Home - Letters to Government - National Firearms Agreement by Ozzie Reviews

National Firearms Agreement by Ozzie Reviews

I am currently licensed to use Category (select: A B) firearms and I am a member of the Sporting Shooters Association of Australia (SSAA) and Shooter Union of Australia. I have been safely using firearms since I was 12 years old and I currently use firearms for sports/target shooting, recreational shooting and culling of feral animals.

I understand that the Federal Attorney Generals Department (AGs) are currently working with representatives from the Firearm Licensing branches from the various State and Territory Police, Customs, Australian Federal Police (AFP) and the Australian Department of Defence (DoD), on further restrictions to be implemented via an overhaul of the National Firearms Agreement 1996 (NFA). The AGs report entitled “The ability of Australian law enforcement authorities to eliminate gun-related violence in the community” goes on to outline what they believe a technical review of the NFA should involve. Specifically:

  • Address State differences in “different lengths of licences and different requirements that need to be met to own and possess Category D firearms”.
  • Address inconsistencies “in areas not covered by the NFA, such as in relation to firearm parts, accessories, magazines and firearm dealers.”
  • “the accountability of deactivation standards and agreed firearm descriptors.”
  • “take into account the changes in technology and the legal firearms market that have occurred since 1996.”
  • “regulation of magazines, firearm parts and accessories”
  • “principles for dealing with interstate transactions, particularly dealers operating in more than one State or Territory”
  • “the classification of new technology with regards to:
    • ballistic performance (noting that this can have as much to do with the ammunition as the firearm)
    • rate of fire (including magazine capacity); and
    • appearance”
  • “more explicit guidance on the NFA’s genuine reasons for owning, possessing or using a firearm (the genuine reasons), and”
  • “technological changes with respect to the issuing of licences and permits to acquire.”
  • “There is no basis to recommend any update of the remaining elements of the NFA to expand the list of genuine reasons or changing the requirements for licensing.”

I have also been advised that the recommended changes will be developed without consultation and in closed session by the Firearm and Weapons Policy Working Group (FWPWG) chaired by the AGs Department.

The reason I am writing to you, is to urge you not to support any of these restrictions on licensed firearm owners and for you to raise and support the following points with the AGs committee currently reviewing the NFA.

The push for further gun control is unfortunately fueled by emotion-based statements and rarely does it examine any facts or statistics, mainly because the facts and statistics do not support restrictions on law-abiding firearm owners. One of the biggest misleading statements in Australia, is that our 1996 gun laws have prevented mass shootings and as a result, our homicide rate with a firearm has declined due to the implementation of these laws.

This statement is not supported by the Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC), who record that homicide with a firearm in 1995 = 59 deaths, 1996 (which includes Port Arthur) = 98, 1997 = 75, 1998 = 54, 1999 = 61, 2000 = 59, 2001 = 49, 2002 = 42, 2003 = 38, 2004 = 33, 2005 = 26, 2006 = 46, 2007 = 34, 2008 = 31, 2009 = 30, 2010 = 39, 2011 = 41 and 2012 = 44. The statistics clearly show that there has been an average downward trend from pre-96 and it continues on the same average downward spiral to the present day with a few spikes. If the downward spiral was due to the implementation of the 96 gun laws, why was the previous year in 1995 only 59 deaths or why was there an increase of 20 deaths from 2005 to 2006?
(https://www.aic.gov.au/dataTools/facts/weaponUseTrend.html)

The AIC further state that firearm use has declined by more than half since 1989-90 as a proportion of homicide methods, and there has been an upward trend in the use of knives and sharp instruments, which in 2006-07 accounted for nearly half of all homicide victims. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) the 1996 gun buy-back cost the Australian tax payer just over 304 million dollars ($304 368 776 to be exact) and according to the statistics, there has been no change to the already downward spiral of gun homicide.
(https://www.aic.gov.au/statistics/homicide/weapon.html)

Another misleading statement is that the buyback cut firearm suicides by 74 per cent, saving 200 lives a year, according to research published in The American Law and Economics Review. Interestingly, the ABS statistics reveal that the total suicide rate Australia-wide, has actually increased in that time which supports the fact that the NFA has done nothing to lower total suicide rates. It further supports that you cannot prevent suicide simply by prohibiting firearms.
(https://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/by%20Subject/3303.0~2013~Main%20Features~Key%20Characteristics~10009)

Further to this, in Australia in 2012, a total of 2535 people committed suicide, 1379 by hanging, 582 by poisoning, 173 by firearms, 166 by other methods, 112 by falls, 79 with sharp objects and 44 by drowning. These statistics prove that despite the 1996 gun laws, suicide rates are on the increase. If all firearms were banned, it would still have no effect on the total number of suicides, as that has been increasing via other methods since the 1996 gun laws were introduced. Suicide is the key element that needs to be addressed, not the methods, as the method is the final stage where a person feels that he or she are beyond help. The focus, in my view, should be on suicide prevention, not attempting to ban only one of the methods of suicide, being firearms. If the Government is genuinely concerned with suicide methods, what initiatives are they taking to keep rope and poisons out of the hands of potential suicidal persons? This statement is just as unrealistic as saying that we need to ban firearms in order to prevent suicide rates.
(https://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/by%20Subject/3303.0~2012~Main%20Features~Method%20of%20Suicide~10011)

Another common statement used to justify further restrictions on licensed firearm owners, is that firearms in the hands of licensed shooters are a threat to themselves and others. This is also not supported by the ABS, who state that in Australia in 2012, there were 4 accidental deaths with firearms, the lowest of any other method. The ABS further provides statistics that in the same year, there were 1997 accidental deaths by falls, which means that you were 500 times more likely to die accidentally by falling, than by using a firearm in 2012. Could you please provide justification to further restrict and ban firearms from the law-abiding when firearm accidents are the lowest recorded of all methods?
(https://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/by%20Subject/3303.0~2012~Main%20Features~Method%20of%20Suicide~10011)

Regardless of what laws and restrictions are implemented, it is impossible to completely eliminate gun-violence in the community. This fact was actually supported by ex-Prime Minister John Howard in 1996 who said “Now I don’t pretend for a moment ladies and gentlemen that the decision that we have taken is going to guarantee that in the future there won’t be other mass murders. I don’t pretend that for a moment”. Therefore the fear that members of the legal firearm community have is what we have seen previously, and that is, continual restrictions year-to-year in the name of eliminating gun-violence. As the statistics prove, even with the heaviest restrictions on licensed firearm owners, it is impossible to achieve this. The restrictions of the NFA target licensed firearm owners only and they have no impact on criminals.
(https://pmtranscripts.dpmc.gov.au/browse.php?did=10030)

In New Zealand, firearms licenses are granted for a period of 10 years, long arms are not required to be registered, semi-automatic firearms are freely available for both sports and recreational use and there is no Permit to Acquire (PTA) system or waiting periods for licence holders. Yet a 2011 study that compared long-term firearm homicide trends in “three countries with similar social histories but different legislative regimes: Australia, Canada, and New Zealand,” concluded that “the most pronounced decline in firearm homicide over the past two decades occurred in New Zealand. New Zealand has a lower murder rate with firearms than Australia, which proves that the only requirement to ensure public safety is a licensing system for firearm owners, not continual and greater restrictions year-to-year that we are subjected to here in Australia.
(https://www.loc.gov/law/help/firearms-control/newzealand.php)

I would like an explanation as to why there is even any significant discussion being held and ultimately funding being focused towards the banning and restriction of firearms from law-abiding licensed firearm owners? There is no evidence to support that licensed firearm owners are responsible for any gun-related violence in the community. I am personally offended that the AGs proposals to ‘eliminate gun-related violence in the community’ include and even mention licensed firearm owners, where the entire focus should be directed to those responsible – the unlicensed criminal.

These statistics are evidence that the NFA has failed the Australian community in general. If the NFA was a success, we wouldn’t have experienced the Monash University shooting in 2002 nor would we have had the Lindt Café siege in 2014, where the offender Man Monis, was unlicensed and was using an unregistered pump-action shotgun that was banned in 1996 from sports and recreational use. We have approximately 800 000 licensed law-abiding firearm owners in Australia and the statistics do not support or warrant any further restrictions on us. I firmly believe that licensed shooters should be actually rewarded for their years of law-abiding behavior, not continually be punished with unjustifiable restrictions. I would like to request that the following changes are implemented to the NFA:

  1. Re-classification of Category-C and Category-D firearms for the genuine reason of sports, target and recreational use. As already proven in New Zealand, licensed shooters have access to semi-automatic rimfire and centrefire rifles as well as semi-automatic shotguns for sports, target and recreational use. New Zealand statistics prove that we in Australia have a higher murder rate with firearms despite the heavy unnecessary restrictions outlined in the NFA. Additionally our current firearm laws are an embarrassment to anyone with firearm knowledge and they reinforce that they have nothing to do with public safety. Currently our system allows:

2. Removal of firearm registration. In July 2014, New Zealand Police Minister Anne Tolley stated “there is no evidence to show that registering individual firearms will give greater protection to the community”. (https://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/judge-pushes-tough-new-gun-control-laws-6038152)

Registration of firearms has never been proven anywhere in the world to reduce the criminal use of firearms. The Australian statistics that I have already provided also support this view, as you can clearly see that it has made no impact on the criminal usage of firearms. Interestingly in Canada, the Government scrapped the firearm registry in 2011 due to the registry costing more than 1 billion dollars to establish in 1995 and the ongoing annual costs estimated to be about 22 million dollars. The Canadian Government says that it is wasteful and ineffective at reducing crime and targets law-abiding gun owners instead of criminals, who don’t register their firearms. (https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/10-things-to-know-about-scrapping-the-long-gun-registry-1.1019758)

Upon acquiring a new firearm, the relevant State Firearms Registry is required to provide an updated firearms list of all firearms registered to that licence. I have personally seen delays of up to 1 year for a firearm to be registered to a person’s firearm licence. Firearm owners are told that registration is for public safety, yet in this same scenario, if Police were required to attend a licence holder’s address, they would have no idea that the person was in possession of the firearm due to the delays in registering them against a person’s licence. Please justify or provide me with any evidence that proves firearm registration does anything for public safety?

3. Removal of PTAs. Currently in order to acquire a firearm, a licence holder must pay a fee to the State Police Firearms Registry and be issued with a PTA. This process is completely unnecessary and does nothing for public safety. If a person has already gone through the required police background checks to be granted a firearms licence, why is there a need to get permission to then purchase a firearm, when you are already licensed for that category of firearm? It serves no purpose and is simply a revenue raising procedure that has nothing to do with public safety. This was proven in the recent firearm amnesty in Queensland in 2013, where an unregistered firearm could be immediately registered to your licence via a licensed dealer recording the details on a Form 10. The only requirement was that the licence holder must be licensed for the category of firearm that was being acquired. This process was successful and proved that the PTA system is not required to maintain public safety.

In Queensland now, there is also a like-for-like system, which allows a licensed person to swap a registered firearm at a licensed dealer, for an identical type of firearm without the need for a PTA. This implementation is further proof that the PTA system is not required to ensure public safety. If a person is licensed for a category of firearm, it makes no sense that they would then need to obtain permission to acquire a firearm that they are already licensed to possess. It would be the same as requiring a driver who holds a car licence, to seek permission before they can acquire and use a car. What would the purpose of the licence be if this were required? It simply undermines the purpose of having a licence in the first place.

  • Under Category-A, a licensee can have a 19-round lever action rimfire rifle for sports, target and recreational use, yet a licensee is prohibited from having a 2-round semi-automatic rimfire rifle for the same purpose as it is classified as Category-C.
  • Under Category-A, a licensee for sports, target and recreational use, can have a double or triple barrel shotgun that can fire 2-3 shots as quickly as you can pull the trigger, yet a licensee is prohibited from having a 2-round semi-automatic shotgun for the same purpose as it is classified as Category-C.
  • Under Category-A, a licensee for sports, target and recreational use, can have a 7-round lever action shotgun that can fire 7 shots at the same rate as a pump-action shotgun, yet a licensee is prohibited from having a 2-round pump-action shotgun for the same purpose as it is also classed as Category-C.
  • Under Category-B, a licensee can have a 6-round revolving carbine centrefire rifle for sports, target or recreational use. The rifle can fire 6 shots at the same rate as a semi-automatic centrefire rifle, yet a licensee is prohibited from having even a 2-round semi-automatic centrefire rifle for the same purpose as it is classified as Category-D.
  • Under Category-H, a licensee can have a 10-round semi-automatic rimfire handgun for sports and target shooting yet the identical handgun with a longer barrel or extended stock is prohibited for the same purpose as it is classified as Category-C.
  • Under Category-B, a licensee can have a 10-round pump-action centrefire rifle for sports, target and recreational use, yet they can’t have a 2-round pump-action shotgun (Category-C) or a 2-round semi-automatic centrefire rifle (Category-D) for the same purpose.This proves that licensed law-abiding firearm owners can safely use and own firearms that are comparable to those banned or restricted back in 1996. It does not support that these firearms should also be banned or restricted, as there have been no incidents to justify any such action being forced upon us. It does clearly provide evidence to support licensed firearm owners having greater access to semi-automatic firearms in general.I am asking for your support on the following re-classification of the firearm categories to be:Category A
    – Bolt Action, Lever Action and Pump Action rimfire rifles
    – Semi-Automatic rimfire rifles up to 10 rounds
    – Break action, Bolt Action, Lever Action and Pump Action shotguns
    – Semi-Automatic shotguns up to 5 roundsCategory B
    – Bolt Action, Lever Action and Pump Action centrefire rifles
    – Semi-Automatic centrefire rifles up to 10 rounds

    Category C
    – Semi-Automatic rimfire rifles over 10 rounds
    – Semi-Automatic shotguns over 5 rounds

    Category D
    – Semi-Automatic centrefire rifles over 10 rounds

    Category H
    – Firearms under 75cm that aren’t full automatic

    Currently, the NFA allows Feral Pest Controllers and Primary Producers to use semi-automatic firearms in the control of feral pests. Feral Pest Controllers and Primary Producers are licensed civilians just the same as a licensed civilian who has firearms for sports, target or recreational use. The only difference being is that semi-automatic firearms are prohibited from recreational use. This has had a major environmental impact in Australia. Currently, when a licensed shooter is hunting feral pests with a recreational endorsed licence, they are severely limited on the amount of pest numbers that can be taken in a single encounter. The result is that numerous feral pests escape, only to breed up the following season. In reality, this is an ongoing cost to the Australian economy of approximately 740 million dollars annually according to the University of New England.
    (https://www.pestsmart.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/IACRC_EconomicImpactsReport.pdf)

    The SSAA has attempted to lower the feral pest population with initiatives such as the Farmer Assist program, where a recreational licensed shooter will shoot pests on a farmer’s land for free. The effectiveness of the recreational shooter is once again severely limited due to the prohibition of semi-automatic firearms for that purpose. As proven in New Zealand, semi-automatic firearms in the hands of licensed shooters pose no threat to public safety. If made available on a recreational firearms licence in Australia, we would see greater amounts of feral pest species being controlled and as a result, greater financial benefits to the Australian agricultural economy. We would also see greater numbers of native animals thrive with lower feral pest numbers competing for their food and habitat.

4. Access to firearm suppressors for the genuine reason of sports, target and recreational use. A firearm suppressor, moderator or silencer, is simply a device that acts much the same as a muffler for a motor vehicle. It doesn’t silence a firearm’s shot noise as portrayed in Hollywood movies, it simply reduces the level of the shot noise to make it less alarming to nearby persons. In England the use of firearm suppressors are seen as almost mandatory to be neighborly to persons nearby. In fact, the British Home Office state that “Sound moderators are often used for shooting game, deer, or vermin. In the case of the latter, they might facilitate more effective pest control. They are appropriate for reducing hearing damage to the shooter, or to reduce noise nuisance, for example, for deer control in urban parks, or close to residential properties, or to reduce recoil of the rifle”.
(https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/417199/Guidance_on_Firearms_Licensing_Law_v13.pdf)

In New Zealand a person does not even require a licence to possess a firearm suppressor, yet they have a lower homicide rate with firearms than Australia as I have already provided statistics for.

New South Wales permits Occupational Shooters such as Feral Pest Controllers to use firearm suppressors to adhere to Workplace Health & Safety requirements in relation to the use of protective equipment. An Occupational Shooter is nothing more than a civilian who is licensed, yet the NFA doesn’t permit non-occupational shooters to use firearm suppressors. There are no statistics to support any reason why firearm suppressors cannot be made available to a licensed firearm owner in Australia. As with any other protective equipment, it should be made widely available, as it could be protecting the hearing of approximately 800 000 licensed shooters Australia-wide.

Access to suppressors also limits the potential complaints from members of the public in relation to noise pollution on accredited rifle ranges. In 2010, the SSAA Brisbane had received a number of complaints from local residents in relation to this issue. Local residents further submitted a petition to reduce range operating hours and requested that noise levels escaping from the range, be no greater than 85 decibels to prevent hearing damage. In situations like these, the access to suppressors provide a workable solution to satisfy the needs of licensed shooters and adhere to concerns of local residents. (https://www.gopetition.com/petitions/reduce-noise-pollution-from-belmont-rifle-range.html)

On July 1 this year, three licensed shooters were arrested on private property near Logan in Queensland, when a nearby resident phoned police after hearing gun fire. This was a complete over-reaction as the people involved were legally shooting on private property with registered firearms. They were not charged with any offences. In situations where licensed shooters wish to shoot on smaller rural properties, the use of a firearm suppressor could greatly lower the potential of unnecessary complaints due to noise pollution.
(https://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/brisbane-police-arrest-three-allegedly-armed-teenagers-trespassing/story-fnihsrf2-1227423727017)

5. Category H to include the genuine reason of recreational shooting. Handguns are widely used by Feral Pest Controllers, Veterinarians and Primary Producers. They have a purpose in situations where animals have been trapped, or are injured or sick and need to be euthanized. Currently the standard Category H licence restricts a licensee to using handguns on an accredited range only. There is absolutely no difference to public safety by expanding the use to include recreational shooting as the licensee is already licensed for the handgun, has possession of the handgun and has proven to be a fit and proper person to continue using the handgun. There have been no recorded statistics of Feral Pest Controllers, Veterinarians and Primary Producers causing any mass shootings or other concerns by being licensed to use a handgun other than at an accredited range.

6. Category H nation-wide for the genuine reason of Primary Production and Feral Pest Control. In some States such as New South Wales, handguns are not available for this purpose. A Primary Producer uses a handgun to euthanize sick or injured stock and as protective equipment in and around cattle yards. It provides for ready access to a firearm whilst going about daily chores on the farm without the cumbersome physical restrictions of a rifle or shotgun. Feral Pest Controllers use handguns to humanely dispatch trapped feral pests, to control feral pests in areas where using a rifle or shotgun is not suited and as a backup to their primary firearm. Both Primary Producers and Feral Pest Controllers who are licensed to use handguns cause no threat to public safety. Category H should therefore be made available to occupational licensees nation-wide.

7. 10 year licence for all firearm licence types and categories. In Queensland licensees are granted a 10-year licence for Category A/B firearms. There has been no increased risk to public safety since this implementation and it has streamlined the burden of the renewal process with Weapons Licensing Branch. There is no reason why all firearms licenses, regardless of category, cannot be issued for 10 years. New Zealand has 10-year firearm licences, yet they still have a lower homicide rate with firearms than we do in Australia.

8. Storage requirements to be the same across various licences. Currently under the NFA, if a licensee has a Category C firearm on a firearms licence for feral pest control or primary production, they are required to have the firearm securely stored in a compliant safe. If the licensee was to transfer that same Category C firearm to a collectors licence, they would then be required to temporarily deactivate the firearm by fitting a trigger lock or removing the bolt and then it can be securely stored in the same safe. How can it possibly be justified, in the name of public safety, that storage requirements for the identical same Category C firearm on a collectors licence, are greater than if a licensee was to have the same firearm on a standard firearms licence? This also applies to Category A B and H firearms on a collectors licence. Secure storage for any firearm should be standard across the various types of licences, there is no need for firearms to be temporarily de-activated when they are securely stored in a compliant safe.

9.  Removal of the Category D definition of substantially duplicates a Category D firearm is a Category D firearm. Currently the NFA definition of a Category D firearm includes a firearm that substantially duplicates a Category D firearm in function or appearance. This is an outright ban on firearms simply because of their cosmetic appearance alone and it has nothing to do with public safety. A recent example of this in practice, was when NIOA were prohibited from selling a Category B bolt-action rifle in Western Australia that was fitted with a pistol grip stock. The same rifle without the pistol grip stock was permitted, however the one with the pistol grip stock was classed as Category D, despite the fact that it was not semi-automatic, still required to be manually operated as a bolt action and did not change or modify the firing capability or action of the firearm in any way shape or form. It was simply banned on its cosmetic appearance alone. It is impossible to prove that banning or restricting firearms on their cosmetic appearance does anything to support public safety and it therefore needs to be completely removed from the definition of a Category D firearm and from any future proposals.

10. Removal of body armour being classified as a weapon or prohibited item. A ballistic helmet is not currently classed as a weapon in Queensland however a ballistic vest is. A ballistic vest cannot be used as a weapon any more successfully than any other inanimate object. A ballistic vest offers a degree of protection against some small arms calibres and is protective equipment, not a weapon. Ballistic vests and body armour do not require any type of licence in New Zealand and they have no statistics to support that there is any risk to public safety, by civilians having access to them here in Australia. They should be freely available here in Australia as they are designed to save lives not be used as a weapon.

11.  Removal of temporarily and permanently inoperable firearm requirements for collectors. Currently a licensee who collects firearms is required to store Category A B C H firearms temporarily inoperable and Category D/R firearms as permanently inoperable. How is it justified in the name of public safety to require A B C H firearms to be stored temporarily de-activated on a collectors licence whereas on a standard firearms licence they are not? As with any collector, whether it be a collector of motor vehicles or any other functioning item, requiring them to be permanently inoperable, immediately removes all the investment value of the item. This is why Category D/R firearms should not be required to be permanently inoperable. In New Zealand, licensed collectors can possess fully operating automatic firearms, yet we still see a lower homicide rate per capita than in Australia. Nor do we see licensed collectors in New Zealand being responsible for mass-shootings, armed robberies or any other gun-related violence in the community.

12. Airsoft firearms to be freely available. Currently Airsoft firearms are used widely in Japan, Europe and the US. They are much the same as paintball and offer participants a safe and fun way to compete in recreational matches. The firearms are prohibited in general in Australia mainly because they have the cosmetic appearance of military firearms and replica definitions. You cannot kill a person with an Airsoft firearm and as such they are classified as a toy in most countries. There is no risk to public safety by permitting Airsoft firearms in Australia.

13. Removal of the requirement for mandatory range attendances for Category H for sports/target shooting. Currently the NFA requires pistol sports shooters to participate in at least 6 competitions per year to retain a pistol licence. If a licensee attends a pistol range twice a year or several times a year, it makes absolutely no difference to public safety. If they are licensed, why should a pistol shooter who is proven to be law-abiding, be required to engage in any minimum number of pistol competitions? How does this enhance public safety? What difference does mandatory competition requirements have on the criminal use of pistols? A licensee should be free to enjoy their legally chosen sport without being discriminated against if they cannot meet Government dictated benchmarks.

14. Stop the suggested re-classification of Category A/B pump and lever-action firearms to Category C. The AGs Department is suggesting the re-classification of Category A/B pump and lever-action firearms to Category C based on so called ‘new technology’ since the implementation of the NFA. This claim of ‘new technology’ is completely false and once again there is no evidence to support the re-classification. Both lever-action shotguns and rifles were available in 1996 at the time of the NFA and were originally designed in the 1800s. This technology is one of the oldest firearm technologies available. (https://www.nramuseum.org/guns/the-galleries/the-american-west-1850-to-1900/case-20-colt-winchester/winchester-model-1866-lever-action-rifle.aspx)

Similarly the most popular pump action rifle in Australia, the Remington 7600, was first made in 1981 and has been safely used by licensed law-abiding shooters since the implementation of the NFA in 1996. There is no evidence or statistics to support restricting or removing these firearms from the hands of licensed shooters in Australia (https://world.guns.ru/civil/usa/remington-7600-e.html)

15. Stop the ban of firearms on ballistic performance based on rate of fire and calibre. Currently across Australia we have seen the various State and Territory Firearm Registries attempt to go above and beyond the legislation to prohibit firearms based on ballistic performance. Calibres such as 338 Lapua Magnum, 416 Barrett and 50 BMG are being restricted via prohibiting their use on accredited ranges and denying applications by licensed shooters to use them recreationally on private land. These firearms pose no greater threat in the hands of licensed shooters than any other firearm. Similarly, banning firearms based on rate of fire, magazine capacity and types of ammunition available does absolutely nothing for public safety. This fact was well supported in the recent Senate Inquiry into banning handguns which stated that “It is reasonable to conclude that the banning of certain categories of firearms only affects those who possess and use them lawfully. Those who use them unlawfully are already outside the law”.
(https://www.aph.gov.au/~/media/Committees/Senate/committee/legcon_ctte/Illicit_firearms/Report.pdf?la=en)

Australian shooters were re-assured in 1996 by John Howard that the idea of the NFA was not to disarm the Australian Community. His words were “I have also heard suggestions, for example, that the whole idea of this is to bring about the complete disarming of the Australian population. I’ve heard people make suggestions that this is the first step in some kind of march along a road to the deprivation of peoples’ individual liberties. I want to say to you ladies and gentlemen that that is a totally unreasonable, it is a totally inaccurate and it is a totally discredited response to the decision that has been taken by the Government”. (https://pmtranscripts.dpmc.gov.au/browse.php?did=10030)

Since 1996, I have witnessed directly the opposite to this re-assurance, with greater and greater restrictions being applied to non-semi-automatic firearms and without any incident occurring to justify the restrictions. Licensed law-abiding shooters since 1996 have been subjected to calibre restrictions, magazine restrictions, bans on cosmetic appearances of firearms and tighter regulation on applying for licenses and PTAs, and now, we are being subjected to even more restrictions that target any non-semi-automatic firearm that falls in line with the new catch phrase of “rapid fire weapon”. This new ‘catch phrase’ that Gun Control Australia (GCA) and the AGs Department are using, is designed to set the building blocks for future disarmament by bureaucrats who have no experience or qualifications in firearm use. The dictionary meaning of ‘disarm’ is quite clear “to take weapons from someone or something” and that is exactly what Australian shooters are being subjected to with these proposals, which are in direct contradiction to the purpose of the NFA. (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/disarm)

The demonisation of licensed firearm owners appears to be the popular norm and focus of future firearm law reform nowadays. We are treated as if we are the problem, as if we should just accept more restrictions whenever a criminal uses a firearm and comply with blatantly obvious anti-gun firearm laws that have absolutely no effect on criminals in our society. I am submitting that the changes I have outlined in this letter be implemented into the current NFA overhaul. I would further like to request that as part of living in a Democratic society, any proposed changes to the NFA be open to a public consultation process, the same as the recent changes to the Federal Firearm import laws were. I highly object to the recommended changes being developed without consultation and in closed session and request a public consultation. I am asking for your support which will reflect my voting decision at the next State and Federal elections. I am looking forward to your reply and would like to be kept up-to-date with the progress of the NFA changes.

Thank you

If you would like to send a letter to your local Member of Parliament or Senator, please click here. Please note: this feature is for Shooters Union Members only. If you would like to become a member, please click here.

  • Shooters Union Australia is a not for profit organisation which represents thousands of firearms owners and users across Australia. We are actively involved in the political scene, lobbying against the unfair, unreasonable and unconstitutional vilification of firearms owners at every level of government. Our aim is to work towards a co-operative system of effective gun control, and together we are affecting positive change on firearm legislation in Australia. Help us to change the social dialogue around firearms, firearms ownership and the shooters themselves.

    Join us to help make a difference, stop discrimination and create a system of fair policies that support and protect. Click here to learn more about the advantages of Shooters Union membership.

    Please freely share our message on social media:

  • Leave a Reply