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SA Meet In Regards To National Firearms Agreement 2017

2017-02-28

An email to PSQ from Shooting Australia  30 March 2017

 

Subject: National Firearms Agreement 2017 SIFA NFA COMPARISON DOC

 Hi All

 Further to my emails below the purpose of this email is to give you a brief update on the meeting I and representatives of other shooting organisations att

Hi All

Below is an update on the status of discussions at the Federal Government level with regard to the recently released National Firearms Agreement (NFA) 2017:

I attended the Firearms Industry Reference Group (FIRG) meeting with Minister Keenan at Parliament House, Canberra yesterday 29.3.17. 

Attached is an email with attachments that I sent to Minister Keenan earlier this month regarding issues with the NFA 2017. 

Attached also is a document prepared by the Shooting Industry Foundation of Australia (SIFA) regarding the NFA.  Both the Shooting Australia (SA) and SIFA submissions were discussed at the FIRG meeting yesterday.

When representatives of SIFA, the Shooters Union of Australia and I met with Minister Keenan and Bridget McKenzie (Chair of the Parliamentary Friends of Shooters Group) on 27.2.17, the Minister was of the view that the only change in the NFA was the reclassification of lever action shotguns.  He agreed to look further only at issues that could be demonstrated as a further tightening / restricting of the NFA 1996.

The issue here is that many politicians think the only change made to the NFA 2017 is a reclassification of lever action shotguns. However the AGD, assumedly supported by COAG, have taken the opportunity to make several changes, mainly by ‘language creep’, as demonstrated in the attached SIFA document.

Unfortunately the Minister made it clear at the FIRG meeting yesterday that the Government does not intend to make amendments to the NFA 2017.  He and AGD staff repeatedly pushed back on any suggested NFA amendments stating that the NFA 2017 is an overarching agreement that “is not legally binding on the States/Territories” who have in place their own Firearms Legislation and Regulations.  This is contrary to the Minister’s advice at the meeting on 27.2.17 where he said AGD will take on board advice from stakeholders on points of difference in the NFA 2017 to the previous NFA 1996.

The message from the Minister for Justice is that the Federal Government does not have a plan to amend the NFA 2017 and that it “is not legally binding on the States/Territories”.  Therefore Shooting Australia recommends to Member Bodies to encourage your State/Territory associations to be proactive in their respective jurisdictions to avoid tightening / further restrictions in their State/Territory legislation.

Kind regards 

Cath

Cath Fettell 

President

 

Shooting Australia

GPO Box 16 Canberra ACT 2601
mobile:  0402 314 536
www.shootingaustralia.org

       

 

ed today (27 February 2017)at Parliament House in Canberra with Minister Michael Keenan, Minister for Justice and Senator Bridget McKenzie to discuss issues arising from the recently released National Firearms Agreement 2017 (NFA 2017). 

 Following introductory comments from Senator McKenzie on the issues facing law abiding licensed firearms owners as a result of the NFA 2017 Minister Keenan acknowledged correspondence he has recently received from shooting organisations and the points raised therein.  Minister Keenan noted that the original version of the NFA 2017 has been amended to take account of an incorrect cross reference in clause 7.  The amended version is now on the Attorney General’s Department (AGD) website.

 Following much discussion in which the Minister was requested to withdraw the NFA 2017 and/or put a caveat on it that it is subject to further amendment, the Minister advised that the NFA 2017 is as agreed by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) between the Commonwealth of Australia and the eight States and Territories and it will stand.

 The Minister undertook to look into any identified errors in the NFA 2017 and if substantiated then AGD will take corrective action.  He emphasised that the NFA 2017 is a restatement of the NFA 1996 with the inclusion of the National Handgun Agreement 2002 (NHA).  The Minister advised that if there are matters in the NFA 2017 that are written substantively different to those same matters in the NFA 1996 and NHA then they will be amended.  AGD officers indicated that they are confident that the NFA 2017 contains the same material as the NFA 1996 and NHA. 

 The Minister noted that in addition to restating the contents of NFA 1996 with the inclusion of the NHA, the NFA 2017 deals with the firearm category that will apply to the Adler shotgun and this is as intended and agreed by COAG.  The only legislative change that the Minister is expecting the States/Territories to implement is in relation to the Adler. The Minister indicated that there is no indication that States/Territories are planning additional legislation/regulation changes.

Senator McKenzie sought assurance that States/Territories would not use the NFA 2017 to change their existing legislation and regulations.  The Minister advised that there was no undertaking from States/Territories as to future State legislation and regulation changes regarding firearms.  The Minister noted that legislation takes priority, the NFA is not binding on States.

 In summary the outcomes of the meeting today are:

  • The NFA 2017 is as agreed by the COAG between the Commonwealth of Australia and the eight States and Territories and it will stand.
  • There is no intention by the Federal Govt to reconsider matters in the original NFA or NHA now restated in the new NFA that shooting organisations want ‘changed’.
  • If there are matters in the NFA 2017 that are written substantively differently to those same matters in the NFA 1996 and NHA then they will be amended.
  • The Minister is expecting the States/Territories authorities to implement legislation regarding the firearm category that will apply to the Adler shotgun.
  • The Minister advised that there is no indication that States/Territories are planning additional legislation/regulation changes however there is no undertaking from States/Territories as to possible future State legislation and regulation changes regarding firearms.

From the above we can conclude that:

  • any future changes to existing State/Territory firearms legislation and regulation flowing from NFA 2017 is at the discretion of the relevant States/Territories authorities. 
  • There is a need for stakeholders at State/Territory level to get in contact with their Police Ministers and seek their assurance that they will not change their existing legislation to replicate the new NFA.

 If you have identified any errors and/or other matters in the NFA 2017 that are written substantively differently to those same matters in the NFA 1996 and NHA please advise by return email and Shooting Australia will take to the Minister and Senator.

 

Kind regards

 

Catherine Fettell 

President