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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/.

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)

Secrecy Surrounds NFA Review

This is what we know.

  1. Recommendations from all state police agencies will be tabled at a meeting of the Law, Crime and Community Safety Council (LCCSC), likely to be held in October this year.
  1. These recommendations have been shrouded in secrecy and neither industry nor recreational organisations have been consulted. Traditionally this means bad news for Law Abiding Firearm Owners.
  1. Classification of lever action firearms, magazine capacities and storage are likely to be included in their recommendations. 
  1. There is every possibility that changes to the NFA could lead to compulsory confiscation of some firearms.
  1. This is the biggest threat to licensed law abiding firearm owners since the 1996-gun confiscation.

It is critical that we make our concerns known loudly and decisively.

It cannot be overstated what may happen here. It is vitally important to voice your concern to your Local, State and Federal parliamentary members, or better still, meet your local members face to face.  

All firearm owners should write to their State Police Ministers and request a copy of their NFA review recommendations. You can do this through the Shooters Union “Send your Views” portal. 

Remember to be polite and respectful, the purpose of these letters is to ask for genuine consultation, not to attack people or score points.

UPDATE #1 – Exposed! Secret Police Review of Weapons Act!

A Lot Has Happened in the Last Two Weeks!

The graphic above outlines what the AG’s department said about the Adler, despite what they were told by the ACC and the AFP.

Why did they say that?

And yet they still want to ban the 7 shot Adler at the COAG meeting next month (and probably a lot more we don’t yet know about!)

Write to your local Queensland and Federal Senators and ask them why!

UPDATE #1 – Exposed! Secret Police Review of Weapons Act!

Despite our best efforts, and the efforts of others including the KAP MP’s, the Queensland Government has steadfastly refused to reinstate the Firearms Advisory Committee, or to consult with firearms groups who will be directly affected by this secret review of the Weapons Act and Regulations.

Some of the activity Shooters Union has been involved in behind the scenes:

  • We have been meeting with politicians from the Qld Opposition, and the cross benches, seeking assistance to shine a light on this secret review
  • Graham Park has participated in several regional media interviews about the review
  • Queensland Country Life will be doing an article about the current WLB issues affecting farmers, and using some of our input
  • With Rob Pyne resigning from the Labor Party, the balance of power in the Queensland Parliament has well and truly shifted!
  • We have met with the Qld Opposition to promote our “Steal a gun, go to jail” initiative targeting firearms thieves
  • We have written to the Police Minister and the head of Weapons Licensing Branch asking for information about the Weapons Act review, and have been met with stony silence
  • We have been invited to participate in an SBS Insight show later in March – we’ll let you know when it’s going to air

So – there is an enormous amount of activity going on to present a voice of reason in this review

But we still need your help.

Please – email your local Qld MP, and your Local federal MP’s and Senators, and tell them (politely) that you insist on being consulted prior to any changes being made ot the Qld Weapons Act and Regulations, and also the National Firearms Agreement

You can use our easy-to-navigate Politicians contact page on our website here.

Please write to them now – time is short. The COAG meeting happens early next month!

“Secret” Police Review of ALL Queensland firearm regulations under way for the past year!

URGENT ACTION NEEDED!

As many of you know, over the past year the Queensland government has refused to have any engagement whatsoever with the firearms community, despite significant ongoing efforts by our representatives to build a relationship and engage in open communication.

In the past 48 hours a Shooters Union researcher reviewing parliamentary records has found a clear admission of what we believed (but could not prove until now) was happening.

Documents tabled in parliament by the then-Police Minister in October last year, reveal that Queensland Police have in fact been undertaking a “review” of the Weapons Act and Regulations, with an amendment Act/Regs already well underway by the time that document was tabled.

You can get the full details here – see points 16 to 19:

It now seems most likely that the real reason for the government refusing to engage with us has been so that they could undertake a secret review, without any input or advice from the people who are most affected by those laws and who, as we have seen over the past couple of days, are clearly much more familiar with those laws than the government is.

This is deeply alarming.

If you think this review will be minor and not affect you think again, the last time in 2014 that Queensland Police made even minor recommendations (and this time it is NOT minor) they would have:

  • Allowed an authorised Police officer (no reference to the courts needed) to declare you “not a fit and proper person” simply based on who you know. Example: if a friend or colleague suffered from depression, you could suddenly find yourself declared “not fit and proper” and have your firearms seized. Just like that, no magistrate, no court, just 1 police officer’s say so. (QPS Proposal # 8)
  • Allowed an authorised police officer to have the police commissioner to reclassify virtually any type of firearm, then contact you and force you to surrender that type of firearm without compensation! (QPS Proposal # 26)

This time around the “review” has been deliberately kept very secret and will be far more wide reaching and will drastically affect almost ALL firearm owners, including primary producers and those recreational shooters who assist rural producers by destroying feral animals.

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?

1/ Contact your local MP and inform them of the situation, request that they seek assurance from the the Premier guaranteeing the following within 7 days:

  • That a firearms stakeholder consultative committee will be formed in QLD immediately (inc groups such as Agforce, SSAA, SUQ and others).
  • That all recommendations by Qld Police relating to any review of the regulations will be shared with that committee for discussion and input before being presented at a federal level or to Qld parliament committees.
  • That the Qld Police minister and police representatives do not agree or sign up to ANY new changes to NFA (national Firearms Agreement) before consulting with and taking input from consultative committee.

PLUS:

  • Contact the Qld Premier directly with your concerns (since it appears the Police Minister is unlikely to respond favourably)
  • Forward this email to every firearm owner you know and encourage them to do the same.
  • Use the postcard we developed (link to PDF) – we are also happy to post members a number of cards for club or shop use + every gun shop in Qld has these postcards as well, encourage them to get them out on the counter.

This is truly one of the most anti-democratic moves we have yet seen ever taken against voters in Qld and we truly need you to act NOW and get onto your local MP (and write to the Premier as well) today.

SUQ will be sending out more information over the coming days on what is happening as fast as we can get it to you.

Remember your local member is actually not even aware this is happening, so they will likely be surprised as well.

YOU need to inform them that this is WRONG, WRONG, WRONG!

And remember – be polite and stick to the facts!

Reclassification of your Guns is Looming!

We understand that state and territory Police Ministers are being canvassed right now for their support to reclassify certain firearms from Category A to Cat B and Cat D. If your firearm is reclassified to Cat D you will be forced to surrender it and there will be no compensation.

We believe this final request for support from the Ministers is as a result of the volume of mail etc various MPs’ offices have been receiving about this assault on your rights as law abiding firearms owners and users. They are getting nervous – we are having an effect.

We have until this Friday to make our views heard by our state Members of Parliament and the Premier of Queensland. Please – contact your local state Member of Parliament and voice your concern and your disapproval. Do it by email or better still do it by phone. Tell them you do not support any reclassification of firearms, and you will vote against any government / MP who does support reclassification.

However you do it, please do it now. Even if you’ve done it already, do it again. And copy the Premier.

You can see a list with contact details of all Queensland State MP’s here:

https://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/documents/members/mailinglists/memlist.pdf

So contact your local member of Queensland parliament, and copy the Premier thepremier@premiers.qld.gov.au for good measure.

We have until Friday 30th October

And remember, stick to the facts, and keep it polite!

Are your guns at risk of being reclassified?

We have just been advised that Federal Justice Minister, Michael Keenan, has advised the National Firearms Weapons and Policy Working Group (NFWPWG) to recommend to state and territory Police Ministers that all lever action shotguns with a magazine capacity greater than 5 rounds, be re-classified to Cat D.

There has been much talk about the Adler shotgun being “new technology” and as such very dangerous, requiring a classification which severely restricts its availability to Australian licenced shooters, be they sporting or occupational. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. Have a look at this video to see exactly how “new” lever action technology is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VfiqJWqF6M

There will be NO COMPENSATION paid to individuals who already lawfully own lever action shotguns with magazine capacities of greater than 5 rounds if the re-classification goes ahead.

You can go here  to see a statement released by Nioa on behalf of licenced firearms dealers.

Whilst it would be fair to say that there will be relatively few licenced shooters in Australia who will be affected by this change to shotguns only, the significant danger in this move is that this process of re-classification, now that it has been done once, will become the model process for re-classifying more firearms in the future, again with no compensation.

This is clearly the thin end of the wedge!

There have already been reports circulating of consideration to restricting all magazines, pistol or rifle, to a maximum of 5 rounds, and also consideration of re-classifying all pump action firearms, for example the very popular Remington 7600 and 7615, to Cat D as well.

If this happens, these firearms will become illegal to possess under a shooter’s existing Cat B licence, and will either be seized by Police, or be forcibly surrendered to a licenced dealer, with no compensation. However they will be next to worthless in the marketplace because there will be an instant flood of these firearms onto the second hand market, with no-one able to obtain a Cat D licence to buy them.

So what can we do?

Queensland does not have to automatically accept the NFWPWG’s recommendation. So we must all write to our local state member of parliament, and voice our opposition to any such re-classifications. But we have to act fast. The state and territory Police Ministers are meeting on 5th November to consider the NFWPWG’s recommendations – that’s just thirteen days away so we have 13 days to get to our state Members of Parliament in sufficient numbers to convince them that accepting these recommendations will be politically very painful at the ballot box for them.

You can see a list with contact details of all Queensland State MP’s here:

https://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/documents/members/mailinglists/memlist.pdf

So write to your local member of Queensland parliament, and copy the Premier thepremier@premiers.qld.gov.a for good measure.

And remember, stick to the facts, and keep it polite!

Fighting the good fight for fair gun laws

The Shooters Union Committee
www.ShootersUnion.com.au

An open letter to the legal firearm owners of Queensland

Dear Legal Firearm Owners of Queensland,

After months of unanswered letters etc from the QLD firearms community, QLD Police Minister Jo-Ann Miller met today with Robbie Katter MP (KAP Member for Mt Isa) and Shane Knuth MP (KAP Member for Dalrymple), who were kind enough to invite representatives from the firearms community along to that meeting. I especially acknowledge Mr Katter for the work he put into arranging the meeting.

As some of you may be aware, since Labor came to power, the Ministerial Firearms Advisory Panel has not met or received any advice (until recently) about how the new Minister wanted to engage.

As you also know, the National Firearms Agreement is being reviewed, and Minister Miller will on November 5 be meeting other Police Ministers to decide on which recommendations to agree to.

However, despite the fact that Minister Miller will be making sweeping decisions that will affect lawful firearms owners, she has not made a single effort to engage with those people to find out what the implications of those secretive bureaucratic proposals will be. She has even gone out into the media and said via a statement from her office that she sees no reason to reconvene the Panel, because the NFA review is almost over, anyway.

Not a good look.

However, today gave us an opportunity to hear from her, and to see if perhaps she’d just been misrepresented. It can happen, and it’s only fair to give people the benefit of the doubt.

Short answer – no.

I have never, in all the years I have been working with different state, territory, and federal Ministers, been so appalled. In my honest opinion, Minister Miller comes across as the most hostile and openly biased Minister I have ever met.

I found her to be defensive, condescending, and someone who refused to give a straight answer to even the most simple questions. She repeatedly had to take instruction from Queensland Police Service (their presence was a complete surprise to us, however the Minister also stated that she thinks the advice QPS give her fully incorporates the views of firearms owners), and hid behind weasel words, evasion, and aggression.

The only straight answer she gave was when, in response to a question about why she did not wish to reconvene an advisory panel, she said – AND I QUOTE – “I’m not doing that, because that was an LNP idea”.

So. There you have it. She is going to go and make decisions about your future, without talking to the firearms community, because undertaking proper and open consultation with us through a formal mechanism wasn’t her idea.

She also said that she cannot commit to consulting with us before signing up to anything, because she “has not yet seen the proposals being put forward”. We pointed out that she does not need to have seen the proposals to be able to agree to talk them over with us…and her response was that they might be about terrorism, which is confidential (we pointed out that the recommendations from the Martin Place review concerning legal firearms ownership were about simplifying the system, but she rejected that as a valid consideration).

We highlighted that talking to us may not have any bearing on her final decision (she is the Minister and the decisions are ultimately hers), but is an important part of her decision making process. She reverted back to her script that she can’t make any commitment to talk to us, because she hasn’t yet seen anything.

She then went on to say that she would be the one to decide on what items she ‘might’ seek our views on – we questioned how she could make a decision about what would affect us, when she had not had any prior engagement with us to understand what those key issues are an identify them. She became very antagonistic and the meeting ended shortly after.

Never, ever have I met a Minister who was so totally unwilling to consult with people who will be affected by decisions she makes, or who so blatantly rejects the concept that receiving advice from sources other than her own department might in fact assist her to make more fully informed decisions.

Just shameful.

QLDers, we’re in for a ride.


 

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