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Very Light Magazine is a magazine of The Antique & Historical Arms Collectors Guild of Victoria, Inc                                                                              No 87 April 2017

 

THE THREAT TO COLLECTORS POSED BY THE DRAFT 2017 NATIONAL FIREARMS AGREEMENT

 

With the customary clandestine approach we have come to expect from government the Federal Minister for Justice, Michael Keenan released the draft of the 2017 National Firearms Agreement late on Friday the 17th of February. The draft NFA is an attempt to combine elements of the 1996 NFA and the 2002 National Pistol Agreement and utterly fails to produce a reasoned sensible approach to firearms regulation and is especially harsh on collectors. This document was drafted without any attempts to consult with firearms owners’ organizations and clearly was produced by a coterie of police and public servants intent on attacking firearms ownership in Australia. What was meant initially to be a simple clarification of the Adler shotgun matter and an examination of new technology was used as a means to attack all aspects of firearms ownership in this country. This is a serious and wanton departure from assurances made by Mr. Keenan when the review of the 1996 NFA was announced.

 

Since the Guild became aware of the content of the 2017 NFA we have been working hard to protect our interests and our members. To do this effectively has meant that we have united with all the other firearms’ owners organizations in Victoria to ensure that our united resources can be brought to the fight. The Guild has joined with the Combined Firearms Council of Victoria; SSAA (Vic.); SSAA (NSW); Field & Game (Vic); the IPSC and VAPA; to hire the services of specialist firearms lobbyists to approach politicians. Also each organization has been seeking meetings with politicians to argue for having the worst elements of this NFA either removed or not translated into new state regulations.

 

Collectors are but a small part of the firearms owning public but the juxtaposition of clauses from the 1996 Agreement and the 2002 Agreement has had the effect of changing both those Agreements to our detriment. These changes do not just limit what we can collect but have very serious financial implications for any collector who owns handguns manufactured after 1946 because unlike the original 1996 Agreement there is no provision for compensation.

 

The 1996 Agreement required that firearms in a collection manufactured after 1946 must be rendered inoperable but it did not define “inoperable”. The 2002 National Pistol Agreement sought to clarify that and required that all pistols be rendered “temporarily inoperable” regardless of the date of manufacture. It does not require that any firearm be rendered “permanently inoperable” except for semi-automatic longarms.

 

The 2017 Agreement has included both requirements (Clauses 19 and 37) which has had the effect of defining “inoperable” as “permanently inoperable” which is inconsistent with the 2002 Agreement and not supported by the 1996 Agreement.

 

The consequences of this are to impose a condition on collectors not contained in either the 1996 Agreement or the 2002 Agreement. This condition imposes a financial cost on affected collectors by requiring them to destroy their property by rendering working pistols permanently deactivated.

 

Therefore it is imperative that Clauses 19 and 37 must be revised to ensure that the word “inoperable” does not mean “permanently inoperable”

 

But at a much higher level this is not about deactivation or the lack of compensation, it is about an attack on collectors who are the most highly regulated of firearms owners which tells us that government feels that that we cannot be trusted to own working pistols manufactured after 1946. So what is next to be subjected to “permanent inoperability”? Will it be pistols manufactured before 1946 and so it goes in this “free” country. Once again our firearms laws are inflicted on us without any consultation by police and the public servants who willingly admit to their ignorance of firearms. The full text of the 2017 NFA can be found here –

 

https://www.ag.gov.au/CrimeAndCorruption/Firearms/Documents/2017-national-firearms-agreement.pdf

We urge all our members to contact their state and federal MPs and express their anger about the 2017 NFA and its conditions. If you want any advice regarding this ask the Guild Secretary on 9584 2907 or cupfire1@ozemail.com.au

 

Meeting with Victorian Shadow Attorney-General regarding the National Firearms Agreement and the matter of Registration of Multi-shot Percussion Antique Pistols

 

 

On Tuesday 28th of March the Guild President Eric Estlin and the Secretary Dr Malcolm McKay met with the state Liberal shadow Attorney General John Pesutto the member for Hawthorn and the Liberal member for Burwood Graham Watt. The meeting was arranged to make them aware of the problems created for collectors by the 2017 National Firearms Agreement.

 

We told them that the 2017 NFA had been prepared by the federal Minister for Justice Michael Keenan in complete disregard of his stated brief in which he had indicated that the review would only concern the Adler shotgun, matters of new technology and blend them into a new document. We explained that the matter of permanent inoperability for handguns manufactured after 1946 owned by collectors was not in either the 1996 NFA or the 2002 National Pistol Agreement. We told them that the present situation was that they only required temporary disablement while locked in collectors’ safes. We explained that no evidence had been offered in the text of the NFA to justify this extreme step and that at no time in creation of this document was consultation undertaken with firearms owners’ organizations who do actually have a greater knowledge of the subject than the police upon whom the Minister appears to have relied solely for advice; nor did we know of any instances of misuse by collectors, or of these being stolen from collectors. Further to that with we informed them that there was no recognition in the NFA of compensation of people forced to render their valuable personal property worthless – we stressed however that we wanted to be able to keep our pistols operable under the conditions in Victoria’s current legislation.

 

We also raised the matter of rescinding the regulations that require that antique multi-shot percussion pistols to be registered as there was no evidence of their misuse and had never been any evidence of this in modern times. In fact these had been free of registration from 1984 to 2002 without any problems at all.

 

Mr. Pesutto and Mr. Watt promised to look into the situation.

 

Our President has also been in contact with Kelly O’Dwyer the Federal Minister for Revenue and Financial Services, and member for Higgins to express our concerns at the conditions in the 2017 NFA and annoyance at the manner in which this document was created without any consultation with firearms owners’ organizations and the subsequent stealthy release for public comment.

 

 

Retirement of Guild Secretary

 

The Guild is seeking expressions of interest from any members who would like to take over the position of Guild Secretary.

 

After 13 years of valiant service the current secretary, Dr Malcolm McKay, advised the committee that he would not nominate for reelection at the 2017 Annual General Meeting. Malcolm feels that he would like to hand over the reins to a fresh pair of hands and enjoy life as an active ordinary guild member.

 

Details of the position and the work involved can be obtained from the Secretary on 9584 2907. Remuneration is offered.

 

Quarterly Guild Lunches

 

Lunches are being enjoyed by a regular convivial group. The dates chosen are the second Wednesdays in the month – quarterly. The remaining dates in 2017 are; 10th of May, 9th of August and the 8th of November. Venue, as usual, is the German Club, 291 Dandenong Road, Windsor.

 

No need to book – just turn up 12.15 for 12.30 sit down.

 

Monday Night Themes for 2017

 

 

24 April – European arms & militaria – This is a Noel Hall Award night.

 

29 May – Asian & Middle Eastern arms & militaria – This is a Noel Hall Award night.

 

26 June – Small things of interest, any category – This is a Noel Hall Award night.

 

31 JulyA Story to Tell, arms & militaria with known provenance – This is a Noel Hall

                Award night.

 

28 August – Annual General Meeting and presentation of the Noel Hall Award. A supper

                     will be served.

 

25 September – Buy and sell night, books, parts, odds and sods – anything except reg.

                           firearms.

 

30 October – General unthemed display night with buy and sell.

 

27 November – Vintagers Night – theme to be announced. Supper will be served.

 

 

Advertisements in Very Light

 

Members are reminded that they can place advertisements in Very Light if they have items for sale. There isn’t any charge but people offering registerable firearms are reminded that the actual transaction must be carried out through a licensed dealer. We suggest that for security purposes anyone wishing to advertise items for sale should keep their contact details brief such as just first name and land line or mobile number.

 

Also if you are seeking a particular item then you may run an advertisement free of charge. Again we suggest for security that you restrict the contact detail to your name and a landline or mobile number.

 

 

Name Badges

 

 

Members are reminded that the Guild is taking orders for name badges for members. The cost is $15.00. The badge is depicted below

 

 

If you want one and haven’t ordered it please contact the Secretary by telephone on 9584 2907, or by email at – cupfire1@ozemail.com.au


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