May
24

Application for RIGHT OF REPLY. Reference Ministerial Response to Petition 2239-14

QFAA-LOGO
To Mr Neil Laurie,
The Clerk of Parliament,
Parliament House,
George Street,
Brisbane.
10th May 2015.

Dear Mr Laurie,

Reference Ministerial Response to Petition 2239-14

Application for RIGHT OF REPLY.

Thank you for forwarding the Ministerial Response, with having to write a petition and use only 250 words it was impossible to present all the facts to table before parliament. I had to presume that the Minister and parliament knew the law, as it had voted on those laws. When a Minister obviously, as stated, acting with advice from their Ministry misinforms parliament as to its laws and to their application, (as this is a grave Ministerial sin, sometimes called Contempt of Parliament) a petitioner should have a mechanism of recourse. Surely as I have been personally mentioned in this response to Parliament, justice should ensure that I have at least a right of reply. With a normal defamation, like this response document I could have recourse to the Courts but under the privilege of parliament and the Bill of Rights of 1689 the elected representatives have immunity.

“That the freedom of speech and debates or proceedings in Parliament ought not to be impeached or questioned in any court or place out of Parliament.”

So Parliament is my only recourse to fairness.

If Parliament then finds that it has been misinformed, it then can at least take action and prosecute people to remedy, ensuring that government departments do not make too much of a habit of it. Besides, this response misinforming Parliament, it has tried to misinformed the 2272 petitioners who have experienced this ongoing problem and those who hoped for a remedy from this house.

1. The Minister states,

“I am advised the requirement to have a PTA generally for each transaction involving a firearm is mandated in Queensland legislation as a result of the 1996 National Firearms Agreement (NFA). Resolution 7 (a) states “that a separate permit be required for the acquisition of every firearm.”

Mandate, but not Written.

Mandate, is not law, Agreement is not law, the people who represent us are supposed to consult with there constituents before voting on legislation, Queensland is not governed by Mandate. Queenslanders have not agreed to this Mandate. Nor has this house of parliament legislated to impose two systems of control over law abiding licenced people, it only legislates for one. An either, or. ‘Police Policy’ imposes both.

The last person to hold a Mandate over us was King John and that was changed at Runnymeade, in 1215 when the foundation document of parliaments, the First Magna Carta was signed.

The NFA Agreement was never agreed to by a majority of the people of Queensland, or a majority of their representatives.
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2. The Minister states,

“Since that time there have been regular meetings between State Police Ministers and the

Commonwealth Attorney-General on the provisions of this agreement and there has not

been any indication that any jurisdiction wishes to change or amend this aspect of the

legislation.

This statement is incorrect in fact and totally misleading,

a) the petition did not ask for the legislation to be changed,

b) the meeting of State Police Ministers and the Commonwealth Attorney-General should have no bearing or input into the plus or minus of Queensland legislation, we do not vote for those other people we vote for our representatives in the house that is why it is called the House of Legislature, or the Legislative Assembly. The people of Queensland should suggest to the crown Queensland’s laws, our sovereignty should not be given away.

c) The Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee, on Ability of Australian law enforcement authorities to eliminate gun-related violence in the community. They met over an 18 month study and investigated over 400 submission, including submission from every State police force. In April 2015 it gave its findings in Commonwealth of Australia document ISBN 978-1-76010-187-9. (See Below)

The findings by the majority of Senators was best finalised by their Recommendation 5

“1.225 The majority of Senators attending the inquiry recommend State and territory governments investigate avenues to deregulate the firearm industry to ease the economic burden on governments, industry and legal firearm users.”

You will notice that this is diametrically opposite to the misinformation given by the Minister.

d) The Minister states, “The PTA application process has been successful in limiting the numbers of firearms in the community to those that are considered necessary”. Charging a licence fee for the person and then charging $34. per firearm each time, by those that consider it necessary to charge some and not others, by an admitted “Police Policy”, is a fine with out conviction of a court, and totally illegal and void. See Bill of Rights 1689

An Act Declaring the Rights and Liberties of the Subject

“made of fines and forfeitures before any conviction or judgment against the persons upon whom the same were to be levied; All which are utterly and directly contrary to the known laws and statutes and freedom of this realm;” “That all grants and promises of fines and forfeitures of particular persons before conviction are illegal and void;“.

3. The Minister states, “the petition questions the necessity for a Permit to Acquire (PTA) system.It does not.

It states, “ by immediately instructing the Queensland Police to cease the duplication of an unnecessary imposition of the PTA system and allow licensed shooters to acquire the firearms in the category they are licensed for.

4. It is the Minister who has raised that question, the petitioners would not have signed the petition if they considered that is was necessary, or if it was questionable.

Throughout the Ministers response she goes to great lengths to state that the Weapons Act 1990 Section 38 to 48 specifies and impose the PTA system on each Acquisition, sale and disposal of a firearm but on any basic perusal it does not do that.

Section 38 controls who can endorse a PTA

Section 39 limits who a PTA can be issued to

Section 40 Only in the approved form

Section 41 An officer can make enquiries

Section 42 an Authorised Officer decides application

Section 43 Only issued on approved form

Section 44 Notice of Rejection of PTA

Section 45 Term of permits existence

Section 46 Reporting loss or theft of PTA

Section 47 Replacing a PTA

Section 48 Surrender of a PTA. Acquisition, sale and disposal of a firearm.

Nowhere in these sections does the legislation impose the PTA on each and ever acquisition, sale and disposal of a firearm. In Section 35 it gives three Options a, b, and c, Option b is the PTA, and option c is the lawful authority (as defined in 49A) as the licence in the correct category.

5. In a letter on 30th April 2015 to Ronald Owen, the Honourable Jo-Ann Miller MP, Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Services and Minister for Corrective Services, the PTA system is implemented by “Police Policy” quote

Weapons Licensing Branch implemented a policy in 2013 in relation to the transfer of firearms from a deceased estate. This policy allows for weapons to be transferred without the need for a permit to acquire”. Quote

Section 35(1)(c) of the Weapons Act 1990 allows a person to acquire a weapon under other

lawful authority, justification or excuse, for example a beneficiary of an estate. Other examples that allow the transfer of firearms to an individual without the need of a permit to acquire are:

• The transfer of firearms from one licence to another of the same individual on a Form 4E;

• The transfer of firearms from a deceased estate;

• The replacement of stolen firearms; and

• A warranty replacement of firearms from a dealer.”

6. The Minister states in her response on page 2,

“The Authorised Officer, QPS Weapons Licensing, has instituted a policy of a like for like or warranty replacement of firearms at licensed firearms dealers in Queensland.”

And

“Declarations have also been made under the provisions of Section 168B of the Act (Amnesty Declaration), to allow firearms dealers to receive surrendered firearms during the period of the amnesty.” However, no amendments were made to the Weapons Act 1990 or the Regulations to suspend any Sections that specifically imposed the PTA system for the 2 month period when Dealers were allowed to register 22,000 firearms to licensed shooters, forwarding that information to QPS in the normal way. No amendments were necessary as legislation does not impose it, as admitted above The Authorised Officer QPS….has instituted a policy”.

7. By this admission it is plain that if “Police Policy“, can excuse the PTA imposition in these cases due to the lawful authority they can excuse it in any circumstance. If the Police Commissioners Register per Section 49 of the Act knows circumstances of why a need cannot be satisfied in some other way from a deceased estate, or the 22000 that were registered by Dealers to licenced Shooters, in the few months of the last Amnesty, due to Section 35 (1) ( c) allowing other lawful authorities, (The Shooters Licence) then the Queensland Police will be very busy charging the good people who have followed the Police instructions. The Dealer is still restricted and obligated to record and report all transaction details required by Section 49 to the QPS within 14 days.

The 22000 that were registered in the last Amnesty by Queensland Dealers were dealt with by Section 35 (1) ( c) and 49 A of the Weapons Act of 1990 and returned to the licensed owners of that property.

8. Section 3 and 4 Weapons Act, again does not impose the PTA system, “of the Possession of a Firearm is the point of these two sections the strongest being Section 4.

“(c) requiring each person who wishes to possess a firearm under a licence to demonstrate a genuine reason for possessing the firearm;

The Licenced Shooter has to complete a safety/legislation course, make an application, pay hundreds of dollars and forefill all the required questions with written and printed evidence of a genuine need in each category he/she is licenced for. This often takes up to 7 months. To then impose, immediately after another 28 day cooling off period and payment of another $34. and a repetition of his genuine need reasons is an insult.

It is also contrary to the Bill of Rights. “That all grants and promises of fines and forfeitures of particular persons before conviction are illegal and void;”. The good exemplary citizens, do not deserve to be fined, when they have done no wrong, fined every time they want to purchase, or lawfully transact their own property, that is a firearm. See Thoburn vs City of Sunderland, the decision commonly referred to as the “Metric Martyrs” Judgment. This was handed down in the Divisional Court (18th February 2002) by Lord Justice Laws and Mr Justice Crane:

9. The defamation by the Minister of all Licensed Shooters including myself as the person named in the response, by her answer to our humble request the need to ensure public and individual safety, and that public and individual safety is improved by imposing strict controls on the possession of weapons.” Is insinuating, that hundreds of thousands of Queenslands Law abiding licensed shooters like myself are a Danger to the Community, and have to respond to this false danger by imposing further strict controls is derogatory, disparaging and slander, as a private citizen I do not have to prove malice, to have my reputation impugned by false statements disregarding my rights. I should have legal recourse, but in this instance justice can only be served by my application to Parliament.

See Bill of Rights 1689.

“That the freedom of speech and debates or proceedings in Parliament ought not to be impeached or questioned in any court or place out of Parliament.

10. This Defamation is false as there is no evidence to support the Minister’s allegation that I, or the other licenced shooters in Queensland are a danger to the Queensland community.

See

New York Times v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254, 84 S. Ct. 710, 11 L. Ed. 2d 686 (1964).

See Gertz v. Robert Welch, Inc., 418 U.S. 323, 94 S. Ct. 2997, 41 L. Ed. 2d 789 [1974]).

In fact, the reverse is true, licensed shooters have to have be the most dependable citizens who have exemplary conduct and the records show that to be the case in every State of Australia. As evidence to this fact we refer the Parliament of Queensland to these excepts from the following document.
THE  EVIDENCE.

The Senate, Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee

Ability of Australian law enforcement authorities to eliminate gun-related violence in the community.

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April 2015. Commonwealth of Australia 2015 ISBN 978-1-76010-187-9

Chapter 4

ADDITIONAL REMARKS

1.152 The majority of Senators attending the inquiry welcome the Chair’s comments that it was not the intention of the inquiry to target law-abiding firearms owners through this inquiry. The Committee heard evidence that lawful use of firearms has a wide range of economic, social and environmental benefits to the Australian community which deserve to be promoted to counteract the myths about them which are perpetuated by some in the community.

1.153 One of the difficulties encountered by this inquiry has been the inability of the Committee to ascertain, with any degree of certainty, where the majority of the illicit guns originate and the size of the illegal gun market.

1.154 Notwithstanding that difficulty, the evidence provided by witnesses including law enforcement agencies, confirmed that most guns used in the commission of crime do not originate from licensed firearm owners.

1.155 No case was made to the committee for any increased regulation around gun ownership laws. In particular there was no evidence to show that:

* banning semi-automatic handguns would have any material effect on the number of illegally held firearms in Australia;

* stricter storage requirements and the use of electronic alarm systems for guns stored in homes would have any impact on gun-related violence; and

* anomalies in federal, state and territory laws regarding the ownership, sale, storage and transit across state boundaries of legal firearms has any material impact on gun-related violence in the community.

Misinformation not helpful

1.157 Despite the acknowledged deficiencies in the data available, the Chair of the inquiry has unfortunately made comments in the media about the size of the illegal gun market and its impact on crime in the community. Many of the claims made were not substantiated by the evidence to the inquiry, particularly regarding the source of illegal guns and legal gun owners in Australia.

1.158 Claims made in the media by the Chair, which The majority of Senators attending the inquiry believe are not substantiated by the evidence, include:

*most illegal guns are not trafficked into Australia, but stolen from registered owners; and

*many illicit firearms are actually stolen from legitimate sources or taken from the grey market, including the gun used in the Sydney siege.

1.159 The hypothesis that illegal guns are mainly stolen from registered gun owners was not supported by the evidence presented to the Committee.

1.161 The Sporting Shooter’s Association of Australia asserted that the data presented by the Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) and Australian Crime Commission (ACC) are unreliable because they:

* have been supplied, unintentionally, with data, contaminated at best, and rubbish at worst, from South Australia, Western Australia and Victoria,

*skewing results and leading to a misunderstanding of the legal and illegal firearms landscape.

(153 Mr Geoffrey Jones, Sporting Shooters’ Association of Australia, Committee Hansard, 31 October 2014, p. 10.

154 Mr Paul Jevtovic, Australian Crime Commission, Committee Hansard, 31 October 2014, p. 34.

155 Media Release, The Hon. Jason Clare MP, Final Report of the National Investigation into the Illegal Firearms Market, 29 June 2012.

156 National Firearm Dealers Association Inc., Submission 85, p. 6.)

whether a third of these firearms can be classed as illicit considering 33.5 per cent of the traces had an unknown method of diversion due to insufficient information.

1.165 The majority of Senators attending the inquiry agree with Mr Rossi, President of the National Firearms Dealers Association:

Policy and research ought to be underpinned by comprehensive, accurate, verifiable and transparent data. We believe that any policy based inquiry must be built on these foundations. In the case of firearm and shooter issues, this is not the case. That includes the issues that are the subject of this inquiry.

1.166 Accordingly it is not advisable for the Committee to make any recommendations based on flawed evidence. Further developments in policy should be focussed on further research in this area.

Data Deficiencies – Theft of firearms

1.167 The data on the number of stolen firearms provided by the AIC is dependent on the reliability of data provided to it by the state authorities, which cannot be relied upon for the following reasons:

*Some jurisdictions did not provide data for all collection years or did not provide the full complement of data requested for individual years. For example, the data for stolen firearms excludes Western Australia for 2007-08;

*Victoria inadvertently recorded firearm parts as actual stolen firearms; and

* The numbers were inverted by accident to read 41 300 handguns rather than 14 300 being licensed in South Australia.

1.168 There was no evidence presented to the Committee which demonstrated a significant problem with stolen firearms being used for criminal activity:

*Data provided by state and territory police indicated that firearms from a very small percentage of theft incidents (less than 5 per cent) reported in the four year period 2005-06 to 2008-09 were subsequently used to commit a criminal offence or found in the possession of a person charged with a non-firearm related criminal offence; and

(157 Media Release, The Hon. Jason Clare MP, Final Report of the National Investigation into the Illegal Firearms Market, 29 June 2012.

158 Mr Luca Scribani, President, National Firearm Dealers Association Inc., Committee Hansard, Tuesday 14 October 2014, p. 28.

159 Australian Institute of Criminology, Submission 76, p. 9.

160 Mr Geoffrey Jones, Sporting Shooter’s Association, Committee Hansard, 31 October 2014, p. 13.

161 Sporting Shooter’s Association, Submission 58, p. 4.

162 Australian Institute of Criminology, Submission 76, p. 10.)

* there are very few firearms that have been stolen and subsequently used in illegal acts or established as coming from a pathway from a registered firearm owner, through theft, into a recorded crime.

1.169 During the public hearing, Dr John Lott gave evidence in relation to an AIC report which showed that one in every 2500 guns were stolen, a rate of four hundredths of one per cent. Of the 664 guns stolen as described in the report, three were used in the commission of a crime. Dr Lott argued that by any measure the costs of firearms regulation greatly outweighs any expected benefits.

1.170 According to the ACC an average of 1545 firearms per annum was reported stolen during the period 2004-05 to 2008-9. The majority of reported stolen firearms are rifles, followed by shotguns. Handguns generally make up less than 10 per cent of stolen firearms.

1.171 The committee heard that even though the current price of an illegal handgun was up to $15 000, there had been no rise in gun thefts from licensed gun owners.

The Law Enforcement Response to Illegal Firearms

 

1.172 Some witnesses claimed that firearms reform in Australia over the last two decades had helped to significantly reduce the misuse of firearms with firearm related homicide in Australia down from 31.9 per cent in 1998 to 18.9 per cent in 2013.

1.173 Others asserted that similar declines had been observed in countries that did not adopt Australia’s approach to gun control, including New Zealand.

1.174 Moreover, it is noted that knives continue to be the most commonly used weapon in homicides, not guns, with 42 per cent of all homicide incidents in 2010

*11 involving knives/sharp instruments compared with 14 per cent involving the use of a firearm.

1.175 Since 1996 there has been a national approach to the regulation of firearms, resulting from the 1996 National Firearms Agreement, the 1996 Firearms Buyback, the 2002 National Firearms Trafficking Policy Agreement and the National Handgun Control Agreement.

(163 Mr Gary Bryant, General Manager, Firearm Safely and Training Council, Committee Hansard, 13 October 2014, p. 5.

164 Dr John Lott, Crime Prevention Resource Centre, Committee Hansard, 31 October 2014, p. 3.

165 Australian Crime Commission, Submission 75, p. 4.

166 Det. Chief Supt Ken Finch, Organised Crime Directorate NSW Police, Committee Hansard, 13 October 2014, p. 45.

167 Ms Catherine Smith, Attorney General’s Department, Committee Hansard, 31 October 2014, p. 52.

168 Willow Bryant & Tracy Cussen, Homicide in Australia: 2010¡V11 to 2011¡V12: National Homicide Monitoring Program report, Australian Institute of Criminology, Monitoring Report 23, p. vi.)

Jurisdictions in Dealing with Illegal Firearms.

1.176 The claim in the Attorney General’s Department submission that the lack of a uniform approach to gun control in Australia prior to 1996 was a significant factor in the diversion of firearms to the illicit market was not supported by any evidence.

1.177 There were, and still are, ample opportunities for firearms to be acquired for criminal purposes and no reason was offered to suggest how that the differences between states had ever been a major contributor to this.

1.178 Mr Tim Bannister, CEO of the Sporting Shooters Association of Australia, argued that the focus of the NFA was flawed:

“The concept of government registries and manually generated permits to acquire and the like is nothing more than a holdover from a time before electronic data retention, and it is not only completely ineffective but incredibly expensive to maintain. However, here in Australian the vast majority of state and federal law enforcement resources and strategies are now, and have been for the past 18 years, mistakenly focused on spending massive amounts of their time and efforts on monitoring and restricting the activities of just one sector of our society, the licensed firearms owners, which every statistic and every example show are responsible for almost no gun related violence.”

(169 Attorney-General’s Department, Submission 42, p. 5.

170 Mr Graham Park, Shooters Union of Australia, Committee Hansard, 31 October 2014, p. 10.

171 Attorney-General’s Department, Submission 42, p. 5.)

1.184 The NSW Police agreed that illegal imports contribute to the presence of firearms in the community:

The fight against illegal gun crime must start at the nation’s borders. The day to day experience of front line police in NSW suggests that the illegal importation of firearms, especially modern handguns and assault rifles, is a key driver of gun crime in NSW.

Stricter storage requirements

1.190 There was no credible evidence provided to support the conclusion that the use of electronic alarms on residential gun safes would materially enhance the security of stored firearms.

The Economic, Environmental and Social Benefits of Legal Firearm Use

1.191 The committee heard from several witnesses and received written submissions describing the wide range of benefits to the Australian community of the lawful use of firearms. Responsible recreational shooting and hunting is a culturally important activity and legitimate industry that creates jobs and injects significant funds into the economy. Farmers use firearms as a ‘tool’ of their trade for the control of pests who wreak havoc on the environment and the humane treatment of stock.

1.192 The committee did not seek to address the economics of a failure to control illicit firearms or the financial and resource costs involved in monitoring and enforcing firearms laws and their impact on legal firearms owners.

1.193 The committee heard that there is no direct mechanism for shooting groups and the firearms industry to be consulted since the abolition of the Commonwealth firearms advisory committee.

Hunting

1.194 Game hunting provides significant social and cultural benefits to our nation. An independent study by the University of Queensland demonstrates that the benefit of recreational hunting to the economy is at least $1 billion. The number of recreational hunters in Australia was calculated to be at least 200 000, but more likely 300 000.

1.195 Evidence received from the Sporting Shooters’ Association of Australia conservatively estimates the contributions of hunting, pest control activities, farming and the shooting sports to be between $1.25 and $1.5 billion per annum.

1.196 The Victorian Government estimates that the total economic impact of game and pest animal hunting by game licence holders in 2013 was worth $439 million to

(176 Victoria Police, Submission 389, p. 4.

177 Sporting Shooter’s Association Australia, Response to Question on Notice.

178 Sporting Shooter’s Association Australia, Response to Question on Notice.

179 Sporting Shooter’s Association Australia, Response to Question on Notice.)

the economy and that 60 per cent of hunting expenditure occurs in regional Victoria.

Competitive Shooting

1.197 In its submission Field and Game Australia Inc. stated that:

Participating in target shooting sports and hunting are increasing in Australia with participants coming from a wide variety of socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds.

1.198 Competitive shooting is a legitimate use of firearms and Australian shooters compete at Olympic, Paralympic and Commonwealth and world championship level. The sport requires intense training and is already heavily regulated. The Committee heard from Shooting Australia that those wishing to compete in this legitimate sport must already undergo lengthy probationary periods.

1.199 The Committee also heard that recreational shooting provides benefits for a wide variety of people including those with a disability or unable to participate in contact sports. In some disciplines women can compete on equal terms with men and the old with the young. Disabled shooters are provided with similar opportunities as their able-bodied counterparts, and compete at local, state, national and international levels. Additionally young Australian’s have established a network of young shooters, establishing a community across the country that enjoys this legitimate use of firearms.

Agricultural/Environmental Uses

1.200 The Committee heard that firearms are a very important tool in agriculture as they are used for a variety of purposes such as humanely putting down an injured animal and controlling feral pests. Creating further regulation on firearm use would be an unnecessary financial and practical burden on farmers, as described by the National Farmer’s Federation:

*there are set-up costs with access to firearms and then ongoing maintenance. Most farm businesses in Australia are small businesses. Many of them operate in a low cash environment. Particularly when things are tighter, any additional cost has an impact on the ability of the farm business to keep going. So any additional cost is a serious concern to us and our members.

1.201 Australian farmers are one of our country’s best protectors of the natural environment. Farmers in various agricultural and horticultural industries take it upon themselves to remove feral, pest species of animals including foxes, cats, wild pigs.

(180 Department of Environment and Primary Industries, Estimating the economic impact of hunting in Victoria in 2013.

181 Field and Game Australia Inc., Submission 81, p. 7.

182 Mrs Catherine Fettell, Shooting Australia, Committee Hansard, 31 October 2014, p. 14.

183 Ms Sarah McKinnon, National Farmers’ Federation, Committee Hansard, 13 October 2014, p. 16.)

wild dogs, rabbits and others. The Committee heard that the cost of pest animals to agriculture is in excess of $750 million.

1.202 Destroying these nuisance animals with firearms is far more humane than baiting or poisoning which can often take a toll on native species:

*a firearm is a necessary adjunct to rural occupations in respect of dealing with animals humanely and efficiently and we know that we cannot keep dropping increasing thousands of tonnes of poison into the environment trying to control feral animals when in fact the firearm is largely underused and underutilised.

1.203 As well as protecting our native species from predators and competition for food from introduced species, farmers are able to enjoy higher yields in both livestock and horticultural settings with the assistance of firearms.

International Comparisons

1.204 At an international level, there is no consensus on whether there exists a relationship between the level of firearm availability and firearm-related violence. Mr David Hawker pointed out that New Zealand declined the invitation to join with Australia in adopting firearms registration in 1996. Canada has since abandoned longarm registration, concluding it was not worth the cost. He agreed that neither country had seen a subsequent increase in gun related violence and stated ‘we are going to considerable expense for questionable results.

1.205 Police witnesses were unable to account for the disparity between their views on gun ownership and community safety and the record of Switzerland and Israel that have extremely high gun ownership, but low levels of gun-related crime.

New Zealand

1.206 In 1983, New Zealand moved away from the requirement to register long-arms and focus available resources upon the person making an application for a firearm licence by ensuring, as far as possible, that only fit and proper people had access to firearms. The licensing system includes background and reference checks, as well as safety training and a written test.

1.207 There are estimated to be about 1.1 million firearms in New Zealand,

*about one for every four people. The rate of deaths involving firearms has decreased in the past twenty years, including those resulting from assault, suicide, and accidents.

(184 The Hon. David Hawker, Committee Hansard, 14 October 2014, p. 55.

185 Mr Gary Bryant, General Manager, Firearm Safely and Training Council, Committee Hansard, 13 October 2014, p. 6.

186 The Hon. David Hawker, Committee Hansard, 14 October 2014, p. 60.

187 Library of Congress, Firearms-Control Legislation and Policy: New Zealand, at http://www.loc.gov/law/help/firearms-control/newzealand.php (accessed 9 April 2015).

1.208 Additional evidence provided to the Committee showed that violent offending with firearms remained stable in New Zealand at about 1.3 per cent of all violent offending from 1985 – 2005.

Canada

1.209 Canada has followed New Zealand’s example and focuses more on the person making an application for a licence. Canada decreased the regulatory requirements for long arms and found no subsequent increase in gun related violence. Applicants are required to pass safety tests before being eligible for a firearms license. Applicants are also subject to background checks which take into account criminal, mental health, addiction, and domestic violence records. According to 2010 data, over the past thirty years firearm-related homicides have continued to decline.

United Kingdom.

1.210 The United Kingdom has some of the strictest gun laws in the world. In 1997 the UK banned all handguns. Only police officers, members of the armed forces, or individuals with written permission from the Home Secretary may lawfully own a handgun.

1.211 The ban did not reduce the number of active shooters. Pistol clubs turned to pistol calibre carbines, which are more powerful and have higher capacity magazines. The UK has also reported an increase in homicide with pistols and in terms of crime:

“The ban on handguns is neither here nor there in the equation”.

1.212 It is reasonable to conclude that the banning of certain categories of firearm only affects those who possess and use them lawfully. Those who use them unlawfully are already outside the law.

(188 Inspector Joe Green, Arms Control Strategies, Debunking the Myths, New Zealand Police, 2008.

189 Library of Congress, Firearms-Control Legislation and Policy: Canada, at http://www.loc.gov/law/help/firearms-control/canada.php (accessed 9 April 2015).

190 Library of Congress, Firearms-Control Legislation and Policy: Great Britain, at http://www.loc.gov/law/help/firearms-control/greatbritain.php (accessed 9 April 2015).

191 Greenwood, J., The British Handgun Ban: logic, Politics and Effect, Paper to International Firearms safety Seminar, New Zealand, 2006.)

Recommendation 1

1.221 The majority of Senators attending the inquiry recommend that the Commonwealth commission a study into the social, economic and environmental benefits of hunting across Australia, similar to the report that was released by the Victorian Government in 2013.

Recommendation 2

1.222 The majority of Senators attending the inquiry recommend the Commonwealth establish a formal mechanism for industry and firearm user groups to be consulted on issues relating to firearms regulation.

Recommendation 3

1.223 The majority of Senators attending the inquiry recommend the Commonwealth continue to pursue improvements in border control for detecting illegal imports of firearms and firearms parts.

Recommendation 4

1.224 The majority of Senators attending the inquiry recommend the Commonwealth review its contribution to firearms regulation in the context of the Reform of the Federation White Paper.

Recommendation 5

1.225 The majority of Senators attending the inquiry recommend State and territory governments investigate avenues to deregulate the firearm industry to ease the economic burden on governments, industry and legal firearm users.”

Everyone really knew all that, but now a Commonwealth Senate Committee has published it. Now is the time to stop wasting resources with impositions on the lawful community and instead transfer police resources into policing the criminal elements within our society.

Ron Owen President. Firearm Owners Association of Australia.