The urgent push to introduce a National Firearms Register in Australia will require an abundance of time, funding and systemic change to come to fruition. It is also likely to result in little improvement to public safety, as has been the reported motivation for the concept.
The Sporting Shooters’ Association of Australia (SSAA National) shared the above sentiment in response to the National Firearms Register Public Consultation Paper from the Attorney-General’s Department. The concept of the National Firearms Register was born out of a reaction to the act of domestic terrorism in rural Queensland in December 2022 that involved unlicensed people acting illegally with firearms and resulted in a tragic loss of life. In the background of these terrible events was confusion around whether police jurisdictions had access or used their access to firearms licensing information across state and territory borders.
SSAA National and the Shooting Industry Foundation of Australia (SIFA) are pushing for more proactive consultation with trusted non-government entities from the Attorney-General’s Department through the reformation of a firearms advisory council. This has been an ongoing initiative by both groups with the Labor Government elected in 2022.
A working relationship that would allow the government to consult on workable solutions, communicate with the wider firearms community and prevent the occurrence of unintended consequences from policy decisions is increasingly important considering recent events.