Firearms debate expected in parliament

Shooters Union expect firearms reclassification to factor in opening parliamentary shots


For COAG changes to lever action shotguns to take effect, each state must endorse them, a challenging prospect in Queensland’s hung parliament.

For COAG changes to lever action shotguns to take effect, each state must endorse them, a challenging prospect in Queensland’s hung parliament.

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Gun owners lobby group, the Shooters Union, is anticipating the issue of firearm classifications will be a key debate when state parliament resumes this week.

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Gun owners lobby group, the Shooters Union, is anticipating the issue of firearm classifications will be a key debate when state parliament resumes this week.

President Graham Park said a YouTube campaign conducted by deputy Premier Jackie Trad at the end of January, which he described as “using the tragedy of the Lindt Café siege to score political points against the LNP and to target law-abiding firearm owners” was an indicator of the government’s intentions.

Last December the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) agreed to reclassify lever action shotguns with capacity of greater than five rounds into category D, and lever action guns with a capacity of less than five rounds into category B. 

Both were previously available to gun owners with a category A licence.

For the changes to take effect, each state must endorse the changes, a challenging prospect in Queensland’s hung parliament.

Katter’s Australian Party representatives Rob Katter and Shane Knuth immediately condemned the move, saying “the Premier should expect a hostile parliament when trying to enforce any amendments to the National Firearms Agreement through the house”.

Rather than declare a position at the time, the LNP said it would consult gun owners first and try to “understand it’s thought necessary to ban it”.

“We don’t take our riding instructions from Canberra,” leader Tim Nicholls said. “We’ll have a look at it and act in the best interests of Queenslanders.

"We already have strong laws that protect people and make sure only the right people can get those sorts of weapons.

"We don't think you should just ban these outright, you should understand exactly what the need for them is."

Last week opposition police spokesman Tim Mander detailed the nature of that consultation, which took in licensed firearm owners and dealers, primary producers, as well as the Queensland Police Union, and victims of crime groups.

“I have also agreed to take part in a live forum on Facebook in the coming weeks, hosted by the Shooters Union,” Mr Mander said.

He expected a decision would be made “within the next couple of weeks”.

Shooters Union president Graham Park said the LNP’s indecision meant all the attention and pressure was focused on the party.

“The government wants to portray the LNP as wanting to see us as all dead in the streets,” Mr Park said, referring to deputy Premier Jackie Trad’s video.

“The LNP has its own problems with One Nation and losing support in their heartland,” he added, saying his union had spoken twice with One Nation’s representative, Steve Dickson, recently defected from the LNP.

“He has fully committed to voting against the reclassification,” Mr Park said. “Neither of the independent members have declared a position yet, but both are in regional electorates and would have people with differing opinions.”

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