THE ACT has today, March 30, become the first jurisdiction to move towards restricting access to rapid fire lever action shotguns according to the Minister for Police and Emergency Services Mick Gentleman.
Following the review of the National Firearms Agreement (NFA) in December last year, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) agreed to re-categorise lever action shotguns.
The Bill will meet the government’s commitment at COAG and aligns with the revised NFA, released in February this year.
“The amended classifications strike an appropriate balance between the right of the community to live safely and the interests of licensed firearm users,” Mr Gentleman says.
“The existence of lever action shotguns is not a new development. However, the concern of law enforcement agencies is that the Adler A110 lever action shotgun has a significant rate of fire, combined with a greater magazine capacity than the vast majority of lever action shotguns currently available in Australia.”
The “Firearms Amendment Bill 2017” will amend existing legislation to re-categorise lever action shotguns from Category A, for those with a magazine capacity of; up to five rounds to Category B, and more than five rounds to Category D.
Category B licenses are restricted to farmers and people with a specific need for using the firearm, such as recreational hunters or pest controllers.
A Category D classification is more restrictive – limiting the accessibility of firearms under that class to professional shooters and primary producers who have a genuine need that can’t be met by another firearm.
“As technology evolves, lever action shotguns of any brand become more sophisticated and potentially more dangerous when in the wrong hands,” Mr Gentleman says.
“It is important that our legislation keeps up with technology and effectively regulates firearms as changes and modifications occur.”
The importation of lever action shotguns with a magazine capacity greater than five rounds was temporarily prohibited by the Australian Government in 2015.
This was a response to the imminent arrival in Australia of a significant number of lever action shotguns with a magazine capacity of seven rounds, in particular the Adler A110.