Our National Gun Laws are under real threat

National Stakeholder Information Bulletin

August 2017

Australia’s national gun laws, which have kept our community safe for 20 years, are under threat as individual state governments yield to sustained pressure from firearms lobbying.

As reported by the ABC, NSW’s watered-down amendments to the Firearms Act NSW 1996 will commence from September 1.

These changes are detrimental to the safety of our most vulnerable people, our children.

One of the most important elements of the National Firearms Agreement was to harmonise minimum standards for state and territory firearms laws and regulations. National safety standards need to be consistent - an intended key feature of the 2017 National Firearms Agreement 2017 (2017 NFA).

We are deeply worried the new regulations being introduced in NSW will mean different rules now apply there. And once they have weakened the framework, pressure on other states will follow.

Do you think these new firearms laws and regulations in NSW will really offer ongoing protect for our children?  The Foundation believes that firearms laws and regulations should be assessed against this key question.

The same laws for all Australians

We believe that the NSW government should not be creating or maintaining a different set of rules for NSW gun owners, which are weaker and do not fully implement the 2017 National Firearms Agreement. The Foundation is concerned that NSW will put at risk a true “national agreement” and national approach to community safety.

Will these proposed laws keep our families safe?

I know you will agree with me that our duty of care as a nation is to keep our children safe. Safety should be the main principle from which we assess these proposed changes.

Does allowing “minor’s permits” for children as young as 12 to use guns keep them safe from harm?  The US statistics prove otherwise. They show that allowing children access to firearms vastly increases their risk of death and injury from a firearm.

Our duty of care to vulnerable people, particularly children, should be paramount. Maintaining our regulation of access to firearms is fundamental to keeping children safe. And an arrangement to introduce “minor’s permits” to children effectively circumvents the 2017 National Firearms Agreement requirement that licences shouldn’t be issued to people aged under 18.

Do minors need to work in gun shops?

The Foundation also urges the NSW Government to preclude minors from working in firearms dealerships. Employees managing firearms are potentially exposed to difficult or even threatening situations and we believe that children should not be exposed to these risks.  (And these proposed arrangements are more liberal than those which generally apply to alcohol licensed premises and alcohol licensed premises with gaming machines around Australia.)

Should we have unlicensed shooters and arms fairs?

We question whether removing provisions to allow unlicensed shooters to possess and use guns at approved shooting ranges keeps people safe.

We are deeply concerned with provisions allowing arms fairs, which are held essentially to encourage and promote the purchase, trade and ownership of firearms.

We agree with the public safety objectives of the NFA, which are based on the fundamental principle that gun ownership and use should be based on genuine reasons and need, and we know you do, as well.

What can you do?

At this critical time, we urge you to contact your local member to implement the 2017 National Firearms Agreement and not allow politicking on guns to threaten the safety of our community.

 You can find details here:

www.aph.gov.au/Senators_and_Members/Members

 

Let’s keep working together to keep our children safe.

The Foundation believes that our strong gun laws create a cohesive and safer community for all of our children and we speak out if we see these important safeguards are under threat.

If you would like to discuss these matters, or any related matters concerning gun control, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Here is our submission in full.

Thank you so much for your ongoing commitment.

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