Government folds under firearms industry pressure

Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto has cautiously welcomed a backflip by the State Labor Government that will allow licensed armourers and licensed dealers to provide essential services to primary producers and other industries which rely on weapons to do their jobs.

QUEENSLAND’S licensed firearms dealers and armourers have had a partial win for common sense after the State Labor Government backflipped on a decision to shut them down.

Facing relentless pressure from the agricultural and professional shooting industries, State Agricultural Industry Development Minister Mark Furner announced the policy change late this morning, with a directive from the Chief Health Officer (CHO) now allowing licensed firearms dealers and armourers to provide essential services to primary producers and other industries which rely on firearms to do their jobs.

But Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto, who led the call against the government’s initial decision to completely shut down all firearms dealers and armourers last Saturday, said recreational shooters were still being unfairly targeted.

“I welcome this move by the government, but in reality there was no need to shut down any licensed firearm dealer or armourer in the first place. It created so much unnecessary turmoil and threatened people’s livelihoods,” he said.

“Licensed recreational shooters still appear to be barred from purchasing weapons and ammunition which is an infringement of their rights to enjoy their sport in a safe and responsible manner.

“In my view, so long as you maintain a safe social distance of 1.5m, there should be no reason why a licensed recreational shooter cannot prearrange a visit to a range or private property on his own or with a fellow shooter. That would still respect the public health guidelines that have been set out by the government.”

Under the new directive from the CHO, licensed armourers and dealers may store, modify, repair, acquire or supply weapons and ammunition to commercial pest controllers or feral animal controllers, vets, shark control contractors and a number of other state and federal bodies.

Mr Dametto he and his fellow Katter’s Australian Party MPs would continue to stand up for the right of licensed and responsible firearm owners across Queensland.

“We appreciate the new exemptions but we are still a long way from where we want to land on this issue,” he said.

“Licensed firearm owners are everyday working people who have been unfairly targeted by governments of all political persuasions over the years.

“My promise is that myself and Katter’s Australian Party MPs will always be at the forefront fighting for the rights of responsible licensed firearm owners.”

Kennedy MP Bob Katter said he was “deeply relieved” that “hundreds of thousands of weapons and ammunition will not be sitting in empty unattended firearm shops”.

“People don’t realise that this is an important industry; it’s an essential adjunct to the food production and macropod harvesting industries,” he said.

“We have been passionately fighting this all week, especially Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto.

“It’s a terrific breakthrough and we thank everybody for it.”

Nick Dametto MP