NSW shooters now seem certain to get the rough end of the stick when the O’Farrell Government’s ammunition law goes back to the lower house tomorrow, where it is likely to be voted in.
The controversial bill, which even the Greens’ firearms spokesman admits will have no more than a limited effect on the drive-by shootings it is aimed at, will ban licensed shooters from buying ammunition for any calibre of weapon they do not own.
The Coalition got it through the upper house recently with the help of the Greens, and included one new amendment that would allow a primary producer’s household members and employees (if they hold a firearm licence) to apply for a permit to buy ammunition on their behalf.
That permit would cost $30, and came at the request of the National Party, the Liberals’ Coalition partner, which had been concerned about the legislation’s effect on its constituents.
“The Liberals and Nationals, together with Labor and the Greens, combined to crash this bill through,” Shooters and Fishers Party MLC Robert Brown said.
“Instead of arguing for stupid little exemptions, I’d have to ask the Nationals why they just didn’t cross the floor in the upper house when this bill was rammed through. Fair question, don’t you think?”
Mr Brown also described the ammunition control bill as “garbage legislation” and a “stupid, do-nothing bill”.
He has urged shooters to make one last effort to affect the vote on it, by contacting their local members directly.
The bill has been slammed by shooters for a number of reasons, most of all being the fact it will not have any worthwhile effect on Sydney’s plague of drive-by shootings, which are being carried out organised criminal gangs using illegal firearms.
Shooters and Fishers Party MLC Robert Borsak says no government minister has been able to explain how the bill will help, yet it will add costs and manpower burdens to the Firearms Registry and unnecessarily penalise law-abiding firearm owners.
“It is more of a political stunt than a genuine attempt to stop criminals shooting at each other’s houses,” he said.
A major concern raised by shooters but not addressed by the government is security, as the bill will require gun shops to keep records of buyers’ names, addresses and calibres owned, records that have been called “shopping lists” for criminals who want to steal firearms.
Having such lists fall into the wrong hands would have the opposite effect of what Premier O’Farrell and his Police Minister are telling the public their bill will have.
Mr Borsak spoke out against the bill after it was pushed through the upper house, making a speech in parliament in which he wished Mr O’Farrell luck: “He is going to need it when getting into bed with the Greens.”
You can read the speech on the SFP website.