Home - State News

State News

Are ALL your family & friends “Fit & Proper Persons?”

Imagine you’ve had your gun licence for years without any issues – and then you go to renew it, and receive a “Show Cause” notice.

You haven’t done anything wrong and are an upstanding, productive member of society. Why are the police threatening to take your licence away?

Because someone else who lives at your address is not considered a “Fit & Proper Person” to have a gun licence, and therefore the police don’t think you should be able to keep your guns there anymore.

Which other person? They won’t tell you. What is this other person alleged to have done? They won’t tell you, citing “Privacy Reasons”.

  • Is your flatmate a drug dealer?
  • Does your spouse have a criminal conviction you don’t know about?
  • Is one of your family at the same address in trouble with the police?

The police won’t say.

What they will say is that unless you explain in detail how someone – and they won’t say who –can’t access your guns at all (even though they’re already in a gun safe which only you have the keys for, as per the legislation), you’re not getting your licence renewed.

It sounds like a Kafka-esque nightmare but it is a reality for an increasing number of our members – and the scenario we outlined has actually happened to more than one person.

Historically the authorities have only used this power in serious cases, such as someone living with a convicted armed robber etc – however, now we are seeing it suddenly occur for the most minor issues, which we do not believe are even faintly relevant or fair.

This is clearly yet another example of police forces finding new ways to make life difficult for law-abiding firearms owners and we need to push back on it now.

If this happens to you, we need you to do three things.

  1. Tell us right away so we can help you – please e-mail legal@shootersunion.com.au
  2. Write to your local MP about this infringement on the civil liberties of your household
  3. Contact the Police Minister in your state and ask him to tell the police to stop clutching at straws and harassing law-abiding firearms users. We’ve even created a tool to help you do it! Check it out here: https://shootersunion.com.au/ministerial-email-generator/

We’ll have more on this issue soon – but in the meantime, be aware it is happening and be
prepared to start getting active in fighting against it!

SU Tasmania calls for increased bag limits on deer

Shooters Union Tasmania president Alistair Shephard features prominently in a recent story in The Advocate newspaper advocating for increased, or better yet removed, bag limits on deer in the state.

Alistair said deer are an introduced species to Tasmania and it was fair to say their numbers are getting out of control to the point where deer were showing up in places they were not previously encountered.

He also made the excellent point there’s a very large community of firearm users that would like to sustainably hunt deer and feed their families with the results, and that it makes no sense to limit them in doing that when deer numbers are continuing to expand.

It’s great to see hunting getting supportive coverage in the media

NSW extends open season on deer by 5 years

NSW has extended the suspension of certain deer hunting regulations until 2026, meaning hunters can take deer on private property (with landowner’s permission) without needing an R Licence.

Deer may now be hunted on private property and in state forests in NSW all year round, and electronic game callers are also permitted for use in state forests too.

Hunting in state forests will still require an R Licence and written permission from DPI.

For more details, visit: https://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/hunting/game-and-pests/managing-feral-
deer-in-nsw

WA introduces legislation which could criminalise reloading

Once again the Western Australian Government has put its boot into its law abiding firearm owners by coming up with the Firearms Amendment Bill 2021 to parliament, which in its current form could be interpreted to ban reloading ammunition, the possession of reloading presses and dies, and the possession of firearms reference manuals without a special dispensation from the state Police Commissioner.

Our WA branch has a meeting with the Shadow Police Minister next month to discuss our many, many concerns over the Bill but we need the help of our WA members in contacting their MP to voice their concerns over the Bill.
You can find your local MP’s details here: https://www.parliament.wa.gov.au/Parliament/memblist.nsf/screenLCMembersElectorate

In particular, the sections shooters need to be concerned about are Section 43, 23AG & AH, which define “Firearms Technology” as:

“(a) a thing that is programmed, configured or otherwise enabled to carry out a step in the manufacture or repair of a firearm, major firearm part, prohibited firearm accessory or ammunition; or without limiting subparagraph (i), to change an object into a component of a firearm, major firearm part, prohibited firearm accessory or ammunition;

(b) any type of digital or electronic reproduction of  a technical drawing of the design of a firearm,  major firearm part, prohibited firearm accessory or ammunition;

(c) a plan, drawing, instruction, template or computer program, in digital or electronic form,  for the manufacture or repair of a firearm, major firearm part, prohibited firearm accessory or ammunition;

(d) a hard copy of a digital or electronic thing referred to in paragraph (b) or (c) And then goes on to state “A person who is in possession of firearms technology commits a crime unless the person is authorised by a licence under this Act to be in possession of firearms technology.  Penalty for this subsection: imprisonment for 10 years.”

A regular Firearms Licence does not appear to authorise a shooter to be in possession of “Firearms Technology”, and the definition of “Firearms Technology” is so broad as to, in our view, encompass reloading presses, reloading dies, bullet moulds, loading manuals, load data, cartridge schematics, and detailed firearm repair manuals.

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):

https://documents.parliament.qld.gov.au/…/5721T1855.pdf

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.

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.