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Letter to Mark Ryan on silencer petition response

The Hon. Mark Ryan MP
Queensland Police Minister
Via e-mail to police@ministerial.qld.gov.au

April 20, 2020

Dear Mr Ryan,
We note your April 16, 2020 dated response to Petition 3282-20, in which you reject the plea of the petitioners to reclassify firearm sound suppressors (“silencers”) from Category R to Category A under the Weapons Categories Regulation 1997.

We are concerned you have not given the matter genuine consideration and have not addressed the issue raised in the petition. Your response mentions the Port Arthur tragedy, yet suppressors were not used in that incident and we remain baffled as to why you would even bring it up in this context.

There is no such thing as “a permanently inoperable silencer”. If a suppressor/silencer is rendered inoperable, it is no longer a device capable of suppressing the sound of a gunshot and is, per the legislation, therefore not a Category R weapon.

Your response states “Queensland remains committed to the spirit of the National Firearms Agreement. Therefore, in the interests of safety, I can advise that there is no intention to remove silencers from Category R weapons at this time.”

Mr Ryan, suppressors are safety equipment. There is a mountain of evidence on the subject – evidence we would be only too happy to direct you towards, had you or one of your staff asked.

Suppressors do not totally silence gunshots. They bring the noise down from 130dB to around 90-100dB, which is still very loud, but will not cause immediate hearing damage to the firer, startle pest animals some distance away, or keep the residents of neighbouring farms awake at night.

The gunshot is still clearly audible, but it is not deafening.

We also note suppressors or silencers are not covered in the National Firearms Agreement (which is not legislation anyway) and that a number of states – including New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria – make suppressors available to licensed firearms users for occupational purposes such as pest control or agricultural reasons.

There is absolutely no valid reason – none whatsoever – that the same could not be true of Queensland. Call of Duty video games and secret agent movies are not a sound basis for making legislative decisions, and frankly we are all tired of having something that happened nearly 25 years ago constantly being used as a mantra-like parroted justification to refuse matters like those raised in the petition.

We appreciate the Labor party apparently does not like guns, especially in the hands of hunters and sporting shooters, but please do not insult our intelligence by dismissing sensible firearm issues being raised by constituents – who can back their requests with facts and evidence – with trite responses that sound like one of your staffers did a quick Google search at 4pm on a Friday and didn’t understand or agree with what they saw.

Dismissive and irrelevant responses like that provided to this petition undermine Queenslanders’ already shaky confidence in parliamentary petitions, which have an extremely short track record of achieving legislative change this century as it is.

To say we are disappointed in your response to this matter is an understatement. There is an election in October and Queensland’s 200,000 licensed firearms users expect better from their elected representatives.

Yours sincerely,

Graham Park
President, Shooters Union Australia
E: president@shootersunion.com.au | Ph: 0418 700 320

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