Appearance Madness – Tassie Bans the Warwick – The Loose Cannon

A reader in Tasmania often keeps me up on the internal workings of firearms lobbying in Tasmania, (for which I am most grateful). He recently sent me some material dealing with the recent banning of the Warwick WFA1 in Tasmania.

A Freedom of Information Act enquiry lodged by a shooter in Tasmania, failed to reveal a statement of reasons justifying the decision, which suggests that the decision was a visceral one (i.e. ‘gut reaction’).

This is unfortunate, because an available ‘public’ well-reasoned decision is of assistance to people such as the writer in advising shooters, and reassures the public that decision making is appropriate and reasonable.

Digging by Tasmanian shooters revealed that the ban was recommended by four members of the TASPOL Firearms Categorisation sub-committee.

I understand one member was Policy Officer, the second, a Constable First Class from the Ballistics Section who also has a personal interest in firearms, being a shooter himself, and also Vice President of the Tasmania Police Pistol Club and a member of the Cartridge Collectors Association.

The third member is an Inspector of Police in charge of Firearms Services and the fourth was a person from an interstate jurisdiction.

Notably, there was no non-government representatives from the sporting, farming and firearms business community, and it appears through FOI research that the ‘interstate’ representative was a Federal representative from the Federal Police.

If his presence was also intended to represent sporting shooters, I have discounted the presence of a Ballistics Section Constable who shoots, as being able to give any input on behalf of sportsmen, because his loyalties are divided, and given the quasi-military style structure of the Police Force, I would, with all due respect to him, expect him to defer to the Inspector who was present.

The Federal Copper is no surprise. Gun laws were on the Federal agenda well before Port Arthur, and indeed, they featured in Bob Hawke’s last Cabinet Meeting five year before Port Arthur, as became apparent last year when the 30-year embargo on the minutes expired, leading to their publication.

The lack of adequate consultation with shooters is also no surprise, as lack of real consultation has been a significant feature since Howard imposed legislation in 1996.

That of course occurred in the hysterical moments following Port Arthur, although now we have had over 20 years of intense regulation, that has achieved little or nothing to make Australia a safer place, but which costs the community a considerable sum.

Despite this, there is no willingness to do what is done with other legislation, and periodically review its efficiency and effectiveness.

Indeed, consultation is getting worse. Witness the lip service paid to consultation in respect to the NSW Firearms Regulation 2017, where submissions were largely discounted and not published, and where there was a consultation period that fell short of the Governments own best practice guidelines, and Victoria’s cynical short consultation period over the ‘silly season’ in respect to the revision of their regulations.

The Police and Department of Justice seem to have developed a view that just because firearms ownership is not a right, that the rules regarding good governance do not apply either. This is wrong.

I note that I recently had cause to write about a response received to a letter that a reader of mine sent to his Local Member, a Labor Politician, regarding the gun laws, and it came from the NSW Police Minister’s Office. Suggesting that there the opposition is maintaining a bi-partisan position on firearms matters with view to countering the shooter vote, a policy that shall work if there is not a successful mass movement amongst shooters to put the sitting member last.

I have written previously about things shooters can do to assist the fight, one more thing needs to be added to my point in that article about the need for the revitalisation of the SSAA into a robust, professional lobby group along the lines of the NRA in the US.

The SSAA needs to move its HQ to Canberra. Sorry guys, I also like Adelaide, and got myself admitted as a lawyer there in the anticipation of a move there in the 1980’s, however, in a country that is a federation of states, be it Australia, the US, Canada or the Philippines, the major political ‘action’ is in the capital.

A small presence in a town house is not adequate, and an inadequate presence makes the organisation appear inadequate.

The organisation needs to take over at least a floor of a building on a main road in Canberra City, and pay for naming rights to the building, so people are reminded of the power of the organisation as they drive around Canberra.

‘Pistol Australia’, does this in a smaller way, and people visiting the Deakin medical district in Canberra get to see a building with the proud branding of ‘Pistols Australia’. Its presence is widely noted and remembered.

Join the fight.

Simon Munslow

National Firearms Lawyer
P: (02) 6299 9690
M: 0427 280 962

Simon Munslow is a lawyer who has a lifelong interest in shooting, having acquired his first firearm at the age of nine, and has had an active interest in firearms law since writing a thesis on the topic over thirty years ago at University.
Simon Munslow practices extensively in Firearms Law matters throughout Australia.

He is a regular contributor to the Australian Sporting Shooter magazine’s website on Firearms law matters, has published articles on firearms reviews and firearms law, and occasionally is asked to comment in the broader media on firearms matters.

This article is written for general information only and does not constitute advice.
He can assist you with:

Criminal law & Administrative law and in particular that related to Firearms

• All firearms, weapons and game charges
• Avoiding & setting aside Apprehended Violence Orders
• Possession of unregistered firearms
• Unsafe transportation & storage matters
• Applications for prohibited weapons
• License Appeals
• Freedom of Information / Government Public Access matters
• Importation & Customs problems
• Advices & opinions related to Firearms law matters




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Simon Munslow