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Tag Archives: National Firearms Review

Cost vs Results – Illegal Firearms

illegal-firearmsA recent response from the Attorney General’s department, in response to a letter sent to Justice Minister Keenan about the NFA review and the outcomes of the Martin Place Siege inquiry by a Shooters Union member, has shed light on some very interesting facts about the ongoing fight against illegal firearms in Australia.

You can read the full letter from Justice Minister Keenan here.

The letter assures the recipient that the Siege inquiry and the NFA review are not about “ … targeting law abiding firearm owners, but rather focuses on simplifying the Agreement and ensuring that it remains current today.”

It goes on the cover the ongoing ban on the importation of lever action shotguns of more than five rounds capacity, and points to “ … consultation with the firearms community (industry and recreational groups), community safety organisations and individuals to produce sensible, practical changes where required.”

But then it gets interesting. The letter goes on to outline the amount of money spent in various initiatives to detect and seize illegal firearms. The letter states:

Since 2013, the Government has:

  • Invested $88 million to increase screening and examination of international mail, air and sea cargo. This funding boost gives our agencies greater tools to detect illicit firearms and firearms parts at our borders;
  • Invested $116 million in the National Anti-Gang Squad, with strike teams now in Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia and South Australia and liaison officers in Tasmania and the Northern Territory. Since the introduction of the squad in 2013, over 892 illegal guns have been taken off Australia’s streets; and
  • Provided an additional $25.4 million to fund the expansion of the AFP’s National Forensics Rapid Lab to enhance the AFP’s capacity to detect and seize illegal firearms and target the criminal syndicates that peddle them.

Details of seizures as a result of improved border controls and the forensics lab upgrade were not provided, but if we consider just the results of the National Anti-Gang Squad, it has cost $130,000 per illegal gun seized.

Shooters Union fully supports the efforts of law enforcement agencies to track down illegal guns and to prosecute those who criminally misuse firearms – those people are a blight on every law abiding firearm owner in the country. However, we do question how effectively a huge amount of taxpayer funds are being spent, if it costs $130k to find and seize each illegal firearm.

Recently Professor of Law at University of Queensland Ross Grantham was quoted in an article https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/number-of-registered-guns-not-the-problem-its-the-guns-we-dont-know-about-20160706-gq035v.html stating that it’s the guns we don’t know about which are the problem, not legally held registered firearms possessed for lawful purposes

In the article, Professor Grantham states:

“There are a lot of guns in the wrong hands but there are also a lot of unregistered firearms out there in backyards and cupboards that nobody knows about.”

Shooters Union questions whether a more cost effective approach to illegal and unregistered guns might be to take legislative steps to significantly reduce the number of firearms in the so-called “grey market” – firearms which were never handed in or registered after the introduction of the NFA in 1996.

A first positive step would be to do away with the existing long arms registries for Cat AB firearms, in the same manner as Canada has recently done, after their experience showed it was a complete and utter waste of money. Most licensed firearms owners have a Cat AB licence already, so possession of previously unregistered AB firearms would not be an issue. The millions of dollars saved from over-policing the already most law abiding members of our community could then be redirected to mental health, hospitals, or even further crime prevention initiatives to make our communities safer and more equitable

The next step would involve making sensible reasoned changes to the legislation and regulations affecting who can possess what sort of firearm for what lawful purpose, and then permitting these other categories of firearms to be registered to licensed persons with appropriate licence endorsements for the newly legislated lawful purposes

Such actions would significantly reduce the number of currently unregistered or “unknown” guns in the community, which would result in:

  • a dramatically reduced likelihood of such “grey” firearms falling into the black market and into the hands of persons who would criminally misuse them
  • a substantial improvement in community safety due to the reduction in “unknown” firearms
  • a significant reduction in the potential for “grey market” firearms to fall into the hands of those who would use them for criminal purposes
  • reducing the hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer funds that governments are currently pouring into initiatives focused on illegal guns

So if, as the Attorney General’s Department letter to our member states, the aim of the Martin Place siege inquiry and the current NFA review are to “ … simplify the (NFA) Agreement … “ then surely simplifying the law enforcement requirements of the Agreement should also be a major part of that aim

Perhaps the Attorney General’s Department would do well to consider Shooters Union’s suggestions.

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

Malcolm Turnbull won’t take David Leyonhjelm’s shotgun demand off negotiating table

Malcolm Turnbull declared a ban on a rapid-fire shotgun “set in stone” as he rejected Labor claims he was considering legalising it to get union-curbing legislation through the Senate.

The Prime Minister was also rejecting a deal from Liberal Democrat crossbencher David Leyonhjelm, who wanted the ban on the Adler 110 lever-action shotgun, which can fire seven shots, lifted.
In return Senator Leyonhjelm would back legislation to revive the Australian Building and Construction Commission, one of the triggers for the double-dissolution election.
Mr Turnbull declined to take the offer off the negotiating table earlier today.

But after goading by Labor that he was retreating from Liberal prime minister John Howard’s tough gun laws, Mr Turnbull entered Parliament to reject the charge.

“Let me be very clear: We stand by John Howard’s national firearms agreement. We’re proud of it,” the Prime Minister said.

He said the Adler gun was category A, which meant it was relatively easy to obtain, compared to weapons in categories B, C and D. There has to be a specific purpose to own a B firearm, and the C and D categories cover guns that are effectively illegal.

There had been a move to have the lever-action gun reclassified by state and Commonwealth justice ministers meeting under the Council of Australian Governments.

“Because agreement has not been reached, we put in place an import ban which expired in August this year. So we have renewed it and we have renewed it indefinitely,” Mr Turnbull told Parliament.

“But what that means of course is that ban is permanent, it is set in stone, unless it is amended. But it is there.”

The states, which regulate firearms, were still considering whether and how the Adler should be classified.

“So what we have done, what my government has done, is ensure that no Adler lever-action guns with more than five rounds can be imported in any category. They can’t be imported at all,” Mr Turnbull said.

“The fact is we stand by the national firearms agreement. We want it stronger.”

However, Senator Leyonhjelm today made clear Malcolm Turnbull’s horror morning might have been about nothing.

The senator, who has a special enjoyment in self-promotion, said he might still vote for the ABCC bill despite the Adler ban not being lifted.

He said he had been let down by the government, who he said had promised the shotgun would be allowed in after a “sunset clause” ended a temporary ban.

“It’s a matter of trust,” Senator Leyonhjelm told reporters.

He said, “I have been dudded on a deal.”

But he would continue to discuss legislation with the government, he said.

Earlier today, Mr Turnbull indicated the lifting of the gun’s prohibition was still on the negotiating table.

“I’m not going to speculate about negotiations with senators, I’m certainly not going to negotiate in advance,” the Prime Minister told reporters in Canberra.

“As you know, we don’t have a majority in the Senate, so we will be talking to all of the senators and seeking to secure their support for this important legislation.

“We believe we will win their support, and any negotiations will be with them.”

The government wants to end the 2016 political year with passage of the two industrial relations bills whose rejection triggered the double dissolution election — the ABCC legislation and the registered organisations legislation which would put trade unions under the same scrutiny as other bodies.

He would not want to anger any crossbencher in the Senate, where he needs nine of their votes to get the bills through.

Adler A110 shotgun that is currently illegal in Australia. Source: NOIA

Adler A110 shotgun that is currently illegal in Australia. Source: NOIA

And that would include upsetting Mr Leyonhjelm right at the start of their talks.

However, Mr Turnbull did salute the removal of rapid-fire weapons by former prime minister John Howard after the Port Arthur massacre and hailed Australia’s “rigorous laws on the regulation of firearms”.

He told ABC radio: “Following the Port Arthur massacre, as you know, John Howard took the lead and introduced the new firearms legislation.

“Thousands of guns were returned and destroyed and what we now have is very strict firearm laws and I think Australians when they watch, you know, the ABC News and see what happens elsewhere in the world are very thankful for John Howard and the Coalition for providing that leadership.”

Tony Abbott, who banned the shotgun as prime minister, tweeted his concerns today.

Gun control campaigners say tough new legislation that came in following the Port Arthur massacre in 1996 hasn’t kept up with more modern guns such as the Adler.

The five-shot version of the weapon — which can pump out five bullets before being reloaded — can be legally purchased in Australia and is categorised as a ‘category A’ gun which has the least restrictions around ownership.

The eight shot version of the lever action shotgun is temporarily banned. But critics say it’s pointless banning one and not the other as the five shot can be easily — and legally — adjusted to fire 11 slugs, more than the version that is banned.

A petition to have all versions of the Adler banned, started by campaigners Gun Control Australia, has garnered 16,000 signatures.

But those calling for the ban to be lifted say the eight shot Adler falls outside the restrictions imposed by the 1998 National Firearms Agreement and any restriction is unwarranted.

Senator Leyonhjelm, who has campaigned loudly on the shotgun’s behalf, has allies in the Coalition, including Nationals senator Bridget McKenzie, a keen sporting shooter.

When the firearm was banned Senator Leyonhjelm accused the government of curtailing liberties by stealth.

“No evidence has been presented that lever action firearms pose any more risk than firearms currently available. This is simply an attack on the rights of law abiding firearms owners and is driven by fanatical gun haters,” he said.

This article was written by Malcolm Farr for news.com.au. A full link to the article can be accessed by clicking here: https://www.news.com.au/national/politics/malcolm-turnbull-wont-take-david-leyonhjelms-shotgun-demand-off-negotiating-table/news-story/112cf1177365d466b9c9f81fd12c79e9

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

 

NFA Review by RL Queensland

I understand the Police Ministers will meet in October to consider proposals relating to the National Firearms Agreement, in particular the categorisation of some firearms, storage requirements and magazine capacity.

These proposals have been developed under a shroud of secrecy to avoid consultation with the shooting community. This is divisive and can only lead to bad policy outcomes.

Good policy outcomes come through proper consultation processes which support a “no surprises” approach. However, state and federal public servants and the police have been developing policy proposals ‘under the radar’ which demonstrates bad faith on their part.

Policy development without consultation leads to significant errors. Earlier this year the Tasmania Police published guidelines (without consultation) which inadvertently advocated a ban on the Olympic target sports: they later withdrew their guidelines. Last year the Victoria Police issued guidelines (without consultation) on the transportation of firearms which misinterpreted the Firearms Act: these required significant correction, to their embarrassment.

Behaviour like this is inexcusable and helps no-one. It certainly does not help make your job, or that of our relevant ministers, easier.

As a constituent directly affected by the National Firearms Agreement, I would like to suggest that the full suite of proposed changes to the NFA be referred to state and commonwealth firearms consultative committees for proper and open consultation with the shooting community.

I believe the Police Ministers should consider implementing a new and permanent model of policy development which takes facts and data into account, and supports the “no surprises” approach.

The “gotcha” approach we have now is a disgrace.

I look forward to hearing from you.

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

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National Firearms Agreement by GB, QLD

I understand the Police Ministers will meet in October to consider proposals relating to the National Firearms Agreement, in particular the categorisation of some firearms, storage requirements and magazine capacity.

These proposals have been developed under a shroud of secrecy to avoid consultation with the shooting community. This is divisive and can only lead to bad policy outcomes.

Good policy outcomes come through proper consultation processes which support a “no surprises” approach. However, state and federal public servants and the police have been developing policy proposals ‘under the radar’ which demonstrates bad faith on their part.

Policy development without consultation leads to significant errors. Earlier this year the Tasmania Police published guidelines (without consultation) which inadvertently advocated a ban on the Olympic target sports: they later withdrew their guidelines. Last year the Victoria Police issued guidelines (without consultation) on the transportation of firearms which misinterpreted the Firearms Act: these required significant correction, to their embarrassment.

Behaviour like this is inexcusable and helps no-one. It certainly does not help make your job, or that of our Police Minister, easier.

As a constituent directly affected by the National Firearms Agreement, I would like to suggest that the full suite of proposed changes to the NFA be referred to state and commonwealth firearms consultative committees for proper and open consultation with the shooting community.

I believe the Police Minister should consider implementing a new and permanent model of policy development which takes facts and data into account, and supports the “no surprises” approach. The “gotcha” approach we have now is a disgrace.

I look forward to hearing from you.