Latest on NFA from key meeting of police ministers and legislators

SSAA National welcomes the commonsense comments that came out of the Law, Crime and Community Safety Council (LCCSC) meeting on November 5, particularly in relation to the National Firearms Agreement (NFA) review and the clear distinction between registered firearms and unregistered firearms.

In a public display of commonsense, Nationals New South Wales Deputy Premier and Police Minister Troy Grant rightly pointed out that attention should be on the unlicensed and unregistered firearms. “The New South Wales government has made it clear…that our problem in relation to firearms and crime is not registered firearms, it is an illegal firearms, illegal guns issue,” he said. “Greater than 97 per cent of firearm incidents reported in New South Wales relate to unregistered or unbranded or unmarked firearms.”

Following the meeting it became apparent that various police ministers were not in favour of re-categorising lever-action shotguns of a capacity greater than five shots. Justice Minister Michael Keenan’s office contacted the SSAA to advise that further discussions regarding the NFA will not, in all likelihood, take place until an April 2016 meeting of the National Justice and Policing Senior Officials Group (NJPSOG).

While we welcome what appears to be a new display of commonsense among some of our legislators, we condemn the antics of Gun Control Australia (GCA) who bizarrely planned to roll out the son of terrorist victim and police employee Curtis Cheng to emotionally protest the lawful ownership of the Adler A110 lever-action shotgun. This deplorable display of opportunism was conducted with the full knowledge that the terrorist utilised a Smith & Wesson .38-calibre revolver that was never registered and was obtained illegally without a licence, again demonstrating that in almost every circumstance, it is the unlicensed person with an unregistered firearm committing crime.

We again applaud the comments of Minister Grant who chastised NSW Greens MP David Shoebridge for his involvement in inviting GCA to parliament to stage the emotionally charged protest, calling him an “opportunist” who “exaggerates the narrative”. It was cringe-worthy and pitiful to see anti-gun campaigner Mary Cusumano struggling with her argument as she was clearly being publically exploited by GCA and Mr Shoebridge.

It was also disappointing to see both Federal and NSW Labor display a lack of understanding surrounding the technical aspects of lever-action shotguns.

We implore our current state and federal governments to re-examine the NFA in light of the Martin Place Siege report and the call for a reduction of red tape to make the firearms agreement a fairer and clearer document for our members. We have made our recommendations clear to the government throughout the NFA review process, and we encourage members to contact their state and territory police ministers in the lead-up to the April meeting. Show your support where these ministers deserve to be supported and let them know the importance of our sport and recreation, as the SSAA continues to protect firearm owners’ interests across Australia.

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