The NSC has written to Victorian MP, Jeff Bourman (SFFP) with a proposal to join forces to work towards improvements to the state’s Firearms Act and the way it is administered.

The proposal

The NSC sees the problems that shooters face as being much deeper than “a couple of bad laws” that need to be changed. It goes into the way policy is made, the way we are shut out of any consultations over gun laws and routinely treated inappropriately by bureaucrats, including our regulators (police). 

In order to address these, the NSC has been using its inhouse expertise by those whose day jobs are in government and legislative processes, to develop a new framework that would resolve these problems.

We know that both sides of parliament will be reluctant to do anything that would be seen as simply ‘changing our gun laws’. However we are confident that we can get a fundamental change to the way our firearm laws are framed and managed right, which would be a significant step in the right direction.

The NSC has developed close working relationships with the Liberal Democrats and the Opposition, while Mr Bourman has developed a close working relationship with the current Labor government.  While this has caused its own problems, we need Labor on board if we are to get changes we need. This is where Mr Bourman can help us all.

The NSC’s approach to Jeff Bourman

In our letter to him, the NSC asks Mr Bourman for his agreement to seek:

“… key changes to the Firearms Act 1996 and to the way it is administered. To do this we are hoping to secure your help in proposing a bill and related commitments from the government that would address a number of issues, most of which you will be familiar with.”

The changes we will propose can be boiled down to three broad categories:

  • Portfolio focus: We believe that a dedicated ministerial portfolio to support and encourage shooting as a sport needs to be created that is readily accessible to the NSC and separated from the criminal issues that come with illegal firearm use; 
  • Policy engagement: The current consultation processes do not work. We need there to be mandatory consultation on key legislative and policy proposals affecting shooters through key shooting organisations including the NSC; and
  • Economic development: The proper value of shooting needs to be recognised and supported with an economic development policy which can justify further government investment in what we do – such as developing new ranges, hunting areas and so on.

Establishing these would establish a platform which can lead to other improvements, including the changes to the laws that we need. Until then we will be continually fighting bad laws in a system that has been neglected, ridiculed and even abused.

Cashing in Labor credits

As we say in our letter to Mr Bourman, the NSC has noted that he has: 

“built up significant credits with Labor, including by helping to pass the donation laws and more recently, extending the pandemic lockdown”

If he has credits, then we need to cash them in now – otherwise they will be wasted.

The ball is in Jeff Bourman’s court, so the time for the SFFP to really stand up for shooters is now.

Click here to see our letter.

We’ll let you know what his response is – it is due to us on  November 26.

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