Lobbying forces gun shop U-turn in Queensland

Nadia Isa

The Queensland Government has amended a decision made last week which required all associated dealer and armourer businesses to cease all operations. The Shadow Minister for Police, Trevor Watts MP, questioned the Labor Government’s “knee-jerk” decision.

“[The] decision has been made without foresight of the dire consequences this will have on Queenslanders who rely on this industry, particularly farmers and landholders who we need now more than ever to supply food and fibre,” Minister Watts said.

SSAA also questioned the decision at both state and national level. “We understand this decision has prevented our shooters from purchasing equipment, components and accessories,” said SSAA Queensland CEO David Jones.

“SSAA (Qld) Inc. has made submissions for arrangements to be provided for firearm dealers to resume trading with the following requests: supply and allow all requirements to primary producers for the protection of livestock; members who are involved in feral pest control; resume online purchases; be able to take interstate transfers.”

This morning, the Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries, the Hon Mark Furner, released changed conditions to the ban. “Licensed armourers and licensed dealers will now be able to provide essential services to primary producers and other industries which rely on weapons to do their jobs,” Minister Furner said.

The direction allows licensed armourers and licensed dealers to provide firearms and ammunition to:

  • Commercial pest controllers or feral animal controllers,
  • Vets,
  • Shark control contractors
  • A number of other state and federal bodies.

Variations of the restrictions have been introduced in Western Australia, Queensland and Victoria with each state claiming the bans are in the interest of ‘public safety’. SSAA National has questioned the unintended consequences these bans will raise, including the end result of firearms and ammunition currently in transit if no dealer is able to receive the shipment.

Western Australia enacted its Closure of Gun Shop Directions last Friday. The Directions enforce the closure of any gun shop with penalties of up to $250,000.

The Victorian Minister for Police and Emergency Services, the Hon Lisa Neville MP, introduced the ban in her state today with some leniencies for essential services like farmers and rural landholders.

“To prevent potential stockpiling and the risk that firearms and ammunition could fall into criminal hands or dealers could be targeted by organized crime, licensed dealers will now be prohibited from selling firearms and ammunition for sporting or recreational purposes for the duration of the coronavirus outbreak.

“We’ve also seen in the past week particularly, a doubling of attempts to access firearms category A and B and also of ammunition, so we are concerned by those figures.”

SSAA Victoria CEO Jack Wegman said the Government’s decision sends a “terrible message about fellow Victorians where no evidence has been offered”. “There are no statistics to justify banning a legal product obtained in a lawful manner by people who have been vetted by police, need a genuine reason, have proper storage and somewhere to shoot.”

SSAA will bring you the latest updates on this issue.

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