Don’t base firearm laws on half-truths and barefaced lies

The firearms debate in Australia has sunk to a new low this week with the spruiking of half-truths and barefaced lies on who can own a firearm and the police vetting procedure to ensure they are of good character.

Gun Control Australia chairperson Samantha Lee has appeared in the media since the recent shootings in Oregon, USA, spreading false information on the state of our gun laws for the sake of scaremongering and calling on further bans.

Three main points that Ms Lee made need to be corrected for the public record:

“Most states no longer have a 28-day waiting period to own a firearm.”

This is false. All states in Australia continue to apply a 28-day waiting period for the first firearm a licensed recreational shooter applies for and this is only after that applicant has been approved as a fit and proper person to have a firearms licence.

“Anyone can access a firearm without a licence.”

False. Only a licensed person can own a firearm, no ifs or buts. If they steal a firearm or obtain it illegally from the black market this is a criminal offence.

“There is no longer a criminal record check [for a person to obtain a firearms licence or own a firearm].”

This is probably Ms Lee’s most outrageous barefaced lie. Anyone who applies for a firearms licence is required to undergo a police check, show that they are a fit and proper person, demonstrate that they can secure any firearms properly and show a genuine need for owning the firearms. In the case of a handgun licence a probationary period also applies.

The question of private firearms ownership for recreational shooting and hunting in Australia and the legislation surrounding it should never be based on misdirection and half-truths. The Sporting Shooters’ Association of Australia (SSAA) is happy to correct the public record and calls on our legislators to ensure the licensed shooter is not overly burdened by red tape and that the majority of police resources, time and money is spent on pursuing the illegal gun user, often intertwined with the illegal drug trade and serious and organised crime.

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