LAWFUL gun owners will not be targeted by new legislation passed in the Federal Lower House recently designed to curb the movement of illicit firearms throughout Australia.
Queensland Senator and Special Envoy for Northern Australia, Susan McDonald, slammed a misinformation campaign claiming anyone ordering guns and gun parts by mail would face mandatory jail under the new laws.
Senator McDonald strongly supports legitimate gun ownership, and grew up shooting on her family’s Western Queensland cattle station.
“I can’t stress this enough – these new laws target illegal firearms only,” she said.
“For many years, legitimate firearms owners have demanded harsher penalties for gun traffickers and we’re delivering on that.
“It’s not the lawful firearms users committing crimes, it’s criminal gangs and drug syndicates – these are who we’re targeting with these harsher penalties.”
Under the new Criminal Code Amendment (Firearms Trafficking) Bill 2022, the maximum penalty for firearms trafficking will be increased from 10 to 20 years’ imprisonment.
Offenders could face up to life imprisonment where they traffic 50 or more firearms and/or firearms parts, and those convicted face a minimum mandatory sentence of 5 years’ imprisonment.
“I am disappointed that the Government again has to put out meaningless spotfires lit by elected Members who are using people’s fears to promote themselves,” said Senator McDonald.
“First the Member for Kennedy called for trucks to be allowed to ‘switch off’ engine components to alleviate shortages of fuel additive AdBlue, but the trucking industry came out and said this would cost many thousands of dollars and void warranties.
“He then criticised the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility for not financing major projects when, in fact, there have been 29 NAIF investment decisions totalling around $3.2 billion, supporting projects with an estimated total capital value of $6.5 billion.
“He is pressuring the Federal Government to support irrigation at Hughenden when water allocations haven’t even been granted by the State Government, and he demands that CopperString be built even though the company is yet to sign a power supply contract with the State Government.
“He also demanded the Government do more to get backpackers to work on Australian farms and in businesses without noting there are no less than six Federal programs in place to achieve this and which have resulted in a 17% increase in working holiday visa approvals in February alone.
“Now he has legitimate gun owners convinced they will go to jail for simply ordering gun parts.
“I would like to apologise to the people of North Queensland for the continual misinformation they are subject to. You really deserve better.”