Heckler & Koch R8

Appearance laws become a Victorian election issue

Firearm appearance laws, which outlaw guns purely because they may look like military ones, are back on the agenda ahead of the upcoming Victorian state election as pro-shooting politicians and organisations push for change.

Shooters, Fishers and Farmers upper house MP Jeff Bourman introduced the Firearms Amendment Bill 2022 to parliament earlier this year, with the aim of removing appearance laws, which dictate that even a Category A bolt-action rimfire can be banned because of its looks.

“These laws are ineffective at being effective gun laws,” Mr Bourman said. “They do nothing at all to help public safety.”

The Bill’s explanatory memorandum observed, “Currently there is no released public policy document outlining the parameters of assessment for these ‘appearance’ determinations, which are ad hoc at best and based on a problematic and flawed theory of perceived public fear.”

The Bill was defeated at its second reading recently, but despite voting against it, both Labor and the Coalition appear to have said they don’t disagree with the idea in principle, or are at least open to considering it via the Victorian Firearms Consultative Council and the Council’s legislative sub-committee.

“I am sure this change that is being proposed by Mr Bourman will be one of the many matters that will feature on the agenda at some point of both the committee and the sub-committee,” Labor MP Mark Gepp, who spoke against the Bill, said.

With a state election coming next month (26 November), the issue is back on the radar, with the shooting industry and shooting representatives alike calling for solid commitments to ending the existence of the state’s appearance laws.

The Shooting Industry Foundation Australia (SIFA) has requested that as soon as practicable after the election, both the Government and Opposition work in consultation with the shooting industry to chart a path forward on the issue. 

The organisation has further moved to ensure that both sides of Parliament formally uphold and stand by what they have supported and advocated for regarding this matter, given their comments are now a matter of public record.

Shooters Union Australia president Graham Park said appearance laws needed to be scrapped in all states.

He said Mr Bourman – and any other politician willing to seriously try to end them – had the organisation’s full support.

“It’s long been our stance that laws prohibiting or restricting guns based purely on the fact they look scary are ridiculous and need to go,” he said.

“We absolutely support this issue being on the agenda for November’s election and echo our friends at SIFA in their call for a concrete commitment to tackling this issue – not just vague ‘we’ll get around to it’ promises, but a proper timeframe for presenting it to the committees.”




Like it? Share with your friends!

What's Your Reaction?

super super
fail fail
fun fun
bad bad
hate hate
lol lol
love love
omg omg
Royce Wilson

Royce is something rare in Australia: A journalist who really likes guns. He has been interested in firearms as long as he can remember, and is particularly interested in military and police firearms from the 19th Century to the present. In addition to historical and collectible firearms, he is also a keen video gamer and has written for several major newspapers and websites on that subject.