Victoria Police: semi-auto rifles for us, but not for you

Victoria Police being Victoria Police again:

The Victorian government has rejected a recommendation to consider giving recreational hunters access to semi-automatic firearms.

A report following the inquiry into the control of invasive animals earlier this year handed down a series of recommendations, including that the government and Victoria Police consult about the possibility of legalising category C and D firearms for hunting, including semi‑automatic rifles and shotguns and pump‑action shotguns.

It was part of an examination of how to deal with control of pest such as deer in areas including the Alpine National Park.The government response tabled in Parliament supported most of the recommendations, either in full or in principle, but not a relaxing of weapons laws.

“The Victorian government does not support recreational hunters having access to category C and D firearms. This is in line with the National Firearms Agreement,” the report stated.

It also rejected a recommendation to consider allowing hunters to use silencers on their guns.

“Victoria Police does not support the use of noise suppressors (silencers) by recreational hunters unless genuine need and reason can be demonstrated by an applicant – in general terms, a recreational hunter would not meet the requirements,” the report stated.

Well, those were our recommendations to the Inquiry:

“In its submission to the Committee, Firearms Owners United explained how these firearm restrictions reduced the capacity of recreational hunters to undertake effective invasive animal control: The current Victorian Firearms Act makes things incredibly difficult for hunters and firearm licence holders in order to carry out effective culling of invasive species and implement hunting methods. For instance, the current restrictions on semi‑automatic centrefire rifles, which are freely available to firearm licence holders in New Zealand, reduce the effectiveness of hunters in their ability to cull large numbers of invasive species. This is also the same with the absurd state of affairs of pump action shotguns being in a higher category than pump action rifles…”

Kudos to Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party MLC Jeff Bourman who went on to 3AW to defend this position:

No surprise from the Alannah and Madeline Foundation affiliated 3AW crowd. The Facebook comments section produced the usual number of outraged boomers, fudds and armchair experts.

As you can also see another knockdown, well-articulated “argument” from VicPol on suppressors, basically “because we said so.” Why does a recreational hunter not satisfy the absolutely rubbish genuine reason criteria for a suppressor, yet a professional does?

This rejection of the terms of the Inquiry is nothing short of hypocritical from Victoria Police who, along with their NSW counterparts, have been tauting how “awesome” their new rifles are and can’t wait to parade them on New Year’s Eve, right next to the bollards.

There was no indication of who exactly made the decision regarding Cat C and D but that’s not surprising considering Victoria Police and Police Minister Lisa Neville’s recent conduct regarding the latest firearm proposals. And as for the line about “in line with the National Firearms Agreement”, it’s a non-legally binding agreement and the states are free to ignore it. It’s therefore not an argument.

Semi-autos for us, but not for you. Hunting humans with semi-autos is ok, hunting invasive species with them is forbidden? Got it.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with hunting deer with a Modern Sporting Rifle, particularly when they offer the added advantage of quick, humane follow up shots and allow more animals to be taken at one time. In fact, they are a very popular and capable platform for hunting deer in the United States:

The AR-15 is one of the most popular rifle platforms of all time. It only stands to reason that its popularity would bleed over into the hunting world. It has, in a big way. According to a recent study by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, 27 percent of hunters surveyed have used a modern sporting rifle (MSR) in pursuit of game. Of those, 48 percent report having used a MSR within the past five years, illustrating a growth in the use of the platform among those hunters surveyed. Of those answering yes to the use of an MSR for hunting, nearly 60 percent state they have used that platform to hunt large game.

They are also extremely commonplace over the ditch in New Zealand on the lowest category of licence, suppressor included, and in many European countries. There is no reason why they should be restricted for hunting in Australia. If you don’t want to hunt deer or other animals with one, that’s your choice, but you have no business telling other LAFO’s they can’t or shouldn’t.

Australia’s invasive species problem is out of control, so much so that it is one of the main contributing factors that has led to Australia being recently deemed the 2nd worst country in the world for biodiversity loss.

It seems diversity matters in Victoria, just not biodiversity.

The current requirements for Category C and D firearms in Australia are nothing short of ridiculous and are designed to be deliberately onerous. The #1 side effect of this authoritarian bureaucracy being the continued decimation of our native wildlife and the continued toll on our primary producers and farmers at the hands of invasive species.

If Victoria Police are going to discriminate on the basis of “recreational vs professional”, then surely their paltry two pistol shoots a year vs a Category H licence holder’s minimum 10 shoots, qualifies as “recreational.”


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