In September 2015, SSAA National submitted a detailed eight-page submission to the Attorney-General’s Department regarding the technical review of the National Firearms Agreement (NFA). We discovered that Justice Minister Michael Keenan had been kept in the dark about our submission and similarly had not read or received any submissions from other shooting organisations.
To make it easier for the Minister and the Attorney-General’s Department, we reissued the submission and provided a list of key points for consideration. They were:
1. Queensland-style amnesty involving dealers to get firearms on the books.
2. Waiting periods before purchasing handguns reduced to be in line with the 28-day waiting period for other firearm categories, and initial purchase reduced to three instead of six months.
3. Use of sound suppressors in certain circumstances, such as conducting pest animal control in peri-urban areas or where large numbers are required to be culled.
4. Remove the provisions on restricting firearms based on subjective appearance and adhere to the measurable categories of functionality as per the Australian Customs import test.
5. Access to self-loading longarms for competition purposes for all recognised associations, along with certain hunting activities.
6. Ability to purchase ammunition for firearms outside of the existing licence, to cater for when borrowing a registered firearm from another licensed owner, for example when conducting pest control on their property.
7. Membership lists for gun clubs to be exempt from requests to access or view by external parties, including other members.
8. Recognise that genuine reason/genuine need is essentially ‘doubling up’ on the licensing process, as the individual has already been cleared a fit and proper person to possess a firearm in any given category.
9. Reminder that the focus should be on targeting the illicit market, not the legal, genuine licensed holder.
Besides the promise of a national firearms amnesty later this year, the Government has failed in its pledge to consult with us and to recognise recreational shooting and hunting when formulating regulations.