.”

His continuing fight to legalise a vital piece of safety equipment is not over and has the support, backing and assistance of the state’s pre-eminent pro-gun organisation, Shooters Union Australia, with president Graham Park describing the suppressor ban as ridiculous and harmful.

“We firmly believe that farmers, primary producers and hunters should be able to legally own suppressors for their firearms,” he said.

“It’s common knowledge the ban on suppressors exists because of how they’re portrayed in movies and video games. People have no idea how they actually work in real life.

“They do not completely silence the shot – it is still quite loud – but what they do is bring the noise level down to a safer level to mitigate hearing loss.”

Mr Park said Shooters Union had established a legal fighting fund to help Mr Ryder appeal his case further and get the vital equipment legalised in Queensland.

“We’re not all going to suddenly turn into John Wick because we can put a sound suppressor on a hunting rifle,” Mr Park said.

“NSW issues suppressor permits and they haven’t had any problems, they’re freely available in New Zealand without issues – so why is Queensland dragging their heels on this?

“Even if you don’t like guns, the implications of the Government shifting the goals to get results it wants are extremely worrying and should concern all Australians.

“It’s just not on, and we should all be taking a stand against it.”

Positive News from the NT

POSITIVE NEWS FROM THE NT

WE have some good news to start 2020 off!

As you may recall, late last year the Northern Territory Government unilaterally recategorised the Savage A22R lever-release .22 rifle from Category A to Category C, and recategorised the Verney-Carron Speedline lever-release centrefire rifles from Category B to Category D.

This was done through a provision in the state’s Firearms Act which, regrettably, allows the Territory’s Police Commissioner to recategorise firearms simply because he or she feels like it.

Needless to say, we at Shooters Union were not having a bar of it and were quick to make our displeasure known, challenging the NT Police Commissioner and the NT Justice Minister on the issue and demanding an explanation.

We are very pleased to report that, as a direct result of our efforts and those of our fellow shooting organisations – including SIFA, the NT Field & Game Association, and SSAA NT – the Territory’s Government has extended the deadline for surrender or relicensing of the affected firearms by 90 days (to the end of April) and is now actively consulting with shooters on the situation.

Given there is an election coming up in March, the NT Government is highly unlikely to want 16,000 law-abiding firearms owners (and voters!) off-side, and we are reliably informed the Government is giving some serious thought to its position on the A22R and Speedline issue.

While there’s still some work to be done, the message and the takeaway is clear: When you speak up, get active and get involved, you can get results!

On that note, we have also contributed financially to a hugely successful campaign in the NT creating “I SHOOT, I VOTE” and “I HUNT, I VOTE” bumper stickers for distribution.

The campaign, being spearheaded by our friends at the NT Field & Game Association, has been a runaway success, with the entire first printing run of about 7,000 stickers being taken up already and a second print run in the works too.

The stickers are available absolutely free from shooting clubs, gun shops, pubs and newsagents throughout the Territory, as well as in a digital file for an e-mail signature too.

Make sure you get one of the stickers and help get the message out – and remind politicians that people with gun licences also have a vote on election day, and will use it to support the people who genuinely support us.

Why the Virginia Demonstrations matter to Shooters in Australia

Media images of well over 20,000 protestors, many of them lawfully openly carrying firearms, on the steps of legislative assembly in the US state of Virginia have been getting extensive coverage online – and with good reason.

The protest was held on January 20th, a day traditionally used for protesting proposed legislative matters in the state as it is a public holiday – Martin Luther King Day – and generated a massive turnout from law-abiding citizens concerned their rights were being ignored to suit a political
agenda.

The state’s Governor is trying to pass laws which would, among other things, ban the sale of military-style semi-automatic centrefire rifles, restrict handgun sales to an individual to one per month, and enact “red flag” laws allowing the police to seize firearms from individuals who have
been reported as being a danger to themselves.

Red flag laws are a controversial subject amongst Second Amendment supporters in the US, with many feeling the laws are far too easy to be abused – the details of who can “red flag” a gun owner vary from state to state.

The rally had been organised by a pro-gun organisation and while firearms were prohibited on the grounds of the state’s legislative assembly building, they were permitted elsewhere in the city of Richmond – which law-abiding citizens of the state took full advantage of, with many of them openly bringing rifles, shotguns and handguns to the rally in exercise of their legal rights.

Inconveniently for the anti-gun brigade, who were clearly hoping the whole thing would kick off and shots would be fired, the rally was a completely peaceful affair with minimal police presence – and not only that, but once it had finished, several pro-gun group members stayed behind to clean up the rubbish from the event.

That, friends, is how you peacefully protest for firearms rights, and it’s a lesson we would do well to learn in Australia too.

One of the reasons the rally was so important was summed up by Reddit user Glothr, who said: “Not only was it peaceful, it was diverse. They [the media and antis] wanted SO BADLY for this to be a bunch of old racist white dudes so they could perpetuate their white nationalist narrative. Instead, they were greeted by people of all races and backgrounds who united peacefully around the cause of defending liberty. That’s what we’re about and that’s what they demonstrated to the country today. This was exactly the kind of win we needed.”

Indeed, there was only one arrest on the day – a 21 year old woman arrested for refusing to remove a face covering when directed to do so by police, despite being warned twice she faced arrest for not doing so.

Leftist attempts to deride pro-gun owners as racist nutters playing soldier have been utterly destroyed by the peaceful, organised, and incident-free way the rally was conducted, and it has provided one of the most powerful proofs yet that gun owners are, first and foremost, law- abiding citizens.

So why is a pro-gun rally in the US relevant to Australia? Because it proves the right and the left can get along when the stakes are high. The issue in this case isn’t firearms, it’s the government being seen to ride roughshod over citizen’s rights (in the US case, rights enshrined in their Constitution) and an understanding that while today it’s scary black rifles on the hit list,
tomorrow it could very easily be “anyone who disagrees with the Government”.

In this case, not only were pro-gun people marching against the laws, they were joined by organisations including Antifa and even the Black Panthers.

Picture that for a moment – three groups which are not usually considered to be on each other’s Christmas Card lists put aside their differences to come together on an issue that mattered.

Imagine if we could do that in Australia?

There’s also a more important message here about not being politically apathetic – that means when something that affects gun owners happens here, we need to do more than just whinge about in on Facebook or at the range.

The message is clear: Get active, get out there and be involved in the fight – and as Australia’s pre-eminent pro-shooting organisation, we’re here to help.

Writing Guide for NT Reclassification

As you may have heard, earlier this month the then-Acting NT Police Commissioner Michael Murphy unilaterally declared that “all linear repeating firearms with assisted ejection, chambered for rim fire ammunition, to be category C firearms” and “all linear repeating firearms with assisted ejection, chambered for centrefire ammunition, to be category D firearms,” under section 8(1) of the Firearms Act 1997.

In practical terms, this means the Savage A22R .22 lever-release rifle is now treated the same as a Ruger 10/22 or any other semi-auto .22 and essentially unavailable to most shooters, while the Verney-Carron Speedline lever-release rifle is now treated the same as an AR-15 or L1A1 SLR and effectively banned.

Both these guns are Category A and B literally everywhere else in Australia.

We wrote to the NT Acting Police Minister and the NT Justice Minister a fortnight ago demanding an explanation and none has been forthcoming.

We are writing to all Shooters Union members in the Northern Territory to ask for your help in making sure this matter isn’t swept under the rug and that law-abiding shooters in the Territory get their voices heard in the fight against unfair and unjust gun laws.

Please, contact your local MP as soon as you can and let them know the following key points:

  • You are angry about the arbitrary re-categorisation and how it has been carried out
  • You want the decision reversed
  • You want the Firearms Act amended to remove the Police Commissioner’s ability to recategorise firearms into a higher category
  • Failure to take a pro-gun stance on this (and any other relevant) matter WILL cost them your vote and the vote of all other law-abiding firearms users in their electorate at the next Territory election

Make no mistake, this recategorisation is just the tip of the iceberg and is being closely watched by the other States.

We all need to stand up and take action now to fight for a fair go for all shooters.

Even if you don’t own, or have no intention of owning, a lever-release rifle, if this isn’t stopped then it’s only a matter of time before the antis decide to start coming after pump and lever-action rifles, then “high power sniper rifles” (any centrefire with a telescopic sight), and even potentially PCP air guns (for being more or less silent).

Contacting your MP will only take a few minutes but will make an enormous difference and is one of the most effective ways to get our message to the people in charge.

If you’ve got any questions or would like more information on how you can help, please don’t hesitate to contact media@shootersunion.com.au

Yours in shooting,

The Shooters Union Australia team

Shooters Appalled by Secret Gun Reclassification

**MEDIA RELEASE**

Giving the Northern Territory Police Commissioner the power to unilaterally reclassify sporting firearms on a whim is literally the stuff of a police state, says one of the country’s leading pro-shooting organisations.

Then-Acting Police Commissioner Michael Murphy declared in the NT Government Gazette earlier this month that “linear repeating firearms with assisted ejection” were reclassified from categories A and B (available to all licensed shooters) to categories C and D (heavily restricted and essentially banned, in the latter case).

Shooters Union Australia slammed the recategorisation, which was carried out without consultation or reference and caught shooters and their representative organisations alike off- guard.

President Graham Park said the first anyone heard of the recategorisation was when a Territorian shooter received a letter in the mail a few weeks ago advising him that his Savage A22R .22 rifle had been reclassified into a more restricted category as a result of a declaration by Acting Commissioner Murphy, and he would effectively have to dispose of the rifle as a result.

“We wrote to Acting Commissioner Murphy and Justice Minister Nicole Manison more than a fortnight ago requesting an explanation of this unilateral recategorisation and nothing has been forthcoming,” Mr Park said.

“It’s the sort of thing you expect to hear about happening in the Soviet Union or East Germany during the Cold War, not the Northern Territory in 2019.

“Needless to say, we and our members are not at all happy and want the declaration nullified immediately.”

Mr Park said while he was of the understanding the declaration referred to lever-release firearms, the wording was unclear and the potential was there for deliberate misuse or over-reach.

“No-one in the Australian shooting community had ever heard of the term “linear repeating firearm with assisted ejection” before and it is so vague as to potentially encompass most manually operated repeating firearms,” he said.

“And that’s without getting into the fact these lever-release guns pose no public safety risk, are Category A and B in literally every other jurisdiction in Australia, and have never been used in a crime.”

Mr Park said the situation was extremely concerning and had very serious implications for all Territorians – even those who were not firearms users.

“The police being able to decide laws on their own is a clear breach of the fundamental principle of the separation of powers,” he said.

He called on the NT Government to intervene and reverse the recategorisation, and then amend the Firearms Act to remove the police commissioner’s powers to reclassify firearms into higher categories.

“Who knows what other legislation there is on the books that lets the police make their own rules without oversight?”

“This is a dangerous precedent with far-reaching consequences, and it needs to be fixed immediately.”

CONTACT DETAILS:
President Graham Park: president@shootersunion.com.au or 0418 700 320
Media Officer Royce Wilson: media@shootersunion.com.au or 0410 645 035

Shooters Union attend Parliamentary Friends of Shooting Re-Launch

SHOOTERS Union Australia vice president David Brown headed to Canberra a few weeks ago to attend the re-launch of the Parliamentary Friends of Shooting group.

The event, supported by our friends at SIFA, was also attended by the Australian Clay Target Association, Field and Game Australia, the SSAA, and, of course, Shooters Union Australia.

The Parliamentary Friends of Shooting group comprises members from a range of political parties – except the Greens, to no-one’s surprise – and is co-chaired by Commonwealth Agriculture Minister Bridget McKenzie and Federal Labor MP for McEwan, Rob Mitchell.

The group was set up five years ago by Senator McKenzie with the aim of promoting shooting and hunting, along with the various benefits they offer from an environmental, economic and wellbeing perspective.

Mr Brown said the event was a welcome opportunity to catch up with some of those in parliament who can help promote the positive side of shooting and counteract the anti-gun nonsense spouted by the uniformed or deliberately hateful.

“There’s a surprising number of politicians who are either shooters themselves – such as Senator McKenzie or Federal MP for Kennedy Bob Katter – and many others who understand and appreciate what more than a million law-abiding firearms users contribute to Australia,” he said.

Attending the Parliamentary Friends Of Shooting event is just one of the many ways Shooters Union helps represent your interests and fight to make sure shooters across the country get a fair go.

Make sure you stay up to date with everything we’re doing at https://shootersunion.com.au/, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and most importantly: add media@shootersunion.com.au
to your e-mail “Not Spam” list!

Response to NT Acting Commission of Police

Acting Commissioner of Police Michael Murphy
Northern Territory Police
Via E-mail November 11, 2019

Dear Mr Murphy,
I am writing to you as president of Shooters Union Australia on behalf of our members to seek clarification of a declaration you made on October 3, 2019 and Gazetted on November 6.

In your Declaration, you declare that “declare all linear repeating firearms with assisted ejection, chambered for rim fire ammunition, to be category C firearms” and “all linear repeating firearms with assisted ejection, chambered for centrefire ammunition, to be category D firearms”, under section 8(1) of the Firearms Act 1997.

As Australia’s pre-eminent organisation representing law-abiding firearms users, we are extremely concerned by this arbitrary reclassification and request clarification on the
following matters:

  1. What, exactly, is a “linear repeating firearm with assisted ejection”?
  2. Why have these firearms been reclassified?
  3. How are these guns any different from a public safety perspective than pump action or lever-action rifles?
  4. What public safety risk do you believe these “linear repeating firearms with assisted ejection” pose, given they are Category A or B in literally every other State and Territory in Australia and have never been used in a crime?
  5. Were stakeholders, including licensed shooters, shooting organisations and dealers, consulted before this decision was made? If not, why not?
  6. How many of these “linear repeating firearms with assisted ejection” are registered in the NT?
  7. What is the precise amount of compensation payable to licensed owners of these guns who have suddenly had them recategorised and are unable to continue to own them as a result?

We appreciate your assistance in helping us and our members understand the rationale behind this decision, given its serious implications and the seemingly opaque manner in which has been arrived at.

Yours sincerely,

Graham Park
President, Shooters Union Australia

NSW Firearms Registry Mailing Address Change

An update for our members and friends in NSW:

We are advised that as part of a programme to centralise the NSW Police’s incoming mail, anything being posted to the Firearms Registry will now go via the police Document Transmission Centre in Parramatta.

Effective now, the state firearms registry has updated its mailing address to:
Firearms Registry
Locked Bag 5102
Parramatta
NSW 2124

Given the registry is still physically located in Murwillumbah – approximately 800km from Parramatta – it seems possible this will increase the time involved for mailed paperwork to get to the registry itself.

The NSW Police have said enquiries relating to the change of mailing address should be submitted via https://www.police.nsw.gov.au/online_services/firearms/contact_us

Economic & Social Impact of Recreational Hunting & Shooting

The 2019 ‘Economic and Social Impacts of Recreational Hunting and Shooting’ Federal Government Report has been released. Check the facts, facts matter.