Gun Control warn of collapsing gun laws
As a law abiding firearms owner I feel as though my rights are being slowly washed away. Politicians want to be perceived as doing something and we all have to suffer their smoke and mirrors policies.
Katter, Leyonhjelm and Joyce's stance on firearms have sent the Gun Control advocates back on the moan wagon warning that John Howard's gun laws are collapsing, as they compile a stocktake on states and territories' compliance with the National Firearms Agreement.
What smells more like a distraction attempt whilst the Firearm's Agreeent 2017 sinks in. The organisation's chair, Samantha Lee, told the ABC that changes often began with gun lobby wins in NSW.
"As one of the bigger states passes laws to water down their legislation, the other states are following suit … the result being, our national approach to gun control is eroding," Ms Lee said.
Gun control stating the main outcome of that review was tougher restrictions on lever-action shotguns, after an uproar about the arrival of a new weapon, the Turkish-made Adler A110.
The Adler came in 5- and 7-shot versions, with the latter banned for import by federal justice minister Michael Keenan in 2015.
Shooters were outraged at the ban, believing there was no new technology in the Adler, and no evidence that lever-action shotguns were being used in crime.
The ABC reported Gun Control believe the backlash from shooters has been so strong that some states and territories may baulk at implementing the revised national agreement. So far, only NSW and the ACT have implemented it.
Coalition governments have fractured over the ban, with several federal National Party MPs supporting a disallowance motion by Senator David Leyonhjelm in November, and Liberal MLC Peter Phelps crossing the floor when the enabling legislation reached the NSW Parliament in May.
Queensland MP Katter calls it how he sees it
In Queensland, pro-gun state MP Robbie Katter has vowed to move a disallowance motion against any legislation
implementing the revised agreement and giving effect to the Adler ban.
The member for Mount Isa — who shares the balance of power in Queensland — said the ban was political opportunism by the Federal Government.
"If it wasn't so serious," Mr Katter said, "it would be laughable that you're going to cut bloody farmers down from seven shots to five shots when you're shooting pigs, that that's going to make people safe in the cities."
Mr Katter's tactic threatens to further fragment the national gun laws.
Ms Lee from Gun Control Australia said gun politics were especially fraught in Queensland, where firearms laws were weakened in 2012 by the conservative Newman government.
"The gun lobby had the ear of [then premier] Campbell Newman," she said.
"He set up an advisory council up there just stacked with gun lobby advocates, and he said that he was pushing to get rid of red tape, but how we see it is that he's actually really significantly watered down gun laws in Queensland."
Senator Leyonhjelm waiting to see what the laws do for public safety:
He told the ABC he would be "perfectly happy" if Australia went back to the situation before 1996, when the national gun laws were introduced.
"If, as a result of Queensland not signing up to this COAG agreement regarding lever-action shotguns, because of that, the National Firearms Agreement starts to lose relevance, all it will do is take us back to situation that applied 20 years ago when the states did their own things," he said.
"What we will see is some states taking a fairly strong approach and some states taking a less strong approach, and we will see what the result is in terms of public safety.
"My view is we will see no difference between them in public safety because I think in the context of the gun laws in Australia gun control laws and gun violence are independent variables … they are not related."
Barnaby Joyce criticised for NIOA Trading Meeting
Ms Lee said pressure from an ascendant gun lobby had been having an effect on the National Party in particular.
She pointed to a tweet by then acting prime minister Barnaby Joyce, who wanted the 5-shot Adler to remain available for recreational shooters, on April 28, 2017 — the 21st anniversary of the Port Arthur massacre.
The tweet shows a meeting two days earlier with Robert Nioa, whose company imports the Adler into Australia.
MS Lee felt "It's a very provocative [tweet], and very insensitive to be placed out there in the community on the Port Arthur anniversary," Ms Lee said.
"But it does sum up the re-courting of the gun lobby, particularly by the National Party, and the division within the Coalition between the National Party and the Liberal Party in regards to gun laws here in Australia.
"Barnaby Joyce knows the significance of dates, and that he obviously would have known the significance of this date."
It’s hard to take anything the Greens put forward seriously
NSW Greens MP David Shoebridge said gun control advocates needed to be aware of gun lobby tactics. Shoebridges only argument it seems is US gun culture.
"When it comes to gun laws we either defend them or we let them fall apart like happened in the US," he said.
"The US didn't lose the war on guns and firearms at one moment. It was eaten away by the gun lobby with one law after another law after another law.
"What was billed as a minor reform after minor reform after minor reform and they finally got to where they are now, a society saturated in firearms.
"Those of us in the gun control [movement] in Australia see what happened in the United States, and that's why we take a very vigilant approach to any watering down of our gun laws."
But NSW Shooters, Fishers and Farmers party MP Phil Donato said his party was not pushing for American-style gun laws.
"I don't want to see everyone in the community have access to a firearm," he says.
"There are people in the community that shouldn't have firearms, but let's not further punish the law-abiding people doing the right thing."