Weapons advisory panel created

A NEW Ministerial Weapons Advisory Panel which has been created by Police and Community Safety Minister Jack Dempsey that will advise him on how to reduce red tape and bureaucracy that legitimate firearms users face when applying for a licence or new weapon.

"The current system inconveniences legal firearms users, like sporting shooters and primary producers, while illegal firearms users are inadequately punished for their disregard of the law," Mr Dempsey said.

"I have created this panel to advise what legal firearms users require and any improvements that are needed, so they can safely enjoy their sport without experiencing mountains of forms and months of delays.

"We will also be sending a strong message to illegal firearms users that their actions will not be tolerated and they will face harsh punishments for the misuse of we apons.

"I'm confident this panel will be able to help me strike a balance between being tough on illegal firearms while understanding of occupational and sporting shooters needs."

Firearms Dealers Association of Queensland president Robert Nioa is a member of the panel and welcomed its creation.

"The Minister has indicated that he will be looking at ways of reducing red tape for licensed firearm owners, whilst improving public safety by targeting criminal use of illegal firearms. These are objectives I wholeheartedly endorse," Mr Nioa said.

Sporting Shooters Association of Australia (SSAA) president Geoff Jones said he was heartened by Mr Dempsey's positive actions.

"SSAA Qld believes that the current firearm's licensing legislation and system is not evidence based and does little to contribute to public safety or the public interest," Mr Jones said.

"It is misdirected, unwieldy, costly, error ridden and is rapidly becoming unworkable."

Panel member and International Coalition for Women in Shooting and Hunting chairwoman Samara McPhedran also commended the move.

"I am especially pleased that the Minister recognises the ever increasing number of women active in the Queensland firearms community, and has ensured women are represented on his panel," Dr McPhedran said.

"This is an important step towards a more practical, common sense approach to firearms management in Queensland."

The Ministerial Weapons Advisory Panel will consist of:

• Robert Nioa, President, Firearms Dealers Association of Queensland
• Paul Feeney, Queensland Shooters Association
• Geoff Jones, President, Sporting Shooters Association of Australia (Qld)
• Dr Samara McPhedran, chairwoman, International Coalition for Women in Shooting and Hunting (WISH)
• Rob Harrold, Secretary, Shooters Union
• David Kelly, Halls Firearms, Townsville

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