URGENT CALL TO ACTION
In the dying days of the National Firearms Agreement (NFA) review, SSAA National President Geoff Jones met with Federal Justice Minister Michael Keenan on Tuesday, 4 October as part of the Firearms Industry Reference Group (FIRG). While we have had various meetings at every level of federal and state government since the NFA review was first implemented, SSAA National, the SSAA State and Territory branches and other likeminded groups have still not been fully briefed on any proposed changes or improvements to the NFA.
No further information was tabled at Tuesday’s meeting, nor was there any further detail about the proposed national firearms amnesty that Minister Keenan flouted in September.
The NFA review was initiated following the Sydney Siege incident in December 2014 but was put on hold during the 2016 Federal Election campaign. A key purpose of the review was to look at cutting red tape and examine any unintended consequences of the original Agreement, 20 years since it was ratified by the states and territories. While the SSAA has continued to put forward our evidence-based recommendations to the new government, it appears we have not been privy to the technicalities under review. The meetings thereafter have been disingenuous and vague.
The main area of discussion has centred on lever-action shotguns of more than five shots. Such discussions have, at times, been overshadowed by emotional rhetoric and a targeted campaign driven by anti-gun groups who have an irrational fear of firearms, both legal and illegal. As the SSAA continues to point out, no changes should be made to the NFA in the absence of any empirical evidence, nor should legitimate firearms owners have to bear the brunt of more unintended consequences based purely on emotion or politicking.
Further to this is the widespread, real concern that recategorisation under these circumstances may set a precedent for future unjustified category changes of other firearms, effectively restricting or banning them for sporting shooters.
Due to the lack of details from Geoff’s latest meeting, we are calling on our 180,000-plus members and Australia’s one million licensed firearm owners to urgently contact your State or Territory Police Minister who will be meeting in the coming weeks to discuss the NFA, as the recommendations for changes will come from the states and territories.
It is also important to also raise this with your local state and federal parliamentary members. As these NFA key points for members show, make it clear that it is unwise to support any changes to current firearms legislation that is nothing more than a knee-jerk reaction. Politely remind them that registered firearms are rarely used in crime and are a legitimate sporting and hunting tool.
Our dedicated Member Action section provides a wealth of resources and tools, including tips for writing to politicians. Social media savvy members can utilise social media accounts to spread our message further, while our SSAA State and Territory counterparts are also on the case. It is imperative that are voices are heard at the state, territory and national level as we unite to ensure our chosen recreation is not further inhibited by unsavoury legislative changes.
We all share the responsibility for the future of our sport.