SFP slams ammo bill’s PTA flaw

Shooters in NSW may have to decide exactly what calibre of firearm they will buy before they are given approval to purchase, under provisions of the impending Firearm Amendment (Ammunition Control) Bill.

The Shooters and Fishers Party says this is one probable consequence of the poorly considered legislation that has again been delayed in parliament.

“Just when we thought this stupid ammo bill could get no worse, we received a tip-offthat the Firearms Registry were in panic mode altering the Permit to Acquire forms as a result of an, err, error in the drafting of the bill,” Shooters and Fishers Party MLC Robert Brown told shooters today.

His fellow SFP MLC, Robert Borsak, asked the Police Minister, Michael Gallacher, in parliament about the issue and received what Mr Brown has called a “dismissive” answer.

Mr Borsak’s questions were: “Is the Minister aware that the Firearms Registry or police ministry, in anticipation of the passage of the ammunition bill through the lower House, are urgently changing the permits to acquire issued under the Firearms Act 1996 so that the calibre is specified on the permit? Does the Minister or the Firearms Registry understand that purchasers under the permit to acquire system may not know which particular calibre they will end up purchasing? Does this change mean that the Firearms Registry will have to revert to manual processing of all permits to acquire, and what effect would this have on the cost of running the Firearms Registry and the inherent delay of processing these permits?”

In part, Mr Gallacher replied: “I can indicate to the House that individuals permitted to acquire a firearm make a decision in a carefully considered way, as the member knows. Surely that would include knowing which calibre firearm an individual intends to purchase. As members are aware, there is always a transition phase in the implementation of a new policy.”

The ammunition bill says a PTA can be used as evidence that you intend to buy a firearm, and therefore you would be able to use the PTA to buy ammunition for that firearm. However, current PTA forms specify only a category of firearm, not a calibre, and so would not be acceptable.

New PTAs would require shooters to specify what calibre they intend to buy, but Mr Brown pointed out this ignores the realities of buying firearms.

A buyer might change his or her mind between applying for and getting the PTA, or may even be persuaded that a different calibre is better once he or she is at the gunshop.

“You may or may not have chosen a particular individual rifle, but more often, you just know that you want a particular category,” Mr Brown said. “But at the time you actually have your PTA, you may well have missed the sale, changed your mind, seen a better deal, or otherwise be flexible as to what you will buy.

“Then we have the second-hand market, and the various online sites that abound. In those cases, most shooters get the PTA first, then take the 60 days available to hunt for a deal.

“Under what is now proposed, you will need to specify calibre and cartridge when you lodge the PTA, and if you change your mind, that means another $30, another PTA and probably another 28 days.”

He again urged shooters to complain to their local MPs.

“If haven’t yet emailed, phoned, or better still, visited your local member, please, please do it now,” he said. “We have the Nationals and the ‘marginal’ Liberals (and some of the Labor people too) on the ropes. Let’s put them on the mat.”




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Mick Matheson

Mick grew up with guns and journalism, and has included both in his career. A life-long hunter, he has long-distant military experience and holds licence categories A, B and H. In the glory days of print media, he edited six national magazines in total, and has written about, photographed and filmed firearms and hunting for more than 15 years.