The Liberal Democrats defend sporting shooters from a position of principle. We believe sport, hunting, collecting and self-defence are all legitimate reasons for owning firearms. We value the role of hunters in positive conservation and environmental outcomes and support greater use of volunteer hunters to protect our national parks.
We also believe adults have a right to a licence unless it has been removed because of a criminal history or genuine prospect of coercion. We reject the claim that owning firearms is a privilege – it is a right that can be lost under certain circumstances. Furthermore, we believe the registration of long-arms should be abolished, as has occurred in Canada.
Former Senator David Leyonhjelm represented the Liberal Democrats in federal parliament for the past five years before unsuccessfully running in the NSW state election earlier this year. The party’s platform is based on small government, individual choice and personal responsibility. It insists the government is our servant, not our master.
Mr Leyonhjelm is well-known to members, having stood up for firearm owners on many occasions. He lists “saving the Anzac Range in Sydney’s Malabar”, where SSAA Sydney has one of its ranges, as one of his proudest achievements. He also fought against the Adler ban and has regularly challenged Customs over “their unreasonable treatment of those importing legal firearm parts”.
He also exposed the Australian Federal Police for sensationalising firearm seizures and has spoken out against changes to family law which could have seen firearm licence details given to ex-partners and used in divorce proceedings. Mr Leyonhjelm has been replaced in federal parliament by his right-hand man, Senator Duncan Spender, who has also pledged his unwavering support for shooters.
The Liberal Democrats are growing in Australia, represented by keen Airsoft competitor Aaron Stonehouse MLC in Western Australia along with Tim Quilty MLC and David Limbrick MLC in Victoria, who have vowed to protect duck hunting.
The Liberal Democrats’ policy on firearms is principled, clear and consistent. Our track record demonstrates we get results for shooters. We reject the collective punishment of any group of Australians, especially shooters, because of the crimes of a few individuals, the overwhelming majority of whom are not even licensed firearm owners.
Tougher restrictions on law-abiding firearm owners and increased gun control are not an effective means of crime control – controlling borders and chasing illegal firearms is. Governments sometimes pretend to be supportive of shooters yet their rhetoric is rarely matched by their actions. We are the true party for shooters.