The shooting industry has revealed its agenda for reform, telling the new Australian federal government it wants to increase firearms manufacturing, improve gun policy, streamline imports and exports, and create a new Commonwealth Firearms Authority.
The Shooting Industry Foundation Australia (SIFA) says its Industry Brief for the 47th Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia is its “initial agenda for the newly elected government”.
The document begins by reminding the government that the firearms industry supplies defence, law enforcement and other government agencies, as well as the estimated 868,000 firearms owners in Australia.
Top of the list is SIFA’s call for an increase in local manufacturing by the firearms industry, which it says has “aspirations to become a nett exporter”.
SIFA is also asking that Australian firearms policy be driven by good data, and points out that “a major failing of successive Governments in Australia has been not generating the data needed to … inform policy”.
It also wants the importation and exportation of firearm-related products to be streamlined, and lists a series of measures it wants to see that would, for example, cut the time required to inspect and release shipments by an average of 14 days.
Finally, SIFA wants to see the establishment of a Commonwealth Firearms Authority (CFA) to review gun laws, collect data and assess proposals for reforms.
“The abolition of the former Commonwealth Firearms Consultative Council has had negative consequences,” the document states.
SIFA points out that the industry was estimated in 2019 to have contributed $2.4 billion to the Australian economy, employing 19,500 people, although it admits that this still makes it a “niche and comparatively small industry”.
“Our experience has been that we are viewed through the single paradigm of ‘gun control’, and often fall through the cracks with respect to industry development, employment, education and regulatory reform initiatives which have relevance for our industry.
“SIFA would ask both the Government and Opposition to look beyond the nature of the heavily regulated products we deal in, and to assist by affording SIFA and our stakeholders the same opportunities to make a contribution towards Australia’s prosperity as other industries.”
SIFA representatives are aiming to meet with the Government in the coming months to present its case.
Under SIFA, which represents organisations from manufacturers and importers to retailers, it is the first time the firearms industry has made a united and coordinated effort to influence Australian firearms regulation.