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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.

Medics for Gun Control submission lacks insight and sense of firearm legislation

By Shooters Union Tasmania President Alistair Shephard

Medics for Gun Control (MGC) has called on the Tasmanian Government to make changes to the state’s gun laws, and the proposed amendments show a distinct lack of understanding when it comes to firearm legislation in Tasmania, and the country.

The organisation recommended abolishing the “loophole” that breaches the National Firearms Agreement (NFA), permitting children from 12 years old to handle a gun. It is not a loophole. But the claim is an attempt to limit people’s rights by hoping they cave under emotional rhetoric.

Teaching firearm safety from a young age instills respect and discipline. People keep firearms in the home, on the farm. If your child is confronted with a gun, you want them to have the know-how and confidence to react safety and appropriately.

MGC also proposed stronger background checks and tighter requirements to cancel licenses and seize weapons following violence orders, domestic violence orders and assaults.

This hollow demand reveals how little they’ve researched the current requirements to obtain a license. Certainly in most Australian states, laws already mandate that orders of violence, domestic violence and assault are pursued by the cancellation of licenses and seizure of any weapons.

MGC advocated reducing licensing periods especially for handguns and semi-automatic weapons, when in fact Tasmanian laws already comply with the NFA and enforce 12 months for Category C licenses and five year licenses for all other categories.

This shows how out of touch they are with the situation, as processing licenses more frequently will only waste valuable police resources.

They also sought to ban 3D printed weapons in Tasmania and have the Adler shotgun upgraded to impose stringent licensing requirements. This fails to address the more pressing issue of illegal manufacturing of 3D weapons.

Placing further restrictions on 3D weapons will do nothing to punish the creators who are already in breach of the law.

Finally, the MGC encouraged the government to prohibit any Tasmanian political parties or candidates from receiving weapons industry or gun lobby donations. This is the most alarming of MGC’s proposed changes because it strikes at the heart of democracy.

It is not hypocritical to restrict the rights of one group of people when others have free reign?

Shooters Union acknowledges MGC’s right to voice its opinion on this matter. We hold our health professionals in the highest regard. In this case however, the group is simply “tugging on heart strings” and advocating poorly researched claims in an area that is not their field of expertise.

Article written by Alistair Shephard 6/11/18 and posted to the Tasmanian Times https://tasmaniantimes.com/2018/11/medics-for-gun-control-submission-lacks-insight-and-sense-of-firearm-legislation/

Fallow deer hunting not a plan, just an election promise to recreational hunters: Tas Conservation Trust

The Director of the Tasmanian Conservation Trust says the government’s plan to allow recreational hunters to shoot fallow deer is not a comprehensive management plan, and constitutes nothing more than an election promise. Peter McGlone says Parks and Wildlife aren’t being funded to properly manage the program, which could see hunters allowed into the the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area and other parks. McGlone says if the policy is about managing invasive species it should also apply to feral pigs, goats and cats, with funding to appropriately train, supervise and monitor hunters and measure the effectiveness of the program.

Click here to listen

Tasmanian Government Backflip

Please read the following statement written by Shooters Union Tasmania’s president, Alistair Shephard.

“On behalf of law abiding firearm owners across the state, we are very disappointed to learn today about the Liberal Government’s decision to backflip on its election promise to make common sense changes to Tasmania’s firearms legislation. However, we are not surprised.

“This backflip proves that politicians are willing to say what they think will garner more votes, and then backflip in the face of emotional rhetoric from the public and other lobbying groups. This is why we are growing and focused in Tasmania. After our recent meetings with Police Minister Michael Ferguson, we look forward to continuing the conversation with the legislative council committee and the government to improve access to the tools of the trade for primary producers and law-abiding firearms owners in Tasmania.”

Gun lobbyists fire up at Tasmanian doctors over opposition to reform

Shooters Union Tasmania has labelled comments from a coalition of health professionals against the state’s proposed gun reforms “ill-informed emotionally charged hearsay.”

Medics for Gun Control last month launched a campaign against the Liberals planned changes.

The group includes health professionals who responded to the 1996 Port Arthur Massacre.

Shooters Union Tasmania president Alistair Shephard said doctors should leave recommendations on firearm legislation to the experts.

“While I have the utmost respect for our doctors, this is not their area of expertise and their campaign is based on emotional rhetoric and has no basis in fact,” he said.

“The Liberal government’s proposal will not make it possible for just anyone to buy a gun: Tasmanians can be assured that the appropriate checks and balances will remain in place.”

Medics for Gun Control spokesman Phill Pullinger said health workers were at the frontline in dealing with issues with gun violence.

“Good regulations to minimise deaths and injuries from guns are as basic and critical a public health measure as vaccinations, smoking regulations and driving laws,” he said.

“Health professionals have every right to voice their concerns about good laws that protect public health and safety.”

A Legislative Council committee will hold an inquiry on the government’s gun reform plans.

It has received 104 submissions.

Article written by Matt Maloney for the Advocate (Tasmania) Click here to view the original article. s/

Shooters union says doctors should stick to health issues

Shooters union has hit back at a group of health professionals urging the Government to maintain the state’s gun control laws, saying doctors should stick to what they know.

Shooters Union Tasmania president Alistair Shephard labelled the Medics for Gun Control campaign “ill-informed emotionally charged hearsay”.

“While I have the utmost respect for our doctors, this is not their area of expertise and their campaign is based on emotional rhetoric and has no basis in fact,” he said. “Perhaps these doctors should consider campaigning for change in an area that directly affects the welfare of their patients and colleagues, and leave decisions about legal reform around firearms to the experts.”

MEDICS TAKE AIM AT PROPOSED CHANGES TO GUN LAWS

The State Government has been under attack since plans to loosen restrictions on some semiautomatic weapons and double licence periods were made public on the eve of the state election in March.

“The Liberal government’s proposal will not make it possible for just anyone to buy a gun,” Mr Shephard said.

“No one that hasn’t already been deemed a fit and proper person to hold a firearms licence will get access to the ‘tools of the trade’ for primary producers and sporting shooters.”

Shooters Union Australia’s Tasmania branch was established about six months ago and the union represents thousands of firearms owners and users across Australia.

Medics for Gun Control spokesman Dr Phill Pullinger said the Port Arthur gun laws have been integral to a more than halving of the number of gun deaths nationally.

“Good regulations to minimise deaths and injuries from guns are as basic and critical a public health measure as vaccinations, smoking regulations and driving laws,” he said.

“Health workers are at the frontline of dealing with the fallout from gun violence — whether it be paramedics at the scene of shootings, nurses and doctors in the emergency department, surgeons in the operating theatre, or general practitioners, psychologists and counsellors.”

Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party spokesman Carlo Di Falco said doctors needed to stop “fearmongering over imaginary firearm murders”.

“Firearm owners should not be defined by the actions of the likes of Martin Bryant any more than medical professionals be defined by the likes of Doctor Harold Shipman, who the UK police believe killed 250 clients,” Mr Di Falco said.

Premier Will Hodgman has promised he will not make any changes to the laws that will compromise the National Firearms Agreement.

Liberals’ gun policy labelled a ‘rush job’ after critical Tasmania Police report revealed

The ABC can reveal a report from Tasmania Police to the Liberal Government found its policy to water down firearm laws risked breaching the National Firearms Agreement, with none of the commitments costed or funding identified.

The report, obtained through a Right to Information request, was prepared in March by an “officer” of Tasmania Police, whose identity has not been released.

The exact date of the report’s delivery to government is unclear.

Rene Hidding and Premier Will Hodgman next to the Spirit of Tasmania

Premier Will Hodgman (right) with former police minister Rene Hidding, who announced the policy proposals. (Source ABC News)

The Liberals’ plans to water down the state’s firearms laws were revealed in the media on the eve of the March 3 election, with survivors of the 1996 Port Arthur massacre among those outraged by the proposals.

Premier Will Hodgman assured voters on the day before the election that the advice from his then-police minister Rene Hidding was that the policy did not breach the National Firearms Agreement (NFA), which was introduced after the mass shooting and updated in 2017.

But the March report identifies a number of risks posed by the policy, including a potential breach of the NFA.

“It is not currently clear that all of the proposed amendments are within the scope of the National Firearms agreement, to which Tasmania is a signatory,” the report said.

The document also found the “wide-ranging” commitments would mean “substantial resource imposts”, and either require more staff or the reduction of other services.

“None of these (commitments) appear to have been costed, and no funding source has been nominated”.

Some information has been withheld from the Right to Information response because it includes opinions of a “non-factual nature” that have been deemed contrary to the public interest.

The report said any changes to gun laws would have to remain within the scope of the National Firearms Agreement, but that the state’s Firearms Act 1996 does require a “substantial revamp” regardless of the Government’s proposed reforms.

Policy a ‘rush job’: gun control advocate

Roland Browne from Gun Control Australia said he was not surprised the Tasmania Police officer who authored the report was unconvinced about the policy conforming to the national agreement.

“It seems to me that the police accept that that’s just what’s going to happen,” Mr Browne said.

He said the report’s questions about costings and implementation showed there had been little consultation by the Liberals on the policy.

“It is a rushed job and I think the police have given it a poor scoring.”

Greens MP Rosalie Woodruff said it was likely the March police report was produced after the state election.

“This is policy on the run that was cooked up by a conversation with gun lobby stakeholders,” Ms Woodruff said.

“It had no consultation with the Tasmanian public, it clearly didn’t even have consultation with Tasmanian Police or firearms services.”

In a statement, Police Minister Michael Ferguson said the Government would not breach the NFA.

“Further work on costing will occur during the drafting and planning process,” he said.

Months on from the election, Mr Hodgman has refused to say whether Mr Hidding gave him misleading advice about the proposal to extend firearms licences to 10 years not breaching the NFA, despite the agreement clearly stipulating that licences be issued for period of no more than five years.

The NFA also specifies that firearms storage breaches must result in licence cancellation and firearms confiscation, whereas the Liberals’ policy would water that penalty framework down to infringement notices for “minor” storage breaches.

Gun Control Australia is trying to obtain the advice from Rene Hidding to the Premier through the Supreme Court, but the matter is not expected to be heard for another two months.

The Government has enthusiastically supported an Upper House inquiry into its firearms policy, meaning the proposed changes may never make it to legislation in their current form.

Article Written by State Political Reporter, Ellen Coulter for ABC News. Article appeared: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-06-21/liberals-gun-policy-criticised-in-police-report-as-uncosted/9890910 Thursday 8:56am

We have expanded into Tasmania!

The Shooters Union movement has long had members in all states in Australia, plus a few overseas.  We’ve had numerous requests to formally establish ourselves interstate, so after careful consideration of the best mechanism to do that, Shooters Union Australia is now a company, and we have established  Shooters Union Tasmania Pty Ltd.
Whilst the formalities to restructure are still in train, we have a very enthusiastic bunch of Taswegians already establishing their bona-fides to the newly elected Tasmanian government.
The very able man in charge is Alistair Shephard.
If you’re in Tassie and want to be involved, you can contact Alistair on president.tas@shootersunion.com.au
He’ll be pleased to hear from you.
FYI: As membership of the State-based associations is based on location, existing Shooters Union Members based in Tasmania, will automatically become part of Shooters Union Tasmania. New Members should join using the form here.

Push to import new ‘rapid-fire’ shotgun into Australia sparks concerns

This is the Verney-Carron Veloce, a French-made shotgun with a new fast fire and reload mechanism. It is not available in Australia but if Queensland gun importer Rick Casagrande gets his way, it soon will be.

His battle to bring the weapon into the country is now in the Federal Court.

“The Veloce will be used by people in North Queensland who are hunting wild pigs in abundance,” he said.

“They are people who hunt deer, who want a quality firearm.

“It’s just a very accurate, reliable firearm and it’s also quite safe.”

Mr Casagrande said when the Australian Federal Police inspected the gun, instead of giving it a classification they listed it in a special schedule of prohibited items, banned from importation into Australia.

‘No-go zone’

“Things like machine guns, mortars, any of those military-type weapons that are actually used in war … they can’t come in under any consideration whatsoever,” he said.

Mr Casagrande applied for a judicial review in the Federal Court and is awaiting the judgment.

He believes the AFP got it wrong, that the Veloce is a typical lever-action shotgun and should be classified as a category B firearm, one of the two least-restrictive categories.

Mr Casagrande said if the firearm is put in one of the more restrictive importation categories he will accept the decision, but with no classification, the firearm is essentially banned and he has no way forward.

“The frustrating thing is we don’t believe that it can’t be schedulised [sic] as one of the typical actions,” he said.

Australian Sporting Agencies CEO Rick Casagrande wants to import the Verney-Carrron Veloce shotgun. ABC News: Mark Lenordi

‘A semi-semi-automatic’

Gun control advocates disagree. They say the Veloce is a dangerous new style of “rapid-fire” gun.

Gun Control Australia chair Samantha Lee says it fires faster than typical category A and B lever or bolt-action firearms.

“With this particular firearm the concern is the rapid-fire mechanism. The ability for cartridges to be loaded at a very quick capacity,” she said.

“It’s been described as like a semi-automatic firearm. It’s quite a different mechanism to what’s been imported into Australia before.”

But far more troubling, according to Ms Lee, is that a rifle version of the shotgun is already available in Australia as a category B gun. It is called the Verney-Carron Speedline.

“We’ll be meeting with the Federal Justice Minister this week and we’ll be raising this issue, our concerns about the import of rapid-style firearms into this country,” she said.

“Any rapid-style semi-automatic type firearm should not be available to recreational hunters.

“Any firearm that is rapid style should be at its highest category possible — a category C or D.”

New South Wales Greens MP and gun control advocate David Shoebridge said the guns potentially needed their own unique category.

“This is effectively a new category of weapon, a new dangerous category that a number of firearms experts have described as a semi-semi-automatic weapon, with a high rate of fire. It doesn’t fit neatly into any of our current categories,” he said.

“You only have to look at its mechanism [and] its own sales pitch to see just how dangerous it is.”

The Verney-Carron Speedline rifle. ABC News: Mark Leonardi

NSW Police Minister urged to take quick action

Mr Shoebridge said the Verney-Carron Speedline and Veloce firearms are a step up from the controversial Adler lever-action gun.

And he does not understand how the Speedline has achieved a category B rating.

“This weapon though has an even more rapid rate of fire action. It’s designed for an extremely rapid cycling through of shot after shot, after shot, after shot,” he said.

“We have already sent correspondence to the NSW Police Minister urging rapid action by him to seek to reclassify the rifle that’s already in the country, and to ensure that he makes it known that he supports the banning of the importation of this weapon.

“We need to have an urgent meeting of state, territory and Commonwealth justice and police ministers to ensure the national firearms agreement is kept up to date and this weapon is categorised as category D — effectively banned.”

Gun control advocates say the gun categorisation system devised after the Port Arthur massacre in 1996 is now outdated, and that dangerous new weapons are slipping in under the least restrictive gun categories.

Ms Lee says it is time for an overhaul.

“Gun manufacturers have introduced new designs, new models, new features, making general bolt-action firearms and turning them into rapid-style firearms,” she said.

“The unfortunate thing is that our laws here in Australia have not kept up with the change in technology and design in firearms.”

Reliability, not rapidity

But Mr Casagrande says the Speedline rifle and the Veloce shotgun are both appropriate category B lever-action guns.

He denies that they are rapid fire, saying the manufacturer’s promotional videos of the gun in action exaggerate how fast it can fire and reload.

“What you’ve seen on video is somebody with his hand on the side, shooting down the tunnel and going as fast as he possibly can … to show reliability, not necessarily the amount of the rapid-fire ability of the firearm,” Mr Casagrande said.

“There are lever actions in place that have been coming into this country for quite some time that have the same rapidity of fire as the Veloce or the Speedline.

“It’s no faster than a mechanical lever because it still takes to load, your hand has to come off the grip of the rifle to press the lever.”

Mr Casagrande says gun control advocates are fear mongering.

“Shame on you for thinking that we are Americans, that’s what I say to the anti-gun lobby,” he said.

Sporting Shooters Association of Australia chief executive Tim Bannister said there was no reason to reclassify the Speedline or ban the Veloce firearms.

“There’s always going to be new technology, we have new technology in all things. I’m not sure why we would try and circle a particular sport and say you’re not allowed to advance,” he said.

“It’s not more dangerous or less dangerous than any other firearm. A firearm in the right hands is a safe piece of equipment.

“The people who misuse firearms will continue to misuse firearms. They access them from the black market.

“What we would like to see is Gun Control Australia focus on the 97 per cent of misuse of firearms, which is caused by unlicensed people with unregistered firearms.”

In a statement, a spokesperson for the Department of Home Affairs said the Commonwealth Government is responsible for matters relating to the import and export of firearms, while the state and territory governments have responsibility for all matters relating to possession, licensing and use of firearms.

The statement said the classification of the Verney-Carron Speedline rifle is a matter for each state and territory, and because judgement is reserved in the judicial review regarding the classification of the Verney-Carron Veloce shotgun, it would not be appropriate to comment on the matter before court.

Tasmania’s gun laws will be examined by a Legislative Council committee

Legislative Council Independent member Ivan Dean (a former senior Policer Officer) is heading up a parliamentary inquiry into gun laws in Tasmania. It’s expected to be put into motion in the next month, but not imminent. The Police Minister said he was sure a submission from the Shooters Union would be most welcomed and thought the Union could be a witness for the inquiry.

The Legislative Council has agreed to set up an inquiry to look at changes to Tasmania’s gun laws.

Windermere MLC Ivan Dean successfully moved 10 votes to four for the inquiry when the Legislative Council sat for the first time this year.

On the eve of the March 5 state election, the Liberal Party proposed to double the duration of gun licenses to 10 years and make weapons such as pump-action shotguns more readily available.

Mr Dean told the council gun laws “impact a lot of people.”

“It is an emotional issue,” he said.

“Port Arthur was the greatest tragedy in this state and this country and it remains raw for many people.

“It haunts us for the rest of our lives.”

Mr Dean said he hoped the inquiry would be dealt with expeditiously but not rushed and would be completed by the end of the year.

Murchison MLC Ruth Forrest opposed the inquiry arguing it should be the government who should come up with any changes.

“Some of the changes they want are sensible but they should have happened in the last term of this government,” Ms Forrest said.

“What do the government want to do and how do they want to do it?

“They should be consulting and putting out a policy position.”

Leader of the government Leonie Hiscutt said the government supported the inquiry.

“I am a tradie and well qualified to look out for the best interests of farmers,” Ms Hiscutt said.

She will serve on the committee with Mr Dean as chair and members Robert Armstrong, Mike Gaffney, Tania Rattray and Joanna Siejka.

Meanwhile, Police Minister Michael Ferguson welcomed the Legislative Council’s inquiry into proposed changes to firearms laws.

“We understand this is an emotive issue for all Tasmanians and we are therefore very committed to engaging in extensive consultation before legislation is tabled,” Mr Ferguson said.

Written by Sue Bailey Article first appeared on the Examiner Website: https://www.examiner.com.au/story/5423231/gun-law-committee-set-up/?cs=95 22/5/18 at 5:14pm.