Federal Justice Minister Michael Keenan

NFA unchanged for now – Keenan


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Federal Justice Minister Michael Keenan

Federal Justice Minister Michael Keenan

By Marcus O’Dean

Licensed firearms owners in Australia can breath a sigh of relief due to the announcement in this¬†news.com.au article that the NFW would remain unchanged. This is in stark contrast to the Attorney General’s Department, under Keenan, doing its damnedest to ban the Adler lever-action shotgun, with a view to using that ban as a Trojan Horse to reclassify lever and pump action rifles from class A and B firearms to to Category C and D, immediately creating criminals of current owners of such firearms. The associated poll asking readers if they agreed with John Howard that gun laws should be tightened further was a lay-down mazaire win for shooters. See below.

News.com.au survey result
News.com.au survey result

Documents drafted ten years ago by federal bureaucrats (and not released to the public) signalled more restrictive reclassifications then and those same bureaucrats have been pushing that disarmament agenda ever since. The Adler gave these bureaucrats the excuse to convince Keenan to crack down hard on LAFOs through changing the NFA. when he came up against unexpected opposition from some sensible state police ministers, he had to take a step back.

 

McKenzie, Scullion and Leyonhjelm, Federal MPs who worked for shooters
McKenzie, Scullion and Leyonhjelm, Federal MPs who worked for shooters

Meantime, the political pressure was growing from political representatives of shooters. In NSW SFFP reps Brown and Borsak ensured our police minister stayed on course while federally, Nationals MPs McKenzie, Scullion and others, along with Independent David Leyonhjelm brought increasing pressure to bear on the Government to see the issue rationally.

Robert Brown MLC NSW
Robert Brown MLC NSW

All this has occurred in the context of the media and greens beatup of the Port Arthur Massacre’s occurrence 20 years ago this April. The SPS Insight program screened on 5th April was such an example. It could have gone worse for shooters, but it was no picnic for Robert Brown and Graham Park, who calmly and rationally put the case of nearly a million licensed, law-abiding shooters to the camera. The gist of what they were saying is that we shooters are sick of being demonised and treated like criminals in waiting and that the NFA was drafted in haste without consultation, for which they held PM Howard responsible. At the same time, they demonstrated significant sympathy for the victims and relatives of victims in the audience. Curtis Cheng’s son was a beacon of common sense, urging that gun laws be tightened, but only as they pertained to perpetrators of crime with guns. He seemed to have no argument with licensed shooters.

Interestingly, Keenan’s Damascus-like conversion seemed to parrot the points put by the shooters’

Graham Park, Shooters Union QLD
Graham Park, Shooters Union QLD

representatives less than 24 hours after the screening of the program. General agreement on further firearm amnesties, increased penalties for criminals who use firearms and support for the NFA in its current form were all mentioned. He stressed that this was a National Agreement that had the current support of all states. I cast my mind back a few months when NSW Police Minister Troy Grant basically derailed Keenan’s hobby horse¬†(banning the Adler) in his presence¬† in a joint press conference. Grant also not so nicely warned the Greens to stop lying about firearms issues to score cheap political points, describing them as “unhelpful”.

What is also interesting is the federal political situation the Coalition finds itself in now. A few days ago, Labor under bill Shorten (of all people) unseated the Coalition under Malcolm Turnbull as preferred government in the polls. While Turnbull’s prevarication on tax and apparent inability to make a decision on just about anything certainly play the major role here, it could well be that thousands of angry LAFOs writing to their local members and the Attorney General, promising to vote against a government which tightened the NFA, have caused the pressure to be brought onto Keenan to back off. Finally, our numbers and voting intentions are starting make a difference federally.

You can view the SBS Insight program in its entirity here.


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Marcus O'Dean

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