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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.

Cash Restriction Plan WILL affect Shooters

PLANS by the Federal Government to ban cash purchases of more than $10,000 are potentially the start of a slippery slope towards restricting law-abiding shooter’s ability to buy firearms, ammunition and accessories.

The Government quietly tabled the Currency (Restrictions on the Use of Cash) Bill 2019 recently, which would make it a criminal offence to buy (or accept payment) in cash for anything over $10,000 – with the penalties ranging up to two years imprisonment and a $25,200 fine.

One of the Bill’s stated aims is to “ensure that entities cannot make large payments in cash so as to avoid creating records of the payment and facilitating their participation in the black economy and undertaking related illicit activities” – in other words, that old “tough on crime by punishing everyone” canard shooters know all too well.

It’s tempting to say “I’ve never even seen $10,000 in cash, much less purchased anything with it”, but we all know if the Government gets the laws passed, they’ll quietly lower the threshold to something lower – like $5,000 or even $2,000 – when no-one is looking (or just never adjust the
figure for inflation), and that is a problem for law-abiding shooters across the country.

Shooters could potentially be forced to use credit cards – whether they like it or not – to buy new guns or bulk ammunition purchases.

While many shooters do this now anyway, what you may not realise is banks and credit card providers can and do decide to withdraw their services to legal businesses on moral grounds.

There have already been reports of this happening to people working legally in the adult services industry – even to people wanting personal loans unconnected with their adult work.

Given the general anti-gun attitudes prevalent in the virtue-signalling classes of Australian society, it’s not unreasonable to foresee some financial institutions eventually deciding they will no longer offer credit card or merchant services to firearms-related business – and when coupled with bans on larger cash sales, this could make it effectively impossible for shooters to purchase premium guns or bulk ammunition.

We at Shooters Union firmly believe this Bill is yet another example of the Government unnecessarily intruding into our lives and pointlessly making something illegal – after all, clearly the money launderers and drug dealers of Australia will immediately comply with this legislation since they’re not engaged in any other illegal activities with large penalties for getting caught, right?

We strongly urge you to contact your local Federal MP and tell them you have had enough of the Government meddling with your day-to-day life for no reason, and demand they vote “No” on the Bill when it comes before Parliament.

ABC Surprise Us With Positive Shooting-Related Story

It’s not often we find the ABC on the side of law-abiding firearms users, but today is one of those days.

Following the release of the Economic and Social Impacts of Recreational Hunting and Shooting report (commissioned by the Commonwealth Government Department of Health)

Australia’s national media outlets took very different tacks on the report’s contents and conclusions – which included the fact recreational hunting adds $2.4 billion to the Australian economy each year and is responsible for 3300 jobs.

Disappointingly, The Australian took a negative tone in their story, focussing on the cost of the report, describing it as “controversial” (it was not), criticising the study’s methodology as well as highlighting areas where the report disagreed with the standpoints of the SSAA.

Amazingly, the ABC – not known for their gun-friendly reporting – focussed mostly on the positive, leading with the economic benefits hunting and shooting offered, noting the report acknowledging “hunters engaged in more physical activity and had “higher levels of wellbeing” when compared to the general population”, and included supportive comment from The Australian Deer Association, who made some excellent points about the mental and physical health benefits of hunting and shooting, as well as the significance of the economic contributions too. Read the full article here.

Credit where credit is due to the ABC for reporting on this important story in a fair manner and leaving anti-gun political bias out of it – if only everyone else could do the same.

Home affairs responds to Shooters Union Letter

You might recall a few weeks ago we wrote to Home Affairs Minister, Peter Dutton, expressing our high levels of concern over Australian Border Force reclassifying the Berkia ‘Black Ops’ shotgun due to an alleged resemblance to the M-16 assault rifle.

We can now report the Hon. Jason Wood MP, Assistant Minister for Customs, Community Safety and Multicultural Affairs – under whose portfolio the matter falls – has replied to our letter.

While not addressing several of our questions, Mr Wood did confirm Customs inspected the Berika shotguns at import. “The ABF has advised me that the examination of the Berika SP12 ‘Black Ops’ firearms was conducted on 20 March 2019, however, the concerns with the firearms’ appearance were not raised at the time,” he said.

“The Department of Home Affairs and the ABF do not take the decision to reconsider the classification of firearms lightly. However, our primary focus is on ensuring the safety of the community through compliance with the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations 1956.”

Mr Wood acknowledges conventional straight-pull shotguns can generally be imported with a B709A form from state police, but notes “However, firearms that are ‘substantially the same in appearance as a fully automatic firearm’ are more highly controlled and require import permission from the Department. Controls based on a firearm’s appearance are a part of the National Firearms Agreement put in place in 1996 and re-agreed by the Commonwealth and all states and territories in 2017.”

“Commonwealth experts have confirmed that the appearance-based controls apply to the Berika SP12 ‘Black Ops’. As such, the original import permission issued for the Berika SP12 ‘Black Ops’ was invalid and the firearms are considered to be prohibited imports.”

The reply still seems to suggest “We changed our minds, oh well, shrug” – and doesn’t address many of the questions we raised -but it does show our elected representatives know we’re keeping an eye on their official activities and won’t hesitate to speak up on behalf of our members.