Last weekend, the NSW National Party state conference was held in Tamworth, where party delegates locked in their plan to seek reform on several parts of NSW’s firearms legislation.
During the conference, two motions targeting unevidenced gun laws were tabled by the Central Council Primary Industries Committee & the Tamworth Branch.
Both motions passed unanimously, highlighting that the regions have had enough of Macquarie Street not taking a fact-based approach to firearm controls.
The first motion requires the NSW National Party to call for the removal of the prohibited status of sound suppressors in NSW, so that they can be readily available for use by shooters as a registered item.
The motion also noted that the NSW Nationals recognise the health and safety benefits these items have for those who use firearms as part of their work and daily lives.
The second motion requires the NSW National Party to call for the repeal of Schedule 1, Item 7 of the NSW Firearms Act 1996, which would remove the ability of NSW Police to classify firearms purely on their appearance.
Jeff Bacon, a delegate from the Tamworth branch of the NSW National Party and local firearms business owner, welcomed the support of his party colleagues stating, “The impact of hearing damage from firearms use is immeasurable. The recognition by the conference that the use of suppressors is an important safe work practice is long overdue. Australia falls behind many other countries in this regard”.
The Shooting Industry Foundation of Australia (SIFA), has been highlighting the issues that NSW appearance classifications have, given they are inconsistent with other jurisdictions. SIFA had made several representations on this issue to former NSW Nationals Police Minister Paul Toole, which disappointingly, were ignored.
SIFA CEO James Walsh said “it is great to see the delegates from the NSW Nationals conference hold their party and parliamentary colleagues to account. Given that former Nationals Police Minister Paul Toole did not heed the concerns of industry, we now look forward to seeing the Party actively pursue these changes from the opposition benches”.
Given the main goal of the National Firearms Agreement is to seek national consistency in firearms regulation, SIFA has expressed many concerns surrounding NSW’s unique ‘go it alone’ approach to firearms classification.
“NSW’s stance on firearm appearance causes problems for industry and law abiding firearms owners. It’s pretty silly that a firearm can be approved for sale in every state and territory except NSW.
We have continually expressed concerns that given the inconsistent approach, law abiding shooters who cross the border to go hunting or attend a competition shoot, are unbeknownst to them, finding themselves in possession of a prohibited weapon, even though it was purchased legally and is fully registered in their home state”, Mr Walsh said.
SIFA commends the NSW Nationals State Conference for their commonsense approach, and we look forward to working with them and other stakeholders in pursuing this much needed reform to the State’s firearms laws.