Preamble by Marcus O’Dean
Recently, in my own borough of Sydney, a NSW Green MP expressed mock horror in the press that legal firearm ownership in some electorates equated to one to every nine residents and that this was a statistic of concern to those in the business of community safety. We all know this is a crock, but my local Eastern Beaches rag, called “The Beast” has jumped on the bandwagon in the wake of Peter Fitzsimons calling for an Anti-Shooter Party in his Sun Herald column. In an effort to counter the lies and misuse of statistics against LAFOs, a group of stakeholders has got together to put a submission to other shooting groups and politicians who will give us a fair hearing in order that they understand the overriding issue at stake with regard to legal gun ownership in Australia ie we LAFOs are no threat to public safety and the time, logistics and money that governments put into overregulating us would be better spent going after… wait for it … criminals. Have a read, because it is a good base for every LAFO to work from in arguing the toss with anti-gunners who can be engaged in debate. My thanks to Rick Brown for forwarding it to me. Below is the submission in abbreviated form. For the full submission read NFA Joint Review submission.
This email submission is being sent to various shooting organisations, industry groups and politicians who have demonstrated that they are not antagonistic towards shooters. It is the collaborative work of Shooting Industry Foundation of Australia, the National firearm Dealers Association, the Australian Deer Association, Field and Game Australia, the Sporting Shooters Association of Australia, Victoria and the Antique and Historical Collectors Guild of Victoria on simplifying the regulation of the legal firearms market through an update of the technical elements of the National Firearms Agreement.
In essence major points made in the submission are:
o The report of the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Reference Committee confirms that there is not comprehensive, verifiable, accurate and transparent data on which to base policies related to firearms, firearms ownership and firearms usage.
o This lack of facts and data risks creating a vacuum which easily can be filled by instinct, intuition and prejudice.
o There is evidence that this risk is a reality since the implementation of the National Firearms Agreement (NFA).
o Current Government Position can be summed up as: The regulation of law-abiding shooters and the firearms they own and the limitations on the ownership of those firearms is justified on the basis that it reduces the level of gun-related crime and gun-related homicides.
Legal firearm owners response to Government position. Yet the fact that there is not clear evidence to demonstrate that the implementation of the NFA has not met these objectives is not widely known. In fact, conventional wisdom is the opposite because of the selective public quoting of one study which concluded that the NFA and the buyback has had a significant impact on gun-related and gun-related suicides.
o Since the implementation of the NFA, there also has been evidence of prejudice and intuition of decision makers and policy makers. For example in 2002 John Howard said: ‘I hate guns. I don’t think people should have guns unless they’re police or in the military or in the security industry.’
o It is important that the FWPWG’s review of the NFA be driven by facts and data and that politicians and bureaucrats be told that, because of past history, the fact that decisions are driven by facts and data must be demonstrable.
o For example, links implied by the Federal Government between law-abiding shooters and terrorism and community safety must be proved and not just asserted.
o It is imperative that bureaucrats and governments demonstrate that current and proposed policies related to firearms and firearms ownership have led or will lead to a reduction in the level of gun-related violence and gun-related homicides.
The Canadian Experience
o In the mid 1990s Canada followed a similar path to Australia with respect to regulating firearms and firearms ownership.
o In recent years Canada has analysed the effect of its gun laws and concluded that the registration system had had a minimal impact on the fight against gun-related crime and gun-related homicides and that the cost of maintaining the system could not be justified.
o The Canadian Minister described the system as ‘a good example of red tape without any added value’. As a result Canada has discontinued the registration of longarms used by shooters and hunters.
o He also said that the Canadian government is ‘tackling the criminal use of firearms instead of focusing on those who practice traditional activities and obey the law.’
Where is Australia supposedly going with the NFA?
o The stated purpose of the FWPWG’s review of the NFA is to simplify the regulation of the legal firearms market.
How is that to be achieved?
o A good place to start would be to follow the Canadian Government’s example. This would not only simplify the law but free up valuable resources to be re-directed to fighting gun-related crime.
o Other ways of simplifying the regulation of the legal firearms market include:
· full on-line management of license applications and license renewals and instant ‘real-time’ sharing of information through a National Firearms Interface,
· enabling licensed firearms dealers to report firearm transactions in an automated and instant method and
· recognition of firearm licences by all states and territories.