Dear Members of Parliament
I am a law abiding licensed firearms owner and user. I jump through Lord knows how many hoops continually to be able to maintain my licences and possession of firearms, which I use for lawful pursuits, including sport target shooting, recreational hunting, and also provision of Course in Firearms Safety QLD30989
I am very concerned at the secrecy surrounding the current review of the NFA. Many shooting organisations have submitted requests under various Freedom of Information / Right to Information laws seeking detail about the current NFA review. ALL (without exception) have been declined/refused. Why is this review so secret? What have the reviewers got to hide? WHY is there no consultation on this review with the people who will be directly impacted by any changes to laws?
Various shooting organisations are now hearing that Qld Police Weapons Licensing has been instructed to compile a list of all registered lever action firearms – what is the purpose of such a move? Are lever action firearms, despite the technology being 150 years old, now going to be classified as the new “demon gun” and banned as a result of some over-exuberant marketing by a firearms importer? If not, why are Police groups compiling lists of such LAWFULLY held firearms?
Firearms laws MUST be made and reviewed based on fact and evidence, NOT on emotion, hysteria, political expediency and political ideology / dogma. It appears, as evidenced by the secrecy surrounding it, that the current review of the NFA is being driven by the latter and not the former.
I call on you to ensure that any review of the NFA (which, I am sure you realise is not a law, merely an agreement between the Commonwealth and the States and Territories to take certain actions) is driven by fact and evidence. For example – if there is no evidence that lever action firearms are a problem, then there is no fact or evidence based reason to impose further limits on their possession and use by licensed law abiding persons.
Likewise the hysterical calls from the Greens to ban all self loading handguns. I use self loading handguns to compete in several different globally accredited target shooting disciplines. If self loading handguns were to be banned because of some hysterical ideology, I would no longer be able to compete in these chosen matches, because to be competitive, such matches require the use of self loading handguns. Just because I choose to compete lawfully in these matches, does not make me a threat to society, and I resent the implication by some that my use of these particular firearms somehow brands me in some eyes as a potential criminal, or killer, or worse.
In summary, there are over one million licensed firearms owners in Australia, who also vote, and that number is continually growing. More and more people are discovering what a wonderful, inclusive and rewarding sporting pastime target shooting and recreational shooting is.
Any changes to the NFA, import laws and state based firearms laws which disadvantage licensed law abiding firearms owners and users, will risk alienating one million plus voters in this country. Whilst Australia has yet to see the advent of a major firearms lobby group like the NFA in the USA, if governments continue to make changes to firearms laws which continue to disadvantage law abiding firearms owners and users, then it will only be a matter of time before we see all the various firearms groups in Australia unite in and NRA-style alliance to make our voices heard, with commensurate political consequences for politicians who choose to ignore our calls for sensible laws.
The firearms groups fully support living in a safe society, and fully support governments who take steps to make our society safe. But the way to do that is to go after the crooks with illegal firearms, and those who illegally import firearms and illegally traffic them – NOT by simply “being seen to be doing something” by piling more and more restrictions on law abiding firearms owners and users.
Instead of further regulating the already-most law abiding section of our community, please do something novel and go after the crooks instead. You might just be pleasantly surprised at the results you achieve, and the groundswell of support of over 1 million voters!
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.
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