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Shooters Union Ministerial email generator now active

With licence application/renewal and PTA processing times blowing out spectacularly in some places (notably Queensland), and firearms licensing branches in other states being increasingly hard to contact or opaque in their responses, we have found that escalating issues to the state Police Minister can be an effective way of getting a resolution.

We are pleased to now roll out our Ministerial Email Generator nation-wide. It allows you to compose an email to your State/Territory police minister – and you can find it here!

Please complete the form as if you were writing the letter to the minister yourself (especially the comments field) as this will be mail merged into the ministerial template for your convenience.

Once you have completed the form, you will receive an email with the templated Ministerial, please proofread and make any amendments necessary.  Then send your email to:

We’d love a copy for our records, so please CC legal@shootersunion.com.au too!

Shooters Union stands up for QLD Pistol Shooters

Queensland’s Weapons Licensing Branch have decided that, effective from1st March 2022, handgun shooters will not be able to sign their own participation records. Participation records will need to be signed by another Range Officer at the range.

However, thanks to our representations on behalf of shooters, Weapons Licensing have agreed that participation records signed by the shooter themselves prior to March 1st will be grandfathered in and still counted as valid.

This means you will not have to redo previous shoots where you have signed your participation record as the RO.

While we agree the new rules may cause some issues for clubs, particularly those with rolling competitions, we would point out that until we (with the support of other members of the wider shooting industry) represented shooters on this matter, Weapons Licensing were planning to apply to ban retroactively – meaning a lot of pistol shooters stood to lose their handgun licences when WLB rejected their participation records because the shooter had signed them.

WLB: “Get Vaxxed or Get ready to give up your handguns!”

Queensland’s Weapons Licensing Branch have informed us they do not care if unvaccinated shooters are disadvantaged by ranges refusing to allow them access, and have further said they will take compliance action against unvaccinated shooters who do not meet their participation requirements for the year.

We contacted WLB to request handgun participation requirements for the year be waived or reduced, particularly in light of individual ranges refusing access to unvaccinated members, leaving them with nowhere to shoot in some cases.

WLB refused our request, saying it was not their problem that some ranges were going beyond the Government mandates regarding unvaccinated shooters, and suggesting affected shooters find somewhere else to participate.

“While the Government mandatory vaccination requirements do not extend to shooting ranges, clubs and galleries, it equally does not preclude an individual organisation from imposing their own requirements.  Such conditions are the decision by an individual organisation, not government,” the information we received said.  

“If a licence holder is unable to participate in competitions at their current club, they are encouraged to seek an alternate location to fulfil the obligations of the weapons licence. If a Weapons Licence Holder cannot meet the requirements of his/her licence, Weapons Licensing would be taking compliance action in relation to the failure to comply with licence conditions and not the vaccination status.”

We have sought advice on the matter and been informed WLB are legally able to take this stance, so there is, unfortunately, nothing we can do about it.

We would also suggest raising the matter with your range, but based on the feedback we have had from our members who have tried that, you are unlikely to receive a sympathetic response.

To say we are unhappy with the situation would be an understatement, and while we will continue making representations on behalf of our members, we do not hold much hope of the situation changing – so if you are one of the affected pistol shooters, please consider yourself forewarned.

An important message regarding vaccination restrictions

In some states including Queensland, shooters do not legally have to be vaccinated to attend a range and a range may allow non-vaccinated shooters to attend, potentially with additional social distancing requirements in place.

However, they do not have to allow non-vaccinated shooters to attend and are legally within their rights to restrict access to vaccinated shooters only. We know a number of ranges have chosen to do this, for various reasons. While we agree with the Government (in this instance!) that excluding unvaccinated shooters is unnecessary, Shooters Union respects the right of clubs to run their ranges as they see fit.

If you do face difficulties, then your options are to discuss the matter with the range/association, and either get vaccinated or find somewhere else to shoot if they refuse to change the policy.

The Shooters Union Family Continues to Grow

Our New Year started with a double bang. Mareeba Pistol Club and Childers Rifle & Pistol Club (both in Queensland) have formally affiliated with Shooters Union – meaning our members are welcome there and can shoot matches there.

As new members of the rapidly growing Shooters Union family, the Mareeba and Childers clubs have our support and we hope, if you’re in their region, you will support them too. We can confirm we are working on something very exciting with Mareeba Pistol Club for later this year and look forward to being able to tell you more soon!

If you happen to visit either of the ranges, take a photo and tag us on social media with it? Maybe your club is interested in coming to Shooters Union too? Encourage them to get in touch with us if more autonomy and non-intrusive independence appeals.

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!

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.

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!