Gun owners claim Queensland Police Minister ignores calls for consultation during national gun review

Sports shooters and farmers say they have not been consulted by the Police Minister in the lead up to Queensland’s contribution to a national firearm review.

The review aims to modernise Australia’s original firearm agreement, created in 1996 following the Port Arthur Massacre.

Rural gun owners and sports shooters successfully lobbied to have representation on the national Firearms Weapons Policy Working Group.

However, gun owners in Queensland said the government had so far failed to answer their calls for consultation.

Warwick cattle producer and AgForce member, Michael Welsh, sat on the government’s Weapons Advisory Panel ? a group made up of firearms owners, sports shooters, and members of the police union.

The panel was dumped after the 2014 state election.

Mr Welsh says rural people need firearms for pest control, and is concerned about calls to limit access to more firearms following the Sydney Siege.

The Federal Government has placed a temporary ban on imports of the Adler lever-action shot gun and anti-gun lobby groups want to the rapid-fire shotgun banned permanently.

“We were a bit mystified over why they targeted that particular gun because the lever action guns have been around for over 100 years,” Mr Welsh said.

The gun used in the Martin Place siege was a sawn off shotgun, a normal shotgun, not a lever-action or anything like that.
Michael Welsh, cattle producer and AgForce member

“Our biggest fear is, and there’s a lot of lever actions out there, that if they re-categorise that type of gun it will make a lot of the rural people who have these guns criminals.

“They won’t have the licence to hold that gun, then they’ll have to hand them in and they won’t get compensated for them.”

“The gun used in the Martin Place siege was a sawn off shotgun, a normal shotgun, not a lever-action or anything like that.”

Sports Shooters Association of Australia (SSAA) president Geoff Jones says the current firearm agreement is holding licensed shooters back from getting involved in international competitions.

SSAA successfully lobbied for a place on the national working group, but Mr Jones said it was crucial the Queensland Police Minister consult with all stakeholders before reporting its position to the Law, Crime and Community Safety Council in November.

“It is actually input from the states that drives the final form of the agreement, so representation at the state level is critical so we know what the state’s position is and whether [it] represents the interests of its citizens and the key stakeholders,” he said.

“That includes sports shooters, farmers, pest animal controllers … all forms of legitimate firearms owners.”

Mr Jones said he wanted to see the minister consult the groups on the former Minister’s Weapons Advisory Panel.

“To this date efforts to have the panel re-formed have been met with silence from the government but we believe the previous government did benefit from that consultation,” he said.

“The window for this review process is closing very rapidly.”

A spokesperson for Police Minister Jo-Anne Miller said the minister had agreed to meet with concerned groups ahead of the Law, Crime and Community Safety Council in November after Mount Isa MP Rob Katter pushed the issue in Parliament.

The spokesperson said there was “little point” in re-establishing the Weapons Advisory Panel because the Federal Government review would be finished in a few months.

Source: ABC Rural News