Standing up for shooters in the Senate

Two National Party Senators have crossed the floor in Federal Parliament to show their support for law-abiding firearm owners. A bid to lift the import ban on the seven-shot lever-action Adler shotgun was debated in the Senate on November 21, with Victorian Senator Bridget McKenzie and New South Wales Senator John Williams voting with Liberal Democratic Senator David Leyonhjelm, who introduced the disallowance motion. Unfortunately, the bid to overturn the ban was defeated, 45 votes to seven, with some Senators absent from the vote.

The seven Senators who voted to support the motion included One Nation Senators Brian Burston, Pauline Hanson, Rodney Culleton and Malcolm Roberts, along with the two Nationals Senators and Senator Leyonhjelm. Senator Leyonhjelm labelled the current import ban as “farcical and achieves nothing”, noting that “lever-action shotguns have never been the firearm of choice for criminals” - a point the SSAA-LA has reiterated throughout the debate.

Speaking to the media following his support for the motion, Senator Williams rightly observed that “We seem to target innocent gun people too often and I just stood up for what I believed in.” Senator McKenzie called “for a debate around science and evidence” noting “there is a lot of scare campaign out there and not a lot of fact”, adding that “law-abiding firearm owners in this nation are derided and belittled by political elites who think they know better.”

Both Labor and the Greens voted against the bid, with Greens Senator and gun control spokesperson Lee Rhiannon telling the Senate that the move would somehow “sacrifice public safety to expand firearm ownership and use.” In an affront to law-abiding shooters, she urged us to “remember...that illegal guns were once legal guns, and the more legal guns there are in circulation the more guns that will get stolen and end up in illegal hands and be part of the shootings and the crimes that we see in this country.”

Ms Rhiannon also took a swipe at thousands of volunteer shooters who assist farmers through initiatives like SSAA Farmer Assist and state government feral and pest management control activities in national parks, saying “having recreational shooters out there killing feral animals is no way to control that problem.”

The reclassification of lever-action shotguns and the ongoing National Firearms Agreement (NFA) review was discussed at the Law, Crime and Community Safety Council in October with no outcome, leaving the review and import ban in limbo. Liberal Senator James McGrath told the Senate that “the importation prohibition is intended to be in place until the review of the agreement is concluded and the agreed outcomes are implemented.”

The SSAA-LA applauds the Senators who stood up for licensed shooters and debated the matter based on facts and evidence, not emotion. We will continue to bring our members the latest updates on this issue as they come to hand, with timely updates via our Facebook page and the SSAA-LA E-newsletter.

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