Thank you for your email to my office about the recent petition to reclassify the Adler shot gun.
I appreciate the opportunity to respond to the common questions raised in the correspondence to my office, and to counter any misinformation within the community.
What was decided at COAG?
At the 9 December 2016 meeting of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG), all States and Territories agreed to reclassify lever action shotguns based on the recommendations from the review of the National Firearms Agreement (NFA).
At the meeting it was determined that lever action shotguns with a magazine capacity of five and under would be categorised as Category B weapons and those with more than five rounds would be categorised as Category D weapons.
Why was there a review of the National Firearms Agreement (NFA)?
The review of the NFA arose from a recommendation of the Martin Place Siege Review, jointly undertaken by the Federal and New South Wales governments. The firearms policy set out in the NFA is designed to achieve the best balance between the needs of people, such as sporting shooters and primary producers, who have a genuine right to access firearms, and the interests of the broader community.
The objective of the review was to ensure that Australia’s firearms regulations reflect advancements in technology and changes to the firearms market.
What consultation has taken place with stakeholders?
A Firearms and Weapons Policy Working Group, with representatives from every Australian jurisdiction, conducted the review and consulted extensively with a range of key stakeholders from the firearms industry, the agricultural sector, sporting and recreational shooters, victims of crime groups and police.
The outcomes of the NFA review were considered by the Law, Crime and Community Safety Council (LCCSC), which assists the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) in promoting best practice in law, criminal justice and community safety.
The Palaszczuk Government also established weapons consultation forums to ensure Queensland’s weapons policy framework reflects the diverse needs of key stakeholders, including the agricultural sector, police, victims of crime, recreational and sporting shooters, firearms dealers and the legal community.
Is the government going to continue to consult with stakeholders?
The Palaszczuk Government acknowledges that the vast majority of firearms users in Queensland are responsible and recognises the importance of consultation and listening to the views of the community. As such, the Minister for Police held a firearms forum in February 2017 with a broader group of stakeholders, including firearms dealers and recreational and sporting shooters, police, victims of crime, the legal community, along with representatives of the agricultural sector.
The Minister for Police has invited forum members to get out and about in their communities to seek views and feedback from interested parties and report back to the forum. With genuine feedback and consultation, the government is best placed to achieve a balance that meets the needs of law-abiding firearms users and the safety interests of all Queenslanders.
Lever action shot guns have existed for over 100 years, why re-categorise them now?
While lever action technology is not new, the improvement of manufacturing standards, metals, tolerances and durability means that newer lever action shotguns like the Adler are technological improvements that are faster and more reliable.
What impact will the re-categorisation of lever actions shoguns with a capacity of five rounds or less from category A to B have on firearms owners?
The change will have minimal impact on licensees who currently own those firearms.
Future applicants would be required to show a genuine need for a lever action shotgun similar to the reasons now required for a Category B rifle.
Why re-classify lever action shotguns with a capacity greater than five as Category D?
The recommendation to re-categorise lever action shotguns with a magazine capacity of greater than five rounds is based on the level of risk a high capacity firearm with an increased rate of fire would present, particularly in a mass shooting incident.
The reclassification is consistent with the categorisation on self-loading and pump action shotguns with a magazine capacity of greater than 5 rounds.
Is there going to be a buyback of lever action shotguns?
The Palaszczuk Government will be consulting broadly with stakeholders through the firearms forum to develop a transition plan for those impacted by the planned changes.
Where can I find out more about weapons categories?
Information on the current categories of weapons can be found at: https://www.police.qld.gov.au/programs/weaponsLicensing/licenceApplication/weapons/categories/categories.htm
Again, I appreciate you taking the time to write to me regarding this issue. While I have taken the time to consider your correspondence, I still strongly believe it’s in our community’s best interests to reclassify the Adler shot gun.