French hunting shotgun choking on red tape

It’s likely many of you by now are familiar with the Verney-Carron Speedline rifle. The rifle was classified as a category B firearm early last year like similar firearms however the shotgun variant, the Verney-Carron Veloce, has been stuck at the border despite functioning the same as the Speedline rifle. Bureaucrats have not categorised the Veloce which means the firearm cannot be imported and therefore cannot be sold in Australia.

Rick Casagrande, CEO of Australian Sporting Agencies is currently battling this decision and awaiting a judicial review in the Federal Court to see if he’ll be able to import it. Mr Casagrande told the ABC the Veloce will be used by people in North Queensland who are hunting wild pigs in abundance and by people who hunt deer and want a quality firearm.

The controversy surrounding the firearm comes down to its action. It uses a large thumb lever which needs to be pressed down between shots to cycle the action. According to Verney-Carron it’s called an ‘assisted linear’ action. A promotional video demonstrating this being done quickly has led to the firearm being labelled ‘semi-semi-automatic’ by Greens MP and anti-firearms advocate David Shoebridge.

Similar to the Adler shotgun debacle, this promotional video has set off the anti-gun lobby. Mr Casagrande says gun control advocates are fearmongering and the assisted linear action is no faster than other levers.

"What you've seen on video is somebody with his hand on the side, shooting down the tunnel and going as fast as he possibly can . . . to show reliability, not necessarily the amount of rapid-fire ability of the firearm," he said.

Speaking to the ABC as a voice of reason, SSAA National CEO Tim Bannister said there was no reason to reclassify the Speedline or ban the Veloce firearms.

"There's always going to be new technology, we have new technology in all things. I'm not sure why we’d try and circle a particular sport and say you're not allowed to advance," he said. "It's not more dangerous or less dangerous than any other firearm. A firearm in the right hands is a safe piece of equipment.”

Mr Bannister has continued defending firearm owners in the media and has been quick to challenge Gun Control Australia on targeting law-abiding firearm owners. "The people who misuse firearms will continue to misuse firearms. They access them from the black market,” he said.

"What we would like to see is Gun Control Australia focus on the 97 per cent of misuse of firearms, which is caused by unlicensed people with unregistered firearms."

SSAA-LA will continue lobbying efforts on the classification of the Verney-Carron firearms and provide updates on this important battlefront. 

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