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TRENDING ON SHOOTERS UNION: REGIONAL ISSUES

A must see for shooters

Any shooter who is between meaningful relationships and with nothing better to do is well advised to travel to Gympie to be gob smacked by Ron’s new Owen Guns museum which is the largest gun museum in the southern hemisphere. If you’re passing through the town, don’t miss it.

You walk through his shop, which is always full of good stuff, into a large concrete vault packed with displays which ram home our gun heritage. From priceless cased shotguns for the gentry, air rifles, .22 rabbit killers, hunting rifles, to the huge range of military hardware which has been part of our history, keeping the peace, protecting the Empire and which, as recently as the 1940’s, saved us from invasion and worse.

As The Gympie Times put it, “The amazing collection, going back three centuries, includes well over $1 million worth of historic tools and weaponry, but Mr Owen says there is a lot more to it than that. “This museum is not dedicated to the steel and wood artefacts, it is dedicated to our forefathers, who invented, designed, manufactured and used them,” he said on Friday.”They were the ones who found a wilderness and built our harbours and bridges, created tracks that turned into roads and railways across deserts and snow capped mountains,” he said.

And they fought in wars from the 19th Century onwards.

“Many of the firearms on these walls were part of the deterrent to an impending Japanese invasion,” he said.

The pioneers needed guns to help them survive, killing pests and shooting a meal.

The soldiers needed them for even more urgent survival requirements.

You may also have the chance to meet Ron himself, tireless campaigner for gun rights, a true battler for shooters. Ron heads the Cooloola Range Association and has been fighting to have the Queensland Government come good on their promise of 25 years ago to replace the Gympie Range, which they put a railway through. When Ron sets his mind to something, be it his museum, his gun shop, shooters rights, a range complex at Gympie, — it will be done.

More photos of the museum are available here: https://www.facebook.com/pg/owengunstrustmuseum/photos/ & https://www.owenguns.com/opening-25th-march-2017-owen-guns-museum/

Owen Guns Museum is located on the Southern side of Gympie just off the Bruce Highway in MacMahon Road and is visible from the highway. The museum is open Weekdays 9 to 5 and Saturdays 9 to 4. Entry fee: a donation.

To read the local newspaper coverage of the opening of the Owen Guns Museum, please click here.

 

Freedom of Disinformation: Queensland Police Service Weapons Licencing Branch Strike Again

A few days ago, we described how the Queensland Police Service Weapons Licensing Branch appears to frown on the occupational use of pistols by primary producers while the Queensland Police regularly euthanise animals with Glocks.

It isn’t just the Police that frown.  The Police Minister has described farmers using pistols to deal with pests and stock as cowboys.  How did we get here?

Fortunately, we can get some idea from documents obtained under Queensland’s Right To Information Act.

“if their proposed use isn’t supported then the applications are very unlikely to be successful”

At some point in the recent past, this document was prepared:

“I propose that all staff assessing or following up on new applications and renewals for Concealable Firearms be encouraged to speak to applicants to let them know that Cat H applications will be looked at on a case by case basis and if their proposed use isn’t supported then the applications are very unlikely to be successful.”

After assessment by the Licencing Coordinator, if the application is not supported, applicants will be offered the opportunity to withdraw prior to being rejected.

Some applications get very special attention.  The document goes on:

“There cannot be a blanket NO answer for any type of licence, each one must be judged on its merits, however some of the standards points that have been referred to are listed below.

Why would each case need a special phone call where Branch staff members ‘speak to applicants’?  Is it because some special attention is going to be delivered?

“Enjoy our new, improved, special attention

In documents that appear to be scripts for the Branch members making the ‘special attention’ phone calls, we find these gems:

“The CSIRO and other Commonwealth and State agencies, including the Queensland Government, have produced a number of ‘Model Codes of Practice’ for the destruction of livestock and feral animals.  These documents indicate that in most cases the use of rifles of sufficient calibres should be used for humane destruction of injured or sick beasts.

Publications on humane destruction of feral pest animals are not supportive of the use of handguns due to the smaller calibres used and the lack of accuracy over distance both of which can contribute to the suffering of an animal.”

It is hard to understand why pistol calibres are said to be smaller than rifle calibres.  There are plenty of pistol calibres in common use which are larger than many common rifle calibres.  Despite that, the Branch seem keen to give you the impression that there is absolutely no scientific support for using pistols to euthanise animals.  There is no mention of the joint Queensland Police and Department of Primary Industries study at Warwick 16 years ago.  That study endorsed the Police Service Glock and its .40 calibre projectile for euthanising cattle.  There is even a Police procedure for euthanising animals with Glocks.

Undeterred by these difficult facts, the apparent script continues with its helpful suggestions:

“Other methods of carrying long arm rifles have been developed in recent years for both motorbike and horseback, including scabbards, gun racks and break down ‘survival’ type rifles of smaller size. This counters an argument that on rural properties it is not practical to travel distances with long arms.”

“Any rejection will need to be declared in future dealings with Weapons Licensing”

The most telling part of this apparent script is the implied consequence for the farmer or occupational shooter receiving the special attention:

“Please keep in mind that any rejection will need to be declared in future dealings with Weapons Licensing is it [sic: it is] a question on most forms used by Weapons Licensing.”

You sent the Queensland Police a form and some money.  You’re trying to work livestock or dispatch pests in pretty difficult conditions.  A policeman phones you and says “Thanks for your time today.”  And after some waffle he indicates they won’t be “supporting” the renewal of your existing license.  Then he tells you that you can withdraw your application and dispose of your pistol(s).  Or you continue your application for renewal and very likely face formal refusal.  He tells you to keep in mind that you’ll have to deal with us again.  It sounds like they’re saying: we’re in a position of power over you and we will remember this.

Why no public release?

When documents like the apparent proposal and script above are released, they are normally put on the online Disclosure Log for anyone to access.  They don’t seem to contain anything confidential or personal.  At the time of publication, they weren’t available online in the Disclosure Log (see application RTI/18362).

Police comment invited

On Monday we invited the Queensland Police Service to comment on a draft of this post by close of business Thursday 13 October 2016.  We have received none.

Article Written by A. Stanway – www.Firearmownersunited.com

Category H, Farmers & the Humane Euthanization of Animals

Working livestock on a large property can be a hard way to make a living.  Thick scrub, rough terrain, long distances and wandering animals (wanted and unwanted) are a reality of life.  Often enough, farmers, pest controllers and animal handlers need a compact, light, reliable repeating firearm to deal with the challenges of sick livestock and packs of feral pests.

You’re quickly dismounting from a quad, a bike or a horse.  Drawing a pistol will be quick during the narrow window of opportunity to act.  This beats trying to ready a long arm, which would take crucial additional seconds or minutes, by which time the opportunity for action has passed.

Recent reports indicate that the Queensland Police Service Weapons Licensing Branch (the Branch) has decided to refuse a number of applications and renewals for primary producers to use pistols to do their job.

This has been disruptive to law-abiding shooters who already owned pistols for destroying livestock or pest animals in what are often challenging circumstances.  The Queensland Tribunal that hears appeals against Branch decisions has found pistols to be perfectly suitable where the circumstances of the farm require them (see Harm v Queensland Police Service [2010] QCAT 518).

What the ‘Firearm Police’ say

In recent correspondence, the Branch has claimed that a CSIRO-published report and recommendations on feral pest destruction does not support the use of pistols in pest destruction.  Appendix 2 to the CSIRO report lists various rifle ammunition and does not mention pistols or pistol ammunition.

Relying on the little that the CSIRO report had to say, one member of the Branch recently wrote:“[this] make[s] it virtually impossible to justify the use of concealable firearms to kill animals.”

This same claim was also made by the Branch a couple of years ago in a Tribunal appeal.  Tribunal Member Howard considered this and wrote (in Shaxson v Queensland Police Service, Weapons Licensing Branch [2014] QCAT 309):

“Another document [offered by the Branch] entitled Model Practice for the “Welfare of Animals Feral Livestock Animals” published by the Standing Committee on Agriculture, Animal and Health Committee, SCARM Report 34, provides some potentially inconsistent information about humane destruction. It variously describes shooting as the most humane method of killing and refers to use of a pistol (although it seems only for recumbent animals), but later, sets out a schedule for firearms apparently recommended for various types of feral animals (these appear to be mainly, if not all, rifles and shotguns) …

The information provided in … Report 34 is general and untested. Therefore, I am wary of placing undue weight on it. […] although it appears to have some internal inconsistency does not deal with feral dogs particularly, and generally seems to support use of rifles and shotguns in management of feral animals.”

The Report claims that “The following schedule of firearms and ammunition has been prepared after consultation with State/Territory officers experienced in feral animal control”.  It then lists ammunitions for rifles and shotguns.

On 7 July, I wrote to a long standing, PhD-qualified member of the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI), who I understand was involved in the preparation of these recommendations.  I asked him what this consultation involved.  I’ve received no response.

On 8 August, the CSIRO wrote back to me about my Freedom of Information (FOI) request for all documents relevant to the consultation.  They advised: “Despite an extensive search, CSIRO has been unable to locate any document relevant to your request.”

“Impossible to justify the use of concealable firearms to kills animals”

On 19 December 2015, the police from the Stanthorpe Station and the local RSPCA attended a wallaby who’d been hit by a car and had a smashed leg.  They weren’t taking statement from the wallaby.  The policeman, a firearms instructor, fired six times to euthanise the macropod.

Senior Sergeant Mark Ireland said “it was fairly common for police to be called out to assist wildlife carers.”

The Police are well prepared.  Documents obtained under the Queensland Right To Information (RTI) Act reveal that in October 2000, the Police and the Queensland DPI tested the Police service pistol at“distances ranging from 2 to 7 meters” against “actual cattle heads obtained from a local abattoir”.  The documents tell us:

Inevitably police officers encounter situations where livestock are injured or maimed to the extent that they humanely destroyed. […]

The trial is to provide QPS with informed and tested technical information regarding humane destruction of livestock using the standard issue Glock 22 .40 Calibre. […]

You can imagine the expert heads nodding in unison at this paragraph:

“This projectile has mushroomed exceptionally well with the metal jacket peeling back to the gullet base resulting in increased diameter of the projectile on exit. This is a very desirable characteristic for a projectile for humane destruction purposes.”

It turns out that pistols are convenient tools in humanely destroying animals.  So useful, in fact, that the Queensland Police sanction the use of pistols by their members for this purpose.

Three questions for the Firearm Police

  1. Is it possible that the codes of animal welfare are really more concerned with a humane destruction of an animal than with the barrel length of the firearm used to do it?
  2. If codes of animal welfare mean it is “virtually impossible” to justify using pistols to humane destroy animals: why do the Police do it so frequently given they have modern 5.56mm rifles at their disposal?
  3. Is it possible that pistols can be very convenient and that quick, multiple shots are OK to ensure suffering animals are humanely destroyed?
Article Written by A Stanway. Article first appeared on www.firearmownersunited.com. Click here to see original article.

Weapons forum exclusion forces firearms dealers into strike action

Queensland’s licensed firearm dealers have voted to ‘strike’, and force police to shoulder the processing of up to 20,000 firearm transfers a year, over what they see as a blank refusal by the state government to consult with industry about excessive red tape and regulations.

The dealers say they are fed up with bearing the cost and responsibility of regulations they have no say over and vow that police will need to broker firearm transfers between private individuals across the state.

Firearm Dealers Association of Queensland president, Rob Nioa, said the extraordinary move, the first since the National Firearms Agreement was implemented 20 years ago, followed multiple, unsuccessful attempts by retailers, importers, armorers and manufacturers to have their voice heard by Queensland’s Police Minister Bill Byrne.

Mr Nioa said the group was shut out of the state government’s Weapons Consultation Forum despite a clear-cut promise to consult with industry.

“Queensland’s firearm industry is fed up at being ignored; other industries are consulted and are given an opportunity to provide feedback when regulatory changes are proposed, but we are being kept in the dark,” Mr Nioa said.

“Our members are expected to be an arm of the bureaucracy and process reams of paperwork at no cost under an outdated system, yet common-sense suggestions we have to improve the process are not even heard.

“If the government considers their current red tape around private transfers between law-abiding firearm owners is so important, then they can resource it through the Queensland Police Service or another government department.”

Mr Nioa said the association did not want to impact farmers and licensed firearm owners and had provided advance notice to the state government to allow for emergency procedures, including special exemptions, to be put in place.

“The proper recording and tracing of firearm transactions between individuals is an essential public service and it is important the Police Minister steps up to ensure the service continues for licensed firearm owners,” Mr Nioa said.

“We probably do two or three a week. One could take 10 minutes or it could take half an hour, depending on the circumstances.

“We don’t make any money out of it – we’re just providing a service.

“But the minister said in Parliament that key stakeholders would be invited to join the forum, and then ignored us.

“We’re one of the key organisations – we deal with guns every day. It’s just ignorant not to include us.”

Article written by Sally Cripps 29/8/16 for Queensland Country Life. View the full article here: https://www.queenslandcountrylife.com.au/story/4102054/firearms-dealers-strike-over-forum-snub/

Category H: Licence Update

We continue our fight to restore the rights of Queensland farmers, who face being treated like criminals just for doing their jobs.

Earlier this year Shooters Union became aware of a change in the treatment of farmers applying for renewals to their Category H (handgun) licences, which are used in primary industry. These are mostly for the humane destruction of feral animals or stock, particularly where carrying a rifle is not practical or safe. We were told at the time there had been no changes in the treatment of these applications but then, in May, the Police Minister let the cat out of the bag: the state government are opposed to farmers using handguns to do their job.

Why does this matter?

Shooters Union supports sensible laws for the licensing, storage and usage of firearms, and an effective ban on handguns for farmers is far from sensible. Most farmers need a firearm to do their job, and many of those need a handgun to address specific physical, environmental or safety factors. If the government wishes to change the rules, they should take it to Parliament for debate, not sneak it in through the back door.

Let’s look at the Minister’s arguments:

CLAIM:
“A rifle is the preferred weapon to be used for the destruction of sick or injured beast.

FACT:
Common sense tells us the calibre of firearm is the most important factor, not its length. Indeed, at close range a low velocity large calibre is far safer, and this is best done with a hand gun. In many cases, it is impractical or unsafe to carry a rifle (e.g. climbing into a stock truck).


CLAIM:
“Since 2000, in excess of 800 handguns have either been lost or stolen in Queensland.

FACT:
Less than 20 handguns are stolen each year, according to the government’s own statistics. Agricultural properties account for less than 10 per cent of all victims. There is no evidence theft from farms is the source of many stolen handguns, if any at all.


CLAIM:
“There are many applications out there which are dubious or have question marks about them.”

FACT:
There is no evidence to suggest there have been applications that have not met the regulatory requirements, and the suggestion otherwise is a slur on hardworking farmers. If farmers need guidance jumping through the many hoops of the licensing system, the government should be helping them, not labeling them as criminals.


CLAIM:
“There are states such as New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania who have quite sophisticated grazing enterprises and there are no such licences in any of those jurisdictions.”

FACT:
False. Farmers in other states do have access to handguns where required. More importantly, Queensland farmers have been operating responsibly, safely and effectively under rules unchanged for the past 20 years. Now, after decades without issue, these rules have been changed without consultation.


It is disappointing that decisions that affect the working conditions of Queensland farmers have been made without consulting farmers or their representatives. It is even more galling these changes are based on ‘concerns’, not facts.

Show the government you support a fair go for farmers. Contact your local member to tell them farmers should not be tied up in red tape, just to do their job.

You can find their contact details on our website here.

We will keep you updated on this important issue.

Does rural Australia have a gun problem?

The recent multiple homicide in a small Victorian township, coming barely a month after a mass shooting in rural New South Wales, may give the impression that firearm-related murders in rural Australia are rampant.

It would be easy to attribute this to higher density of gun ownership in country areas relative to cities, particularly where farming is a dominant industry and firearms are “tools of the trade”. But understanding gun violence is not that simple.

Firearm homicide in Australia is an uncommon event, with around 35 deaths per year on average. That works out to between one and two out of every 10 assault-related deaths. Interestingly, a disproportionate number of firearm homicides tend to occur in New South Wales, where analyses have also shown that shooting offences occur more often in metropolitan than rural areas.

Article written by Samara McPhedran on the 28th of October 2014. Article first appeared at: https://www.farmweekly.com.au/news/agriculture/general/opinion/does-rural-australia-have-a-gun-problem/2716045.aspx

Wild dogs kill 1000 sheep on Traprock property

EDITOR’S NOTE: Feral animals are a significant problem for farmers. If you’re having problems, made worse by the current gun laws, please send us a message to this page, or comment below. We need to highlight these problems to make sure we get more sensible laws.

TRAPROCK wool grower Sandy Smith says wild dogs have killed about $100,000 worth of sheep on his property Allendale at Gore in the past 12 months.

The loss comes despite the destruction of 14 of the canine menaces in past 12 months.

“At $100 a head including the wool that will not be shorn, the loss of 1000 sheep is obviously a very significant cost and one that cannot be sustained,” Mr Smith said.

ONE DOWN: Wal Lee, Avonleigh, Karara, and Sandy Smith, Allendale, Gore, with a sheep killing wild dog shot on Monday.

ONE DOWN: Wal Lee, Avonleigh, Karara, and Sandy Smith, Allendale, Gore, with a sheep killing wild dog shot on Monday.

“We have had a constant campaign of trapping, baiting and shooting but we are still being attacked by dogs.”

Their next step is to construct a 45km exclusion fence that will hopefully provide a high degree of protection to Allendale and four other properties.

“There aren’t a lot of choices in this war against wild dogs,” Mr Smith said, who is also the president of AgForce Sheep and Wool.

“Hopefully an exclusion fence will stop the dogs because nothing else seems to be working despite our best efforts.”

On Monday more than two dozen of Mr Smith’s neighbours gathered at Allendale to participate in a dog drive in an area of heavy timbered country near where a dog had recently been spotted.

Read more at: https://www.queenslandcountrylife.com.au/story/3952920/wild-dogs-kill-1000-sheep-on-single-property/?src=rss&utm_source=Queensland+Country+Life+Newsletters&utm_campaign=7424df93a8-newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_31a8e03a4e-7424df93a8-114496073

Handgun use is still needed by primary producers

PRIMARY producers lobbied hard in the 60’s and again in the 90’s for handguns to be legally used for their work.

With a lot of consultation, the allowance for category H handguns to be used was not put out there on a whim or done lightly, it was done because of the need.

There was a need then and Agforce media spokesman on firearms Graham Park says there is a continuing need now.

But the usage of handguns have has come into question after State Member for Rockhampton and Minister for Police Bill Byrne made comments saying “(the) idea of the lone cowboy, with the pistol strapped to the hip as an effective weapon in an agricultural application simply doesn’t cut it with me” and supported his comments saying he had “genuine conversations with leaders of the agricultural community”.

Mr Byrne’s comments caused quiet quite the stir among in the agricultural community and have angered many producers.

Mr Park said Agforce had two separate issues with the comments made.

“First, the lone cowboys comment. Agforce finds the comments regarding characterising primary producers as lone cowboys as deeply offensive and uncalled for and we do not believe the minister has enough experience in the area of primary production to comment personally on the viability of the use of different fire arms in an agricultural environment,” he said.

“Secondly, Agforce president Grant Moorsely has repeatedly advised that no one within Agforce has had any meaningful consultation with the minister on this issue prior to those comments.

“We’re severely disappointed that despite the minister’s supposed calling of a firearms consultation forum it has not happened.”

There is concern among primary producers on health and safety in the industry going backwards as well as livestock destruction if category H gun laws are changed.

Mr Park said Mr Byrne’s comment, in which he referred to the Sporting Shooters guide, which suggested a rifle was a more humane for deconstruction of an animal, was off the mark.

“Sporting Shooters guide to humane destruction does not say don’t use a hand gun, it simply talks about rifles from the very simply simple point of view that as a sporting shooter as opposed to an occupational shooter like a pest controller or a primary producer you don’t have a licence to do it, do so why would they comment,” Mr Park said.

“There’s no difference in the human destruction in the type of firearm, it’s the calibre of firearm that makes the difference and many rifles and many handguns are the same calibre, like a 22 calibre rifle and a 22 calibre hand gun shoot exactly the same projectile and at close range there’s zero difference in the effect. The effective difference is simply in the length and the manoeuvrability of a tool.

“Let’s say that a cow goes down in the top tier of the truck, in with other cattle, it would be extremely risky both from a workplace health and safety aspect and humane destruction aspect to try and climb up there with an implement that takes two hands, because how do you hang on, and what your you are normally doing in a humane destruction situation is the firearm is very, very close to the animal because that maximises impact, reduces suffering and also reduces the likely hood likelihood of someone missing or ricochet or something like that.”

Mr Park said Agforce did not entirely understand where the gun comments came from.

“We’re not talking about people who haven’t done safety training, that haven’t done background checks.”

“We’re talking about people who have been proven responsible, they’ve trained, they’ve done safety courses, they’ve not done anything wrong and all they’re trying to do is improve that humane destruction of animals.”

Mr Parks said farmers had a duty of care when it came to human deconstruction and to reduce feral animal populations.

“Animals unfortunately do injure themselves or do get sick, farmers have a duty of care ethically and legally to look after that.”

Article written by Zhanae Conway-Dodd and published on Rural Weekly Website at 8th Jun 2016 4:08 PM. Direct link to article: https://www.ruralweekly.com.au/news/handgun-use-still-needed-primary-producers/3041426/