KAP secures big win for licensed firearms owners

Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto with the owners of Pagan Firearms, Anthony and Tanya Pagan, earlier this year.

A RELENTLESS lobbying effort spearheaded by Katter’s Australian Party (KAP) MPs along with the firearms industry has resulted in a series of crucial firearm license codes needed for land management finally being declared exempt from the State Government’s trading restrictions.

Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto was pleased with the government’s backdown last night, which will allow licensed “occupational shooters” who hold the RE1 and RE2 codes access to firearms and ammunition, provided they supply their most recent local government rates notice evidencing that the licence holder owns rural land, documentation from a rural land owner permitting the licence holder to shoot on the rural land for a rural purpose or documentation evidencing the licence holder has a current rental or agistment arrangement for rural land.

Holders of OC and AC code variants will also be exempt from the government’s firearm trading restrictions.

The government’s backdown comes after Mr Dametto and Hill MP Shane Knuth wrote a series of letters to the Premier, Police Minister, Health Minister and Agriculture Minister calling for the necessary license codes to be exempted.

“Two weeks ago, the State Labor Government unnecessarily issued a blanket shutdown of all licensed firearms dealers and armourers across Queensland with little justification. Now we finally have a win for common sense,” Mr Dametto said.

“These latest exemptions will give the majority of rural property owners, leaseholders and those who work or undertake pest management on properties access to the firearms and ammunition they need to do their essential role. But the fight is not over.”

Mr Dametto said there was still was no reason why licensed recreational and sport shooters should be denied access from purchasing weapons and ammunition from a licensed dealer.

“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,” he said.

“That would still respect the public health guidelines that have been set out by the government.”

Mr Dametto paid tribute to the hundreds of licensed dealers, shooters and industry bodies who got in touch with their local MPs, including his office, to express their concerns after the government’s initial trading exemptions were announced.

“This was a team effort by shooters, dealers and the wider firearms industry to fight back against a blanket rule that should never have been put in place,” he said.

“It is a credit to all organisations in the firearms sector that have been the voice of reason in bringing some fairness to the prejudice that often erupts around licensed firearm ownership.

“It goes to show that the power of a minor party like the KAP to achieve practical outcomes should not be underestimated.

“There is no evidence-based reason these trading restrictions should have ever come into play. The next step is to repeal the rest of these regulations for all shooters so can they regain access to their sport.”

Nick Dametto MP