The Liberal/National Firearms Policy for the 2007 NSW election is now available: 2007 NSW Liberal-National Firearms Policy. Key points are in italics as follows:
This will begin with an overhaul of NSW Firearm Registry to make it a customer service orientated organisation responsive to the needs of law-abiding firearms owners.
We will also re-establish a Permanent Standing Committee on Firearm Regulation consisting of licensed firearm owners, Firearms Registry Officials and the NSW Police Force. The Standing Committee will, on an ongoing basis, seek submissions, review and advise on all matters relating to firearms regulation and legislation.
As part of the review of firearms regulations the NSW Liberal/Nationals Coalition will implement practical refinement to firearms laws including:
· Ensuring that once a genuine lawful reason for owning a firearm has been established the licence holder is authorised to use that firearm for other lawful purposes. ie if a Category A licence is issued for the genuine reason of hunting then that firearm can be used for both hunting and target shooting.
· Ensuring the process for the renewal of firearm licences is similar to the process for renewing drivers’ licences.
· Reviewing the processing of permits to acquire a second and/or subsequent firearm by an already licensed firearm owner with a view to making the NSW laws uniform with other states such as WA, Queensland and Victoria.
· In conjunction with other states and territories recognise firearm registrations and firearms licences issued in other states and territories of Australia as being valid in NSW (similar to motor vehicle licences). This will be done with the view of receiving reciprocal recognition.
· Allowing an unlicensed person to participate in target shooting at a registered target-shooting club for a limited period under the direct supervision of an authorised officer of that club.
· Recognising the value of hunting as a tool for pest management and to further develop the role of the NSW Game Council to deal with feral animal control and eradication. This will include considering a fox and feral cat bounty, and re-establishing a commercial market for fox skin.
True, it’s not exactly radical. But perhaps that’s asking too much from the party that spawned the great gun grabber, John Howard. Although some Liberals and most Nationals remain very uncomfortable about Howard’s obsession, he has been remarkably successful in political terms. It might be difficult to hold your nose and applaud at the same time, but they manage it.
These are, nonetheless, distinct improvements over Labor’s position. The Permanent Standing Committee represents a potential opportunity to remove some of the more inane bureaucratic regulations, if nothing else. The opportunity to introduce non-shooters to the sport will at least give it a chance of survival rather than being slowly strangled by regulation.
It would be nice if Labor felt the need to do something similar. Regrettably, the shooting lobby organisations in NSW don’t seem to have made their presence felt in that regard.