Today’s announcement that the Victorian Police Minister has assured SSAA Victoria only two amendments will be made to the Victorian Firearms Act is highly significant. Interpreting the 1996 National Firearms Agreement (NFA) or the new 2017 NFA alone is challenging. But identifying the differences between the two documents is even more difficult.
The table below is designed to inform SSAA Victoria members of the real threat facing firearm owners earlier this year. In February, just five months ago, it became clear that the NFA consultation at a national level was disingenuous. At that time, the Victorian Police Minister, who was unwilling to meet with the firearms industry, appeared ready to adopt all of the NFA changes.
The centre column of the below table outlines some of the major changes to firearm laws set-out in the NFA (1996 and 2017); in the left-hand column is what the anti-gun groups lobbied the government for; and in the right-hand column are the changes we now face.
While it is disappointing lever-action shotguns will be recategorised, the outcome would have been far worse without the firearm industry’s active lobbying efforts. Let’s also not forget that removing address from firearm licences will now improve security for every firearm owner.
Make no mistake – this was a win for shooters.
What the antis wanted
What was proposed
What Victoria will get
|No access to firearms without a licence (no come-and-try)||No junior licences||Addresses removed from firearm licences|
|No junior firearm licences||Tafe-level safety training prior to firearm licences being issued||Lever-action shotguns recategorised|
|No lever-action firearms||Transferring conditions governed by the Firearms Act into regulations, so they could be changed without Parliamentary approval|
|No firearms above one-shot||Mandatory 28-day waiting periods for all permits to acquire|
|End goal: No private firearm ownership||Post WWII pistols currently allowed to be owned by collectors as operable, to be made inoperable|
|Onerous requirements for storage where multiple firearms are kept at one property|
|Restrictions to approved target shooting organisations and events that meet genuine reason requirement|
|Recategorising lever-action shotguns with a magazine capacity no greater than five rounds from A to B|
|Obtaining a licence for an ‘occupational’ interest changed from “genuine reason” to “genuine need” – a harder test|
|The removal of Category C and D firearms from occupational/professional shooters would restrict professional pest culling operations or make them ineffective.|
|In the 1996 Agreement the word ‘must’ is used 15 times and in the 2002 Agreement six times. In the 2017 Agreement the word is used 58 times. It means what was discretionary would become mandatory.|
|Firearm licence number of both an individual and a dealer to be published in public advertisements along with a firearms serial numbers.|