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Tag Archives: firearm legislation

Victorian Government apologises after thousands of gun owners’ personal details released in email error

The Victorian Government has apologised to almost 9,000 gun owners after a “deeply concerning” data breach resulted in thousands of gun owners’ personal details mistakenly being emailed out.

Customer service staff at the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning last month intended to email gun licence renewal forms, but uploaded the wrong attachment and accidentally sent the names, addresses and gun licence details of 8,709 people.

The error occurred on eight separate occasions, with the attached files including between 800 to 1,900 names.

“It really was a simple case of human error,” the department’s communications executive director Catherine Payne said.

“The [staff] concerned are horrified … and have been counselled.”

A spokesperson for the Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford apologised and issued a statement saying the breach is deeply concerning and unacceptable.

“It’s something the Government is taking very seriously,” the spokesperson said.

The Shooters and Fishers Party said the mistake proves why gun registries should be dumped.

“A nice handy list of all the people who are keeping firearms in their homes would be great in the hands of a criminal,” Shooters and Fishers MP Daniel Young said.

The party supports licensing for gun users, but says governments should not keep a list of all gun owners with registered firearms.

“This information can be leaked very easily, and it’s quite serious,” Mr Young said.

Department ‘can’t be sure’ information not misused

The department has contacted the eight people the emails were sent to and said each has either deleted it, or never received it at all due to a large file size.

“We can’t be sure [it hasn’t been misused],” Ms Payne said.

“That’s the reason we’ve taken the approach of communicating directly with customers.”

Dr Vanessa Teague, from the University of Melbourne, said the incident demonstrates how easy it is for these types of breaches to happen.

“There was no hacking, there was no subtle cryptographic error. This was just somebody emailing something they shouldn’t have,” she said.

“Once you’ve emailed it out of that secure place where it was supposed to be, you completely lose control of where that data has gone.”

On advice from the state’s Privacy Commissioner, the department is posting letters to each of the 8,709 people involved. The department has also contacted Victoria Police.

The department said its treatment of private data was unacceptable, and has suspended using emails to handle gun licence renewal information.

“From time to time, things happen that you wish didn’t,” Ms Payne said.

“The big takeaway is to never lose sight of the importance of training for customer service staff about the handling of customer data and privacy requirements.”

This article was originally posted on the 18/1/17 at 5.12pm on the ABC News website. To read the original article please click here: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-01-18/gun-owners-personal-details-released-in-email-error-in-breach/8191594?pfmredir=sm

Australian Gun Laws: A Complete Lie? Video by Ozzie Reviews

Are the Australian Gun Laws a complete lie? You decide in this video where I present all the facts to you using the following data:

https://www.aic.gov.au/dataTools/facts…
https://www.aic.gov.au/statistics/homi…
https://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.n…
https://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.n…
https://pmtranscripts.pmc.gov.au/relea…
https://www.loc.gov/law/help/firearms-…
https://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.n…
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of…

DISCLAIMER

All website data is referenced as required by the Australian Copyright Act 1968. This video is not monetized or used for profit in any way.

Video created by Ozzie Reviews. Click here to read comments. https://youtu.be/T4F9sOJ1mxA

The SA Firearms Branch: a registry basket-case

If you want to know how bad a firearms registry can be, look at South Australia.

In his most recent Annual Report to SA Parliament, Acting Police Ombudsman, Michael Grant, devoted more than two pages to a deplorable culture within the SA Firearms Branch which seems to be tolerated all the way up the chain, to the Chief Commissioner.

His report reveals incompetence, arrogance and contempt for licenced shooters who have done nothing wrong.

His report relates to the same registry which tried to put a stop to the .338 Lapau, lobbied its minister for a blanket ban on all lever actions – rifles and shotguns, and decided to change the rules on whether shooters should get second PTAs (click here to read the story by Sporting Shooter Magazine).

It is a must read.

It also backs our growing view that we need to have a serious look at the qualifications and experience of those responsible for firearms policy and the management of our registries.

Mr Grant is to be commended for bringing this to light. Click here to download his report (firearms start on page 18)

Over-zealous enforcement of the Firearms Act.

I have received a number of complaints concerning the operations of the Firearms Branch of the SA Police in my tenure as the Acting Police Ombudsman relating to the way in which the Firearms Branch enforces the Act and deals with the public who hold firearms licences and who own firearms.

The oft-cited mantra is that firearms ownership is a privilege, not a right. However, the same mantra might apply equally to the driving of a motor vehicle on a public road. I make the observation that the ownership of firearms is a “right” by virtue of the Firearms Act if one is the holder of a valid firearms licence. That right may be removed by administrative action, but such administrative action should not be in any way capricious and should be validly and lawfully exercised.

The complaints I have received in the main have related to the delays which occur in dealing with the Firearms Branch, and the perceived lack of any sense of dealing with matters in a timely fashion. The complaints included what appeared to be an ingrained habit of the Branch in either ignoring correspondence completely, or purporting to answer only after several letters have been sent on the same topic and several months have passed. At one stage I was informed by the Firearms Branch, following a complaint, of a reorganisation which would supposedly lead to better customer service. This does not appear to me to have occurred.

It is also apparent to me that the culture at the Firearms Branch is one of “zero tolerance” when it comes to any infringement of the Firearms Act, however minor or inconsequential. It seems to me, that in cases of inadvertent minor offending by a member of the public with no history of previous offending, the use of a “caution” would be a better option than a prosecution for a criminal offence.

Case 1

The complainant, the holder of a firearms licence and the owner of firearms was visited by police from the Firearms Branch, ostensibly for the purpose of a “random” audit.

However, the real reason for the visit was the belief on the part of a supervisor within the Firearms Branch that the complainant had made some kind of threat against the RSPCA.

That belief was without any foundation in fact. The officers attending made a vague reference to someone thinking that the complainant could pose a threat, and said that they would seize the complainant’s firearms for “safe keeping.” They also issued a “caution” to the complainant, on the basis that 3 of the firearms seized were not properly secured.

When the police who issued the caution reported what they had done to their supervisor at the Firearms Branch they were ordered to return and inform the complainant that he would be reported for a breach of the Firearms Act in that his firearms were not properly secured. As a part of that process of reporting the complainant for a criminal offence, they took a “swab” from him to obtain a sample of his DNA.

It was discovered later that the complainant’s method of storing his firearms (in a stone cellar secured by a solid wooden door with handguns locked in a steel safe) had been deemed sufficient some years earlier by members of the Firearms Branch. The charges laid against the complainant were ultimately discontinued and his firearms returned, but not until a year later.

As regards the DNA “swab” taken from the complainant, a disturbing sequence of events followed. About a month after the initial swab was taken, the supervisor at the Firearms Branch learned that the warning required by law to be delivered to the complainant prior to the taking of the swab had not been delivered by the reporting officers. It was feared by the supervisor that this would make the taking (and continued retention) of the swab possibly unlawful. He decided that another swab should be obtained. Firearms Branch staff were then directed to obtain another sample. Those staff then went to the complainant’s home and ordered him to attend at a police station so that another sample could be taken.

Not surprisingly, the complainant declined to attend as he questioned the legality of the police conduct to that time. The police responded by applying for a warrant which would permit them to take the complainant to a police station and obtain a DNA sample. By accident, the police applying for the warrant applied for the wrong type of warrant. A warrant of apprehension to appear before a court was issued instead. The complainant was arrested on that warrant and placed in police cells. When he protested, he was finally released after six hours in custody.

This did not deter the Firearms Branch. Some eight months after his arrest on the wrongfully issued warrant, the complainant was directed to attend at the Elizabeth police station for the purpose of the taking of a further DNA sample. Two weeks after that preparations were in hand to obtain another warrant, this time the correct one, which would have seen the complainant again arrested and taken to a police station for the forcible taking of a DNA sample which had already been taken upon his arrest one year earlier. Before the warrant was applied for police prosecutors discontinued the charges against the complainant, on the basis that there was no reasonable prospect of proving the offence charged. The plan to obtain a further DNA sample was then abandoned.

Commentary

It is not unfair in my view to describe what happened to the complainant in this case as a debacle. The situation regarding the DNA sample is an example of a lack of common sense and a lack of judgment, even ignoring the application to a court for the wrong type of warrant and the subsequent detention in the police cells of the complainant. The DNA sample was in no way connected with proof of the commission of any offence. It was required only for storage within the police database.

The seizure of the firearms from the complainant was based on the flimsiest of evidence which in fact was proved to be without any foundation. The instigation of a criminal prosecution of the complainant for not securing his firearms was a poor decision and was directed by someone who was not present when the firearms were located, and who “second guessed” the decision of the officers at the scene to issue a “caution”. The Firearms Branch on two prior audits of the complainant had raised no objection to the
firearms being stored in precisely the same way. If the view of those within the Firearms Branch had changed since that time, then common sense and fairness demanded that the complainant be “cautioned” and given the opportunity to comply with a different regime.

I wish to make clear that I make no criticism if the police seize firearms first and then ask questions later, even if they are acting upon information which is sketchy at best. In such circumstances the issue of public safety is paramount. However, if all it takes for someone to have their firearms removed is a complaint which may or may not have any basis in fact, then it behoves the police to assess the credibility of the complaint without undue delay. On the facts of this case, the suspicion that the complainant had made threats against someone was without foundation, and could easily have been found to be
so in a short period of time.

Case 2

The complainant complained that he had been reported for a breach of the Firearms Act in that he had possession without an appropriate licence, of a “prescribed” firearm, namely a firearm which had been “cut down” and reduced in length.

The circumstances were that a person known to the complainant’s parents had
attempted to commit suicide. His parents, following that attempt, became aware of the firearm and asked the complainant, whom they knew had a firearms licence, whether he would take possession of the firearm for safety’s sake. The complainant collected the firearm and locked it in his safe. He then contacted the Firearms Branch on the telephone and was told to take the firearm to his local police station. He then attempted unsuccessfully to contact his local police station at Two Wells. He then contacted the police at Elizabeth. Eventually a sergeant from Golden Grove attended at his home and purported to “seize” the firearm from him. A month later a member of the Firearms Branch came to his home and “reported” the complainant for being in possession of a prescribed firearm without a licence -a major indictable serious offence punishable by up to 10 years in prison. As part of the process of “reporting” the complainant a “swab” of his DNA was taken from him.

The complainant complained on the basis that he believed he had been victimised for attempting to help the police in circumstances where he thought he was doing the right thing by securing the firearm after its owner suffered a “mental health” incident.

Commentary

I conducted my own inquiry into the complaint, and for that purpose spoke with the officer concerned and with a senior officer at the Firearms Branch. I was satisfied that the officer dealing with the complainant behaved in a courteous fashion and indeed recommended that no action be taken against the complainant when he submitted his report. However, the complainant was treated as a person who had committed a very serious criminal offence, including the taking from him of a sample of his DNA. In my view ordinary common sense should have applied and it did not. I asked a senior officer within the Firearms Branch whether a hypothetical firearms dealer, to whom the firearm had been surrendered, and who had no licence to deal in prescribed firearms, would have been reported for an offence in similar circumstances. The answer was that the dealer would not have been reported, even though, technically speaking he had committed an offence. It was conceded that there was no difference in principle between the hypothetical dealer and the complainant.

I found no fault with an individual officer. I recommended that Firearms Branch practices and procedures be updated to make it clear that a member of the public, regardless of whether he or she held a firearms licence, should not be treated as an offender when, acting in good faith, he or she informs police of their possession of a firearm they wish to surrender. I recommended that a similar update be made to the SA Police General Orders.

Article written by Neil Jenkins. Article first appeared on the Combined Firearms Council of Victoria Website. https://www.firearmscouncil.org.au/index.php/2016/11/13/the-sa-firearms-branch-a-registry-basket-case/?mc_cid=245742aca4&mc_eid=3742b47039

Your Sport is STILL Under Siege

Outcomes from the Police Ministers meeting to review the NFA (National Firearms Agreement).

With much thanks for the material sourced from CFCV (Combined Firearms Council Victoria)

Australian Police Ministers from all states failed to reach agreement on two out of three federal government proposals at their recent meeting.

Proposal #1: The most talked about was whether to reclassify our lever-actions.  Thankfully the various state Police Ministers could not agree. While this was a good outcome in the short term, it is a real problem for us all in the longer term.

That’s because the Liberal led federal government has now had two goes at reclassifying them, and without any consensus, will no doubt have a third try.  This buys us some time, but not much.

troy-grant

NSW Police Minister Troy Grant: the man we have to thank for the NFA outcome. NSW Police Minister, National’s Troy Grant, is the reason the ban on our lever-actions didn’t go ahead.  He stood up to the federal government and to other Police Ministers to stop our 5+ shot lever-actions going to category D.  Had he not done that, we would be talking with you about another buyback – but we’re not — yet.

Yes, we want our lever-actions to stay cat A: we’ve got maybe six months to regroup and rethink what we do – but if we let our lever-actions go, then you can bet the next cab off the rank will be rifles with 10 shot mags, lever centre-fires and pump centre-fires.

Sadly for Queenslanders, our Labor Government Police Minister Bill Byrne is reported to have pushed very strongly and loudly for reclassification of lever actions.

Tell your mates about this if they don’t already know.  Forward this email to them or print it out and shove it under their noses.  The next six or so months will be vital in our longer term political fight. The silent majority of law abiding gun owning voters need to speak up. We make that plea to clubs and shooting organisations too.

Proposal #2: A Federal Government demand that all states adhere absolutely and completely to any and ALL present and future NFA demands in their state legislation!

Thankfully this power grab from the Federal Liberal led government was also defeated, with a very watered down agreement to “work towards” implementing NFA rules by the states being agreed to. This proposal is very concerning as it shows just how determined the federal government is to take more and more control over firearm management away from the states, where it correctly belongs under the Australian Constitution.

Proposal #3: A nationwide amnesty for people to hand in unregistered firearms without fear of prosecution. This was agreed to by all states and will largely be modeled on similar past amnesties in Qld. Whilst the publicity and advertising will be done by the federal government, the actual amnesties will all be run by the states at state level.

This is scheduled to occur mid 2017, so you can expect to hear lots of stories about getting guns “off the streets” and other glib fear-provoking phrases.

However, the reality is that only non criminals turn in guns at these amnesties. Because most of the guns are then simply registered and continue to be used by the same people who hand them in, another amnesty won’t make any difference to public safety.

Disappointing: All states continued to ignore Shooters Union calls for “Steal a Gun, Go to Jail” legislation, something which may actually reduce firearms theft. One could begin to suspect some political parties are more interested in cheap headlines than in doing something that could protect firearm owners and the public.

For more information on affairs endangering our national sport and how to fight back, go to https://shootersunionqld.com.au/.

Explainer: what is the Adler shotgun? And should restrictions on it be lifted?

The controversy whether Australia should allow the importation of the Adler A110 lever-action shotgun has certainly delivered some over-the-top political theatre. If you believe hyperventilating sectors of the media, the Adler is a newly invented death machine. If you believe some politicians’ rhetoric, allowing the Adler into the country dramatically waters down Australia’s 1996 gun laws.

This sounds ominous. But is any of it true?

The Adler has been incorrectly described as “new” or “advanced” technology. In fact, lever-action shotguns have been around for well over a century.

The Adler looks modern on the outside, but on the inside there is nothing new.

The most contentious feature of the gun, and the reason for the parliamentary angst, is its magazine – the part of a gun that holds extra ammunition. Again, this is nothing new. Various models of lever-action shotgun with magazine capacities of five or more rounds have been on the market in Australia for decades.

Claims the Adler A110 somehow weakens Australian gun laws are pure fiction. Lever-action shotguns have always been permitted in Australia. For the past 20 years, they have been available to “Category A” firearm licence-holders.

Some say this is the “easiest” category for obtaining firearms, making it sound as if someone can instantly get a licence and go out and buy a gun. The truth is more complex.

What is a Category A licence? And who can get one?

A Category A firearm licence authorises a person to possess “rimfire” rifles (the .22, or “rabbit gun”) that are not semi-automatic, and shotguns that are not semi-automatic or pump-action.

To obtain a licence, a person must be over 18 years of age, complete approved safety training, and prove they have a “genuine reason” for owning firearms. “Genuine reasons” include purposes like target shooting, hunting, or primary production. Self-defence is expressly prohibited.

A person must be “fit and proper” – or, in other words, meet certain standards of character and behaviour. The standards rule out anyone with a history of, for example, violence (including domestic or family violence), illicit drug use, misuse of weapons, or other criminal activities.

It is mandatory for police to conduct backgrounds checks into licence applicants to ensure they are fit and proper.

It is an offence to provide false or misleading information, and penalties apply. A 28-day waiting period applies before a licence will be issued.

If a person is approved to hold a Category A licence, and wants to purchase a firearm, they must apply to police for an individual “Permit to Acquire” for each gun they want to own (and pay a fee). All sales must occur through a licensed firearms dealer, and all firearms must be registered with state authorities. Guns must be locked in a safe when not in use.

Politics dominates debates around guns

The hyperbole about the Adler simply does not match the facts. This is symptomatic of the generally poor quality of debate around firearm policy in Australia.

This, in turn, is rooted in Australia’s ongoing obsession with the concept of “gun control”.

The current furore is a holdover from beliefs that were fashionable in the 1980s. Back then, it was assumed that more guns mean more crime, and that certain types of guns are “more dangerous” than others. Although both assumptions have since been dispelled by Australian and international evidence, advocating for gun control has become more about signalling moral virtue than about a search for good policy.

For politicians, “being seen to be good” often trumps evidence-based decision-making.

Australia’s fixation with gun control has come at the expense of gun violence control. The two are not synonymous. Depending on the specific legislative measures and types of violence, they can certainly be related – but they are not identical.

Gun control is easy – all it involves is passing laws.

Gun violence control is difficult. It goes far beyond law and order, encompassing complex elements of human society and behaviour: poverty, disadvantage, unemployment, connections with illicit drugs and other forms of criminal activity, social fragmentation, cultural factors, and a host of broader social and justice policy challenges.

Tackling gun violence takes evidence-based, cohesive, and collaborative efforts that adopt a whole-of-community perspective. It needs long-term thinking and commitment.

Canada, the UK, and even the US have all implemented effective gun violence reduction programs. Australia has a lot of catching up to do. But it seems our politicians would rather keep shouting at each other about old guns than talk seriously about new approaches to improving public safety.

Article written by Dr Samara McPhedran, Senior Research Fellow, Violence Research and Prevention Program, Griffith University. Disclosure: Samara McPhedran does not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article. Dr McPhedran has been appointed to a number of firearms advisory panels and committees, most recently as a member of the Queensland Ministerial Advisory Panel on Firearms, and as a previous member of the Commonwealth Firearms Advisory Council. She does not receive any financial remuneration for these activities. She holds memberships with, and volunteers for, a range of not-for-profit firearm-related organisations and women’s advocacy groups. She is not a member of any political party. This article first appeared 19/10/16 at 2.07pm AEDT https://theconversation.com/explainer-what-is-the-adler-shotgun-and-should-restrictions-on-it-be-lifted-67299

Labour takes aim at PM over gun laws

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten interrupted the usual business of parliament on Tuesday to move a motion noting the House of Representatives would never put Australians at risk by watering down gun laws.

“That the prime minister is so wounded, so weak that he will do any deal to try and harm and destroy the representatives of working people,” he told MPs.

Liberal Democrats senator David Leyonhjelm says the government reneged on a deal to end the ban on importing the Adler lever-action shotgun.

Mr Shorten said Mr Turnbull had five opportunities during media interviews on Tuesday morning to rule out a deal.

“His refusal to do so shows at best he is contemplating doing it,” he told parliament.

“At worst, he’s already agreed to do it.”

Gun laws should be made with the unanimous view of the parliament, Mr Shorten said.

“Gun control should not be a political play thing.”

Mr Turnbull said the government had ensured no Adler lever action guns with more than five rounds could be imported.

“We stand by the national firearms agreement – we are supporting that with an import ban,” he told parliament.

“The action of the opposition in trying to use this as a distraction is a disgrace.”

The ban would remain in place until there was a satisfactory reclassification of the guns by COAG, the prime minister said.

“The national firearms agreement is our achievement, John Howard’s achievement, not Labor’s achievement.”

AAPArticle from the AAP Desk. 18/10/16 at 1:46. Article first appeared on Yahoo News. https://au.news.yahoo.com/a/32933837/labor-takes-aim-at-pm-over-gun-laws/#page1

 

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

Disgraceful, Deceitful, Disgusting and Wholly Un-Australian

Those are the nicest words we can say about the behaviour of the Federal Government and their shadowy, secretive “Working Group” of bureaucrats and police advisors during the lead up to the review of the NFA (National Firearms Agreement).

Shooters Union has tried to take a responsible position and wait until we had all the details available before alerting our members and calling you to action.

However, it has become very clear that there is a SERIOUS game of disinformation and deception being played against legitimate firearm users right across our country.

This game of deceit and disinformation that may well result in the worst attack against you since 1996.

Before the recent election, the federal Liberal/National Coalition Government went out of its way to try and reassure firearm owners that there was “nothing to worry about” in the NFA review.

However, since the election, (and despite the fact that more regionally based and firearms-friendly politicians were elected in both upper and lower houses of Parliament) the Turnbull government has gone silent, refusing to answer any questions clearly.

At the same time it is clear that many of the federal bureaucrats and state police agencies forming the working groups are totally committed to bringing about radical change to the current (already highly regulated) situation for law abiding firearm owners, and that means YOU.

We have seen several RTI (Right To Information) requests both at federal and various state government levels simply asking what has been recommended to be changed in the NFA review.

Every single Right To Information Application around the country has been denied on the basis that “it is not in the public Interest” to release this information.

WHY all the secrecy, why is it “not in the public interest” to inform the very public who will be affected? We can only guess, but it does not look promising at all.

We urge you in the strongest possible terms to immediately contact your federal and your state members of Parliament as well as the federal Justice Minister, Prime Minister and ALL State Police Ministers.

Use the application “contact your politician” on this website to send them emails, write them letters, make appointments to go and see your local member of parliament personally.

DO IT NOW! IF YOU DON’T ACT YOU WILL ALMOST CERTAINLY LOSE MORE FIREARMS AND FREEDOMS.

Your freedom to own and use the very limited range of firearms we have left in Australia could well depend on your actions.

Make no mistake, politicians are very concerned about your reaction (especially after the recent federal election Senate results) and will pay attention regardless of anything they say.

EVERY MESSAGE COUNTS.

Tell them very politely you have well and truly had enough of being treated as a political football and that you will personally vote against and donate time and money to defeat ANY party that proposes further restrictions on legitimate firearm owners. If the politicians aim to take your guns, let them know you aim to take their jobs!

ACT NOW. YOUR GOVERNMENT HAS YOU IN ITS SIGHTS.

Contact your Local Politician, Police Minister or Senator NOW!

Consider Donating to our Cause to further our efforts

(links with paypal)

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.

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.