The NSW Criminal Use Bill
From Our Correspondent Chloe Golding
In this day and age firearm owners and users of all walks of life do not have the luxury of being apolitical anymore.
We are constantly ridiculed, targeted and unfairly treated like criminals, even though we are faced with the challenging process of obtaining a firearms licence with thorough background checks then faced with often random safe and firearm inspections when licenced. Licenced firearm owners have to also go through the additional process of obtaining a permit to acquire to which they must provide yet another reason to why they should be allowed to obtain said firearm.
What Governments and senior Police cannot comprehend is that Law Abiding Firearm Owners (LAFO’s) are the least problematic members of society.
The Firearms and Weapons Legislation Amendment (Criminal Use Bill) 2020; “an act to amend the Firearms Act 1996 and the Weapons Prohibition Act 1998 to create offences of taking part in the unauthorised manufacture of firearms, firearm parts, prohibited weapons parts and to make further provision with respect of firearm prohibition orders and for other purposes.”
One of the main objectives of this bill is to create a “new offence of knowingly taking part in the unauthorised manufacture of firearms or firearm parts and to provide that the offence will include being in possession of certain matter… (firearm precursor.”)
An example of a firearm precursor is any object, device, substance, material or document that could potentially be used in the event of manufacturing a firearm. This could and can include a drill, a metal pipe, a lubricant and a firearm manual, which funnily enough comes with every brand new registered firearm which is brought from a licenced gun dealer.
This bill, if passed without amendments made, will see the simple tasks taken by Law Abiding Firearm Owners of maintaining their legal firearms almost impossible, unfairly converting LAFO’s into criminals.
This bill is open for far more interpretation and can easily be used for the downfall of LAFO’s. For LAFO’s a firearm is a tool, not a weapon and in retrospect no different to a motor car.
Lucky for us, an opportunity has been presented for amendments to be made in the event that the bill is not thrown from New South Wales Parliament entirely, with so far two parliamentary hearings taking place, with pro-firearm users presenting evidence and important opinions and facts on the matter.
In the second hearing which took place on the 10/12/2020, it was fantastic to see CEO and Executive Director for the Sporting Shooters Association Australia - NSW (SSAA) Mr Jai Rowell stand up and present the reintroduction of an advisory committee for the government in relation to firearm matters, previously known as the Firearms Consultative Committee that has been scratched for a number of years
I commended Mr Rowell for the suggestion. However, it was no surprise to see Mr David Shoebridge deputy chairman for the hearing to express this was not worth discussing.
It is important for LAFOs to be represented by a committee created from the peak bodies in our industry to formally assist political parties to provide educated and informed information on matters such as this and ensuring LAFO’s are differentiated from criminals before it becomes legislation, as once it is legislation it is difficult to change. I would hope all peak bodies in our industry could put aside their issues and come together for the overall benefit of the firearms community.
It is important for Law Abiding Firearm Owners to voice their concerns. Everyone is a keyboard warrior when it comes to an issue they don't support on social media, why not take the extra minute to voice your opinion with your local member of parliament.
Law Abiding Firearm Owners are not criminals.
It is time to make our voices heard again, but louder!
For more information on the bill:
To find your member of Parliament and to get in contact: