We want to see a major change in the current attitude towards the management of firearms issues in Australia, we want to see a system where legitimate use of firearms is permitted while maintaining the standards of public health, safety and security, along the theme of, REGULATE THE PERSON NOT THE OBJECT.
The purpose for any legislation should be the enhancement of the standards of public health, safety and security, while maintaining a functional practical working relationship with key stakeholders. Many current Firearms Acts fail dismally in this regard.
Many of the current provisions do not adhere to the above principals, they are politically and emotionally motivated for appeasement and political posturing purposes only, many lack practical purpose, and serve to create an unreasonably onerous and complicated document.
This current issues are a combination of years of impromptu amendments as a result of reactions to events and the personal or political positions of those involved from time to time, it is not based on realistic outcomes, factual statistical or historical evidence, even some of the legislation titles across Australia are out dated and not reflective of the true character of those who they are aimed at, being licensed shooters.
Many current statutes are complex and difficult for people to understand, the best way to get compliance with any legislation, is to make it easy to comprehend, it is a bureaucratic minefield that is time consuming and costly to administer, which is counter to the recommendations of the Martin Place Siege Report, where recommendation number 6 stated that, “the Commonwealth, States and Territories should simplify the regulation of the legal firearms market through an update of the technical elements of the NFA”
Current statutes primarily regulate the activities of, licensed shooters, while such activities require regulation, statistics and history clearly shows that licensed shooters are not responsible for gun crime, there needs to be greater emphasis placed on punitive measures for those who break the law, while not unreasonably impacting on those who obey the law, the current statutes are more focused on the law abiding than criminals, again this is counter the recommendations of the Martin Place Siege Report, where recommendation number 9 stated that, “the Commonwealth, States and Territories should give further considerations to measures to deal with illegal firearms”.
Regulation of licensed shooters should be the focus of any firearms act, any punitive provisions for criminal activities, and any regulation of objects other than firearms, are better placed in criminal codes, leaving a firearms act solely for the purpose of, practically facilitating the legal use and possession of firearms, the role between facilitation of a legal activity and that of criminal activities is blurred, tarring both law abiding and criminal with the same brush.
NATIONAL FIREARMS AGREEMENT
Many aspects of the NFA have been proven by statistical and historical data, to be pointless with respect to the reduction of firearm related homicide, according to information from the Australian Institute of Criminology, firearm related homicide has been declining at a steady rate since the late eighties. QUOTE “There has been a pronounced change in the type of weapons used in homicide since monitoring began. 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.” UNQUOTE.
The rate of decline of firearm related homicides prior to the 1996 NFA, has continued at the same rate since, this despite the fact the number of legally owned firearms has significantly increased since 1996. These FACTS show licensed firearm owners and licensed firearms, are not responsible for firearm related crime, these facts negate the need for many of the regulatory increases as a result of the NFA.
The Australian Country Party maintain a position that the only aspects of the NFA that benefit shooters and the wider community are, the current licensing requirements with respect to checking and vetting processes, prior to a shooters license being issued and the current storage requirements, these ensure only persons who have been checked and deemed to be fit and proper persons to possess a firearm, are issued a shooters license and licensed firearms are properly secured.
We support retaining genuine reason provisions of the current laws, we are NOT supportive of any requirement to show genuine need, once a person has been deemed appropriate to hold a shooters license, after providing a genuine reason, requiring them to show need is excessive, unreasonable and has no practical value for the purpose of enhancing public safety.
We support primary production as genuine reason for obtaining approval for possession of a handgun, there are many benefits and reasons that justify the need for a handgun in the daily operations of many primary production enterprises, there are many incidents pertaining to animal welfare, feral pest control and personal safety, where a long arm is neither suitable or practical.
We support personal protection as a genuine reason to obtain a firearms license, including for a handgun, providing a person is deemed a fit and proper person to possess a firearm for one legal purpose, they should be similarly deemed appropriate for all legal uses. It is currently legal for a person to use force, and any object, including a firearm, as deemed appropriate in the circumstance, in defense of oneself or others, currently a licensed shooter who possess a firearm can legally use that object IF APPROPRIATE, to protect self, others or property. Protection of oneself is enshrined in law and is our number one human right; there is no law that currently prevents a licensed shooter using a firearm for protection if APPROPRIATE.
We support the legalising of sound moderators on firearms, benefits to the health of shooters and others relating to hearing damage, outweigh any threat to public safety, given statistics show, firearm related crime committed by licensed shooters is negligible.
We do NOT support the name/title of some of the current statutes and laws, legislation should be titled the Firearms Act. This follows the practice in some states and avoids the derogatory connotation of the title of some current legislation. Firearms regulation should not be seen as exclusively or even primarily a matter of the criminal law, any new statute should promote the safe use and proper management of firearms, and authorise the dealing in and possession of firearms by responsible and qualified persons.
We do NOT support restrictions on legal uses of firearms including handguns, if a person is deemed fit and proper to possess, store, transport and use a firearm for one legal purpose, they should be similarly deemed appropriate for all legal uses. If a licensed shooter is approved to use a firearm, including a handgun, for hunting or primary producer purposes, there is no practical reason why they should not be permitted to use this firearm for target shooting, and vice versa.
We do NOT support registration of long arms, given the extremely low rate of offending by licensed shooters, and the extremely low rate of theft of firearms from licensed shooters, compared to the high rate of the numbers of unregistered illegal firearms accessed by criminals who do not register these firearms. Taking these factors into consideration with respect to the high cost of maintaining a firearms registry, the costs outweigh any benefits.
We do NOT support classification of firearms by either type or appearance, once a person has been deemed to be fit and proper to possess one type of firearm, having access to a different type, has no bearing on the attitude towards or likelihood of that person committing a crime with a firearm. The appearance of a firearm has no practical bearing on it’s ability or likelihood to be a threat public safety, therefore should not factor into any statutory, policy or decision making process.
We do NOT support the retention of the 28 day waiting period, once a person has been deemed to be fit and proper to possess a firearm, and after being issued with a shooters license, it should not matter when they obtain a firearm, the 28 day period has no practical bearing on the attitude towards or likelihood of that person committing a crime with a firearm.
FIREARMS POLICY POINTS
- Support the removal and replacement of the NFA with a system that is much less complicated, one that is fair, practical, and maintains the standards of public safety, along the theme of, REGULATE THE PERSON NOT THE OBJECT.
- Support significant amendment to the QLD Weapons Act 1990, including changing the name/title to the, “Queensland Firearms Act”, in order to better reflect it’s purpose, remove onerous and costly provisions, that do not practically serve to enhance public health and safety, and to practically facilitate the legal use and possession of firearms, including the removal of grey areas that are open to individual interpretation and amending all sections so as they are more easy to understand. The above should also relate to legislation amendment in other States and Territories also.
- Support a requirement to base any firearms related statute only on statistical and historical evidence based reasoning.
- Retain the current licensing provisions with respect to checking and vetting processes.
- Retain the current provisions with respect to storage requirements.
- Retain the need to provide a genuine reason, remove any reference and or requirement to show need.
- Support primary production and the control of vertebrate pests as genuine reason for obtaining approval for obtaining a shooters license and the legal possession of firearm, including a handgun.
- Support personal protection as a genuine reason to obtain a shooters license and the legal possession of a firearm, including a handgun.
- Support the removal of restrictions on legal uses of firearms including handguns, once a person is approved to use a firearm by being issued with a shooters license, they should be similarly deemed appropriate for all legal uses.
- Support the removal of the requirement to register long arms, given the extremely low rate of offending by licensed shooters.
- Support the removal of the 28-day waiting period prior to purchasing ANY firearm.
- Support the legalising of sound moderators on firearms.
- Support the removal of classification of firearms by either type or appearance, on the premise that once a person is approved to use a firearm by being issued with a shooters license, they should be deemed appropriate to use/possess any type of firearm legally available in Australia.
- Support the retention of the legality of firearms currently available in Australia.
- Support a program of education over enforcement for minor firearm related breaches of a non-violent nature.
- Support increasing penalties for serious firearm related crimes where robbery, violence or harm is caused.
- Support initiatives to improve the prevention of the illegal import of firearms.
- Support the administration of any Firearms Act through the Police Weapons Licensing Branch to adhere to Public Sector Ethics Acts in regards to ethical Decision Making, engaging with the firearms community, ensuring that all recommendations for legislative changes are made in an open and transparent nature, as well as adequate consultations with recognised firearm related representative bodies and appropriate personnel, (anti gun lobby groups and victims of crime groups should not be part of this process, their place being in sentencing deliberations.)