A proposal by New South Wales Deputy Premier and Police Minister Troy Grant to make it easier to import the controversial Adler shotgun has been welcomed by a Nationals senator as “appropriate”.
The rapid-fire, lever-action shotgun is the subject of a temporary import ban put in place last year, which will not be lifted without the approval of the states and territories.
The ABC has revealed Mr Grant, the NSW Nationals leader, will ask his Cabinet colleagues to endorse a plan to move the shotgun from a category A firearm to category B.
The result of such a move would allow gun users to import the firearm, provided they can explain that it was for a specific purpose like shooting feral pigs.
Victorian Nationals senator Bridget McKenzie has applauded Mr Grant’s proposal, which is expected to be discussed at a meeting of national police and justice ministers in Melbourne at the end of the week.
“The impost of the important restriction was as a result of the states and territories not being able to agree on how to classify the firearm,” Senator McKenzie said.
“I think New South Wales has taken the lead and selected a highly appropriate classification for that particular gun.
“I’d call on states and territories right across the country to actually look at the evidence, take the emotion out of it and seek to classify this gun in an appropriate way, which I believe the leader of the Nationals in New South Wales has done.”
The issue of the Adler shotgun again came to the fore in Parliament House yesterday, when NSW Liberal Democrat senator David Leyonhjelm cried foul over his negotiations with the Government on its industrial relations legislation.
Senator Leyonhjelm said he had an agreement with the Abbott government that the import restriction would be lifted in June, citing an email from the Justice Minister Michael Keenan’s office.
He said he had been “deceived” by the Turnbull Government, which had since backed out of the deal, and he would now make negotiations with the Government over its plans to reintroduce the Australian Building and Construction Commission “difficult”.
Swapping ‘guns for votes’
It led to fiery scenes in the House of Representatives, as the Federal Opposition lobbed allegations at Mr Turnbull he was prepared to swap “guns for votes” — something he vehemently denied.
“I think that in these sort of instances where you are dealing with technology and products that have the potential to cause life and death, you do need to be calm and measured, you do need to use evidence to base your opinions and come to a resolution,” Senator McKenzie said.
“When we get highly emotive in these sort of instances, probably the first casualty is the truth.”
“We need to be very, very careful not to seek the cheap political fix.”
The Victorian senator said her support for Mr Grant’s proposal did not contradict the Prime Minister’s comments that his Government had no plans to water down the nation’s strict gun laws, brought in by former Liberal prime minister John Howard after the Port Arthur massacre.
“Across this country we have over 800,000 law abiding firearm owners, not everybody wants to own a lever-action firearm, in fact they’re hardly the most popular gun on the market,” Senator McKenzie said.
“But there are several thousand Australians who do, and already have purchased the seven-shot, lever-action firearm.
“I don’t think anybody is arguing for a weakening of the National Firearms Agreement, I think it’s worked brilliantly for 20 years.
“It strikes the right balance between confidence in the wider community that the firearms that we do have are stored appropriately, are used appropriately and fit for purpose, and that people who own those guns are law-abiding citizens.”