The government hasn’t outlawed sugar simply because it looks like cocaine, and if they were to do such a thing, most of us would agree that it is absolutely absurd. But, for the last sixteen years, guns which so much as LOOK like other guns have been banned, for no other reason than their appearance.

The Firearms Act 1996

The Firearms Act 1996 (Prohibited Firearms) strictly prohibits machine guns, sub-machine guns or any other weapon which is capable of propelling projectiles in rapid succession from just one pull of the trigger, along with self-loading shotguns and rifles. But, the Act goes on to also prohibit any firearm which ‘substantially duplicates in appearance’ any firearms listed as prohibited by the Act.

Representing thousands of firearm owners and enthusiasts across Australia, the Shooters Union is calling for a review of Item 6 of the Act, which prohibits firearms by appearance alone. Shooters Union believes that this does not, in fact, make the regulation of firearms any simpler – it adds a large degree of unnecessary subjectivity.

Unreasonable and Subjective

How much like a prohibited firearm does your gun need to look before it is prohibited? Are children’s toy guns also prohibited under this act? In order to meet the intentions of the agreement set out by the Firearms Act 1996, firearms are categorised according to their type, calibre and purpose of operation – not by their appearance.

Shooters Union is campaigning for a review of Item 6 as it is completely unreasonable to prohibit any item based on its appearance alone, without taking into account the purpose of the item. Banning a firearm on the sole grounds that it is similar in appearance to a prohibited firearm puts those who are complying with the Firearms Act 1996 at a disadvantage. Viewing owning a firearm which simply looks like another, regardless of how it is operated, as an offence, is absurd – especially when no criminal misuse has taken place.

Registered, Licensed Users Are Not a Danger

What is hoped to be achieved by the banning of firearms which resemble those that are prohibited? Will banning firearms that look like prohibited types actually contribute towards reducing violence in society? Have there been any problems with the misuse of firearms which look similar in appearance to those prohibited? These are all questions which the Shooters Union is asking in our quest to have this unreasonable legislation changed.

We believe that there is no danger in allowing an individual who has been thoroughly vetted and passed all of the necessary firearms checks to own and use a registered firearm of whatever category they have been approved to own, regardless of the appearance of the firearm itself. Once an individual has been permitted to hold a licence for a particular category of firearm, they should be expected to be able to use such firearms both safely and legally, regardless of whether the firearm in question looks similar to a prohibited gun.

Click here to read our full submission.


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