In true government style when no-one was paying attention on a Friday afternoon, the ‘new’ National Firearms Agreement was released by the Attorney General’s office on Friday. The review took two years, wasted a ton of public money, took no intentional public consultation other than an inadvertent leak of the Attorney General’s email address – all for a ton of authoritarian bureaucrat self-importance.
At first glance, many questions arise. There are a few changes to the handgun part of the NFA which need further clarification. However, two changes stand out the most.
All PTA’s now 28 days? What would this achieve? Nothing. How much time and money would it waste? A lot.
For example, the current turnaround for PTA’s in Victoria is usually as little as a few hours. Why would an efficient processing system then suddenly decide to turn around and arbitrarily extend waiting periods on each subsequent purchase, all for the sake of “public safety”? This would only do one thing – blowout public costs and further add fuel to the fire of abolishing the registry. It would do absolutely nothing to stop criminal misuse of firearms but we didn’t really need to make that point again.
Exactly what Michael Gannon and the rest of the Clown Doctors, sorry, the Australian Medical Association has been calling for the past few weeks. As we and others have repeatedly pointed out, firearm registration is an expensive, unproven joke.
The recent revelation that the Victorian Registry costs $9 million a year to run (multiply that by twenty and again by eight for the approximate national cost since 1996), yet still managed to leak the details of over 8000 firearm owners eight times via the DELWP, puts paid to this ridiculous idea. The money gained from scrapping registration a la Canada and New Zealand, where the sky never fell in either, and redirected into other more beneficial community programs is never discussed.
The government’s recent string of IT failures also just shows you how ideology has taken over on the firearms issue. Why give criminals eight databases to target when they can now target one nationally? Yes, Crimtrac is already in place but it’s annual report shows nothing of benefit in terms of crimes stopped or prevented by a registry.
Essentially, the NFA released on Friday was nothing more than a copy and paste of the original NFA – hardly anything has changed. The only real change of note was the ridiculous move of lever action shotguns to their respective categories.
When you call something an ‘agreement’ but have to financially blackmail several states with federal funding to even get it considered, you’ve already cheapened the term ‘agreement’. The NFA holds no legally binding power and it’s essentially an informal ‘agreement’ which in reality shouldn’t exist.
The one concern is that this latest ‘revision’ is part of a broader, long term move to take firearms out of the state’s hands and into the hands of the federal government – a dangerous precedent. This would require a constitutional change, however the esteemed scumbags in Canberra have made subversion of the constitution almost an art form over the years, primarily by pulling the federal funding card, aka the “John Howard special.”
While it seems Western Australia has already decided to sidestep the voters and amend the firearm regulations regarding lever action shotguns, the battle ground of Queensland is where the real action is. If the polls hold to their line then the National Firearms Agreement is in for a rude shock.
It’s in the hands of the voters and shooters now.