THE NSC HAS OFFERED to work with the Shooting Industry Foundation of Australia (SIFA) on the recent announcement by FedEx / TNT Express that it will cease transporting firearms and ammunition in Australia.
The news, which was first broken to the NSC through our industry channels, has also been reported on SIFA’s website which can be seen by clicking here.
After being approached by several suppliers earlier this year about restrictions that had already been placed on the movement of firearms, the NSC started speaking with FedEx’s Managing Director of Legal services, Mr Michael Brennan.
While these discussions continued for several months, it was clear that their mind may have already been made up.
Competition law: why the words “substantially lessening competition” matter
In his response to the NSC which arrived this week, Mr Brennan denied that FedEx’s conduct is “substantially lessening competition” in the firearms market.
While that phrase will seem to be an odd one to use, it has a very important meaning. It’s a legal phrase used in ‘competition law’ that can cost companies millions of dollars in penalties – and jail time for those involved.
It is there to keep markets open and operating fairly, including from the abuse of “market power”.
We know that because it’s something we have expertise in.
Our experience with competition law. And the freight industry
One of the executive members of the NSC is a former investigator with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
He helped lead the Melbourne part of the ACCC’s national investigation and prosecution of TNT Australia and others for cartel conduct in the freight industry which led to fines of $11m.
While the executive member is no longer with the ACCC and the nature of this allegation different, his first hand experience in competition law – and in particular with the express freight market – could be a major asset to SIFA. At the very least, it’s an avenue of co-operation that can help our industry fight back over treatment like this.
We’ll let you know if SIFA takes up the offer.
FedEx’s CEO – a shooter?
In the meantime, the CEO of FedEx internationally is Mr Frederick Smith (pictured) who we understand from an industry source that Mr Smith is an enthusiastic shooter and gun collector.
We have written to Mr Smith on that understanding, seeking his support to have the ban by the Australian arm of his business overturned.
We’ll let you know if we hear from him.
Ironically, in 2018 – and on the topic of gun policy – FedEx released the following statement which is still on their website:
Unfortunately it looks like the memo never reached Australia.
If you’re a competition law expert interested in helping to make this matter TNT Competition Law Court Case Mk2, why not drop us a line (by clicking here)?