October 11, 2017 – The LNP tonight backed Jackie Trad’s stricter Queensland gun control laws, with both parties displaying their willingness to work together to successfully attack the rights of law-abiding firearm owners.
The major party duopoly voted down a KAP Disallowance motion, ensuring more irrational changes will be made to the National Firearms Agreement (NFA).
KAP members Robbie Katter and Shane Knuth commended LNP Member for Gympie, Tony Perrett for crossing the floor to vote for KAP’s disallowance motion and for putting his constituents before his party.
After a debate characterised by mudslinging and misdirection the LNP sided with the Government to vote down the KAP motion moved by Robbie Katter resulting in Queensland now having gun laws which go far beyond those put in place by John Howard.
When debating the motion, Robbie urged all members of the house to look past the fear and emotion of the issue to ensure our laws are based on evidence and fairness.
“The changes to the NFA have absolutely no empirical or practical justification.
“Unfortunately these laws only punish people who do the right thing while doing nothing to address community safety,’’ Robbie said.
Member of Dalrymple Shane Knuth said if the State Government was serious about community safety it would look at measures which crackdown on gun crime, including a permanent amnesty, real time licence verification and better mail and customs screening to stop illegal weapons entering the country.
“The aim of the KAP disallowance motion was to remove the additional regulations imposed by Labor, resulting in tougher gun control laws,’’ Mr Knuth said.
“The LNP had the chance to block these tougher gun controls but chose to support Labor, even though they had been telling constituents they would champion law-abiding gun owners.’’
The LNP attempted to shift the blame to the State Government and the KAP for their decision to support the irrational NFA changes, however it was clear to all observers this was a weak attempt to move the focus away from their attack on law-abiding gun owners and the division within their own party.
“We will always support measures that make the community safer however, good policy needs to be based on evidence and not emotion,’’ Mr Knuth said.
Leader of the Opposition, Tim Nicholls quoted support for John Howard’s gun laws as the rationale. However, the new regulations significantly strengthen John Howard’s laws and they have been made without sufficient consultation with shooters.
The major aspects of the regulations which strengthen John Howard’s laws include:
– A reclassification of lever action shotguns to Category D, which is the same category as AK-47s and AR-15s, while pump action shotguns with the same capacity are classified in Category C.
– Serious questions around changes to the definition of lawful modification which could have the effect of making any type of weapon that has been modified by a licence shooter illegal. This has potential to make hundreds of thousands weapons illegal.
– If weapons are now deemed illegal they need to be handed back. With no compensation scheme in place this is perhaps the biggest injustice in the new laws.
Robbie Katter talks about a number of changes that could be brought in to improve community safety.
“There are a number of things that could be done to improve community safety including a permanent amnesty, a real time licence verification system, better screening of packages coming in from overseas and redirecting resources from persecution of law abiding shooters to fighting gun crime.
“According to a report by the auditor general, Customs only screens 25% of consignments, whereas previously all international mail coming into Australia was scanned. That equates to just 46 million scans, resulting in 67,123 prohibited items being seized. On those calculations, a further 201,369 prohibited items were let into the country,” Robbie said.
BRING ON THE ELECTION … NOW IS THE TIME
Mount Isa MP Rob Katter is calling for more public consultation in the nation’s “biggest gun laws reform since the Howard era”
KAP state leader Rob Katter said, after a year without substantial discussions, it was time for the state government to open up a line of communication with licenced gun owners.
Mr Katter said it was important the wider public was involved in discussions about firearms safety and the development of the new National Firearms Agreement (NFA).
A review into the NFA was ordered last year, following a recommendation of the Martin Place siege review.
The review aims to modernise Australia’s original firearm agreement, created in 1996 by the Howard Government.
Mr Katter said the state’s rural sector, including farmers, had been left in the dark with Queensland’s contribution to the review.
“The shooting community are always trying to work with the government, we cannot continue to let such a significant portion of the rural population be ostracised,” he said.
The MP has continued to call on the government to reinstate the Weapons Advisory Panel, which had he said worked constructively with previous ALP and LNP governments, to ensure a rounded view on firearms policy and associated matters.
“Last year we approached the former police minister on the issue of the Weapons Advisory Panel which was disbanded last February by the Palaszczuk Government,” Mr Katter said.
“Since that time there has been no consultation with those who will be effected by the new agreement, outside of the Queensland Police Service.”
Mr Katter said he will again be approaching current Police Minister Bill Byrne on the matter of the review, to ensure firearm owners are part of the conversation.
“At this stage, with only preliminary talks we have high hopes Minister Byrne will have a fair and open approach to the panel and the community of licenced gun owners,” he said.
“There are many initiatives that the group would hope to develop with the government, that can enhance safety measures and minimise costs to the taxpayer.
“As we have made very clear in the past, we will be doing everything within our power to ensure appropriate consultation around these laws takes place.
“We don’t want to see the government place any unnecessary restrictions against law abiding gun owners, sportsmen and women.”