'Ignored' NRA-linked gun lobby takes aim at govt
GUN enthusiasts from the Darling Downs have joined a coalition of gun lobbyists in blasting the state government for disbanding an advisory group.
In an open letter to Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, members of the Queensland Ministerial Weapons Advisory Panel said they were deeply concerned the views of experts were being ignored ahead of a national review ordered in the wake of the Lindt café siege.
Shooters Union Queensland, an international affiliate of the United States NRA, is behind the letter.
The lobbyists say that despite the panel being set up at no cost to the government, and a direction from the Premier to consult with interested groups, Police Minister Jo-Anne Miller has ignored letters and representations from the group for the past six months.
Shooters Union Queensland President Graham Park said the move meant Queensland firearm owners' views were being ignored despite the issue being at the centre of intense public debate.
"Now, more than ever, it is important to get a cross-section of views of those involved with firearms - so it is disappointing those with most experience, including those who need to use firearms for their jobs, are being shut out," Mr Park said.
"The panel made sensible suggestions which were adopted by government including educating licence applicants to cut down on processing times, and helping appropriately licensed primary producers, in particular, to replace firearms more efficiently.
"These recommendations were broadly supported and have reduced red tape and cost for the government and owners, so it makes little sense to suddenly ignore these experts without explaining why."
Earlier this year the Shooters Union called for increased penalties for the theft of firearms, which currently carry the same consequences as stealing a television.
"We represent ordinary Queenslanders across the state, including those living in Darling Downs, who support sensible legislation for the licensing, storage and use of firearms and believe it is only reasonable the views of our members are heard."
Shooters Union Queensland aims to promote the rights of responsible firearms owners, educate the general public about firearms issues and support sensible firearms legislation covering licensing, use and storage.