With the National Firearms Agreement (NFA) set to be discussed at the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting very soon, Katter’s Australian Party (KAP) has publically echoed the concerns of sporting shooters calling for licensed firearm owners to be included in the “biggest gun laws reform since the Howard era”.
Queensland KAP state leader Rob Katter publically slammed the lack of involvement of licensed firearm owners, farmers and key stakeholders in the NFA review to date, urging for a more consultative approach in any further discussions. “The shooting community are always trying to work with the government, we cannot continue to let such a significant portion of the rural population be ostracised,” said Mr Katter. “As we have made very clear in the past, we will be doing everything within our power to ensure appropriate consultation around these laws takes place. We don’t want to see the government place any unnecessary restrictions against law abiding gun owners, sportsmen and women.”
The KAP has also led the charge in calling for the former Queensland Weapons Advisory Panel to be reinstated, which existed as a ministerial consultation body under the Beattie, Bligh and Newman Governments. Fellow KAP MP Shane Knuth moved a motion in the Queensland Parliament on March 17 specifically calling for the Weapons Advisory Panel to be reinstated. The SSAA and other likeminded groups would have been a part of this panel. The motion was unfortunately disallowed.
SSAA Queensland President Michael Pommer said it was extremely disappointing that the government appeared disinterested in even considering reinstating the panel, especially due to the complete lack of consultation with key stakeholders and sporting shooters under the minority Labor Government. “The lack of consultation to date has been extremely disappointing and, as the largest group representing sporting shooters and hunters in Queensland, we have a lot to bring to the table in terms of evidence-based policy discussions,” he said. “We applaud the efforts of the KAP in their attempts to reinstate the panel and will continue to call on the government to include us in any discussions that will affect our sport and chosen pastime.”
With the NFA review officially commencing following a recommendation from the Martin Place Siege inquiry, any changes to the NFA floated at COAG would have transpired in a little more than a year since the joint Commonwealth-New South Wales siege report was handed down. While SSAA National has been included in the review through meetings of the Firearms Industry Reference Group, chaired by Justice Minister Michael Keenan, some state police ministers haven’t been as consultative, such as the case in Queensland.
SSAA National President Geoff Jones will be meeting with the Minister in the coming weeks and the SSAA-LA will bring you all the latest details, including any decisions made, as the information comes to hand.
“Our members can rest assured that we have made it crystal clear to the Minister that any changes resulting in further onerous restrictions on law-abiding firearm owners in a Federal Election year will be noted,” said Geoff. “Furthermore, as part of our election coverage, members and the broader firearms community will be kept informed on any issues relating to our sport and where each political party stands as we head to the ballot boxes, whenever that may be.”