#Law Reform
Australian political parties

Following the Port Arthur massacres in 1997, Prime Minister John Howard, then newly elected, immediately took the gun law proposals developed from the report of the 1988 National Committee on Violence and urged the states to adopt them under a National Firearms Agreement. This was necessary because the Australian Constitution does not give the Commonwealth power to enact gun laws.

The proposals included a ban on all semi-automatic rifles and all semi-automatic and pump-action shotguns, and a tightly restrictive system of licensing and ownership controls. Some discussion of measures to allow owners to undertake modifications to reduce the capacity of magazine-fed shotguns occurred, but the Government decided not to permit this.

Public feeling after the Port Arthur shootings overwhelmed the opposition from gun owners' organisations and the Commonwealth cooperated with all states to agree to their proposals without change.

The Government planned a series of public meetings with farmers and sporting shooters to explain the proposed changes. Many sporting shooters viewed the proposed changes as a hasty 'knee-jerk' reaction by the Government that lacked a serious discussion of the issue beforehand. In the first meeting, on the advice of his security team, Mr. Howard wore a bullet-resistant vest, which was visible under his jacket. This was perceived as a deeply offensive act by the shooters, and their outrage was interpreted by many of the media and the public to show that ordinary shooters were dangerous and contemptible.

Some shooters applied to join the Liberal Party of Australia in an attempt to influence the Government, but the Liberal Party barred them from membership. A court action by 500 shooters seeking admission to membership failed in the Supreme Court of South Australia.

This legislation was enacted using information that was and still is largely baseless and the reasoning so often given is flawed. Many statistical reports will prove that the 1997 NFA achieved little to nothing regarding reducing firearm related offences whithin Australia.


Petition for the abolishment of the National Firearms Agreement 1997

By signing this petition I acknowledge that I pledge my full support to the National Firearm Owners Action Group for the abolishment of the National Firearms Agreement 1997 and a change in firearm legislation to reflect countries such as New Zealand whom take a measured and reasonable approach to firearm legislation.

Furthermore I pledge to support any legitimate action the NFOAG takes on a federal or state level to allow an environment of natural justice and rights to sporting shooters within Australia.

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The Firearm owners for the abolishment of the 1997 National Firearms Agreement (Australia) petition to Australian political parties was written by Buck12 and is in the category Law Reform at GoPetition.