With yet another mass shooting in the US, many Australians are rightly thankful for our gun laws, which ban dangerous assault weapons and set in place strong licensing schemes. The effect of Australia’s strong gun control laws is illustrated by the tragic fact that the AR-15 assault rifle used by the murderer in Orlando is the same weapon used to commit the Port Arthur mass shooting in 1996. Following Port Arthur, Australian governments were forced to act and the National Firearms Agreement (NFA) banned the AR-15 and all similar assault rifles in this country.
Despite this success, there are pro-gun MPs in Parliaments across the country planning to weaken our gun laws and tear down the NFA. Many of them openly support the aggressive pro-gun lobbying of the dangerous US National Rifle Association (NRA).
A national review of the NFA is due in August 2016. To date Prime Minister Turnbull has been silent on key gun control issues including an ongoing ban on lever action shot guns such as the Adler A110 and the Pardus LAX, and limits on gun numbers. Now is the time for all national leaders to state their unambiguous support for strengthening and maintaining Australia’s gun control laws.
Greens MP and Firearms Spokesperson David Shoebridge said:
“The gun lobby is already active in Australian Parliaments with pro-gun MPs pushing across the country to tear down the 1996 National Firearms Agreement.
“The National Firearms Agreement is what has kept AR-15 assault rifles such as those used in Port Arthur and Orlando, off our streets for 20 years. It needs to be maintained and strengthened.
“These kinds of assault weapons have only one purpose, the killing of other human beings. They must be kept illegal in Australia, and outlawed globally.
“Despite its success, the NFA is under constant attack from the gun lobby. The current push is to exploit a loop hole in our laws to import and sell dangerous rapid-fire lever action shotguns which, bizarrely, are categorised as the least deadly weapons alongside air-rifles and BB guns.
“Despite the obvious threat from these weapons neither Prime Minister Howard or Opposition leader Bill Shorten have supported a ban on the importation and sale of rapid fire shot guns.
“The Greens understand the attacks that come from the well-organised gun lobby when politicians stand up for public safety and strong gun control laws.
“However fear should never be an excuse for any national leader to stay silent when community safety is at stake.
“Now is the time for both Labor and the Coalition to plainly state that they will ban the importation and sale of dangerous rapid fire shot guns and maintain and strengthen the NFA,” Mr Shoebridge said.