South Australian state election - 19 March 2022
SHOOTERS in South Australia have some of the most draconian firearm regulations anywhere – and a police minister who, as far as we know, hasn’t lifted a finger to help them.
The government even has a regulation in place that requires shooters to dob in their mates.
This How-to-Vote information is MUST READ for every shooter in South Australia.
SA shooters go to the polls on March 19, with early voting already under way. This article is to help them work out who to vote for in both the lower and upper houses. It was prepared in consultation with the Combined Firearms Council of South Australia.
Meet SA's Police Minister, Vincent Tarzia
This How-To-Vote advice is bad news for the Liberals because of the way their police ministers have treated shooters.
First, there’s the story of the shooter who went to his local MP for help with his licence.
Minister Tarzia flicked the matter to SA Police without responding to the MP or shooter. The good news is that the SA Police fixed the shooter’s licence issue, and we’d like to thank Mr Bignell for his help. However Tarzia’s lack of engagement in this matter left us unimpressed.
Unfortunately this is consistent with the Minister’s failure to address problems with the state’s firearms regulations, which are a major problem for shooters in SA.
Tarzia also recently oversaw the management of the decision by SA Police to reclassify the Ruger PC Charger.
We’re fighting this in the SA Civil and Administrative Tribunal however the fact that the minister once again doesn’t appear to be showing any interest, just deepens our view that the former Rostrevor Head Prefect and Dux isn’t shooter friendly, and doesn’t seem to have any intention to be.
SA’s Police Minister, Vincent Tarzia
SA's draconian firearm regulations
The main issue driving our recommendations is the Firearm Regulations 2017.
These regulations predate Tarzia’s tenure as police minister, so we don’t blame him for bringing them in. However, he’s the current police minister which means he’s responsible for deciding whether they stay or go.
The way regulations work – unlike legislation which has to go through parliament – imeans Tarzia could easily remove or amend them. Instead he’s done nothing about them that we know of.
Here’s what the regulations do:
- Gel blasters aren’t just firearms. The regs classify them as ‘automatic firearms’.
Shooter, clubs & dealers
- Shooting clubs must notify the registry when someone joins the club within 28 days.
- The graduation to above 22 calibre for handgun shooters is 12 months, while it is 6 months in some other jurisdictions – and contrary to what the National Firearms Agreement says.
- Dealers who display firearms at ‘arms fairs’ cannot exhibit more 2 or more identical firearms or firearm parts. They also cannot display more than 50 rounds of identical ammunition.
Licences, usage & possession
- Firearm licences are for 3 years, while they run for 5 years in other places.
- Qualification to hold a firearm licence includes a practical examination.
- Individuals can loan firearms in other states without a problem, but in SA, the individuals must keep copies of a written agreement and be penalised $2,500 if they don’t.
- Loans from firearm dealers must also be in writing. In this instance, a person who fails to keep a copy of the agreement with the firearm can be fined $5,000 for two new offences.
- A person who is not a licensed shooter who joins a club is required to have a notice from the registry that they are ‘fit and proper’ to be granted membership of the club – making it harder for new starters to get involved.
- If that person wants to join a pistol club, then they’ll need two referees.
Dobbing in your mate
- If a person who has access to premises where a firearm is kept has reasonable cause to suspect that another person who has a ‘physical illness’ has access to the same premises, then they must be reported to the registry. That’s social cleansing.
- If a person ‘becomes aware’ that another person who has firearms or ammunition has failed to store their firearm or ammunition properly, then they must also report that to the registry.
- Safe requirements are that the minimum wall thickness is 2mm. Other states require 1.2 or 1.6mm.
- If the firearm is not kept under the main roof of the residence, such as in an outbuilding, that wall thickness is 3mm.
Voting in the lower house (Legislative Assembly)
For the above reasons, our advice is to simply vote against the Liberal Government EXCEPT as listed below.
The exceptions are:
- Electorate of Stuart: The Liberal MP is Dan van Holst Pellekaan. Dan is a firearms owner and member of the SSAA. He understands what is needed.
- Electorate of Morialta: The Liberal MP is John Gardner. John has supported the CFCSA on legislative issues.
- Electorate of Gibson: The Liberal MP is Corey Wingard. John has also supported the CFCSA on legislative issues.
- Electorate of Mt Gambier: The independent MP is Troy Bell.
Troy is a strong supporter of shooting clubs in Mt Gambier.
This is not an endorsement for Labor although the reality for many shooters is that they might not have any other option. However we feel it’s important to send the Liberals the message that they need to take better care of shooters.
There are two exceptions where we do recommend shooters vote Labor. Those are:
- Electorate of Croydon: The Labor MP is Peter Malinauskas. Peter is the Labor leader and as noted above, has helped shooters on some changes to the firearm regulations.
- Electorate of Mawson: The Labor MP is Leon Bignall. Leon helped a shooter in need as we mentioned earlier.
Support the minor pro-gun parties where you Can!
.. don't forget the upper house!
SA also has an upper house (Legislative Council). Neither side holds a majority, with SA-BEST and the Greens effectively holding the balance of power.
Our recommendation is to vote for whichever party you prefer, but we do recommend you support the candidates who have been recommended by the CFCSA.
Click here for that list.
We gave them a chance
Last year we wrote to major parties ahead of this year’s elections, including the SA Liberals.
In our letter we offered to help work with them to develop a more suitable firearms policy ahead of the election.
The Liberals did not respond, so we need to send them the message that they need to start taking shooters’ concerns seriously.
Thanks to those who helped us
This advice has been prepared in consultation with the CFCSA.
To see the CFCSA’s advice to it’s members, click on the links below:
Donate to our election campaigns
Not sure what seat your in?
If you want more information on the election, including the full lists of candidates, click here to go to the SA Electoral Commission’s website
Later this year, we’ll be posting How-To-Vote advice for the Federal election (May) and Victorian State Election (November).
Authorised L. Lowe, National Shooting Council, Melbourne.