Good Morning Hon Mr Colin Barnett,
My email is in regards to the Adler Shotgun and the potential ban.
I am the manager of one of Western Australia’s largest firearm dealerships, Beaton Firearms. I have recently sent several emails to your Police Minster, Liza Harvey, but my emails have largely been ignored.
I’ve attempted to outline how the Adler is not a public safety issue and restrictions placed upon it will not benefit Western Australia or the Liberal/National coalition.
The Adler shotgun has been an emotive issue for more than 18 months now. Certain things have been ignored with this discussion, including;
The Firearms Act was always meant to protect public safety
Firearm crime is almost entirely carried out by those not licensed to possess firearms
Criminals require concealable firearms and will jeopardise magazine capacity to achieve this.
Criminals have preferences for prohibited firearms, and for good reason
Lever action shotguns are not a public safety issue, and never have been. They are not an oversight of legislation – regardless of what clever promotional material may insinuate, they will never be capable of achieving the rate of fire of a pump action or semi automatic firearm and should remain category A. Lever action shotguns have been in existence in Australia for 130 years and their licensing is only being questioned now, not because they pose any additional danger to public safety, but because there are political points to be won by restricting their ownership.
Firearm crime is seldom carried out by licensed firearm owners – a point recognized as a key theme in the review of the Firearms Act by the Law Reform Commission. Criminals acquire firearms by stealing them, illegally manufacturing them or through illegal importation. Restricting the lawful ownership of firearms so there are less firearms to be stolen is the incorrect way of addressing only one of these issues – punishing licensed firearm owners because their firearms may be stolen is punishing the victim of a crime in the hope it will prevent the crime from taking place. More emphasis needs to be placed on punishing the criminals rather than the victims.
A unlicensed firearm is of no use to a criminal if they can not hide it. A large firearm can not be hidden and will be discovered easily. This is why unlicensed firearms are commonly cut down to make them more concealable – the Lindt Café siege was committed by a category D shotgun that had both the barrel and the stock cut down to make it more concealable. This is virtually impossible to do with a lever action shotgun. While a pump action shotgun can be easily manipulated if it has no butt stock, a lever action shotgun requires shoulder contact to be able to work the lever in a rotating motion. The barrel of a lever action shotgun can not be shortened without destroying the magazine – the barrel can only be as short as the magazine. The longer the magazine, the longer the barrel must be. These two points make lever action shotguns unable to be shortened down and made concealable and of no use to a criminal.
Prohibited shotguns, such as semi-automatic and pump action shotguns, are what criminals want. They are much faster and easier to use than a lever action shotgun. They can be cut down to be more concealable. It was right for them to be recognized in 1998 as needing licensing restrictions, while lever action shotguns were ignored.
So as you can see, there is little risk to public safety retaining the current licensing status of lever action shotguns; there is no demand within criminal circles for lever action shotguns; lever action shotguns should be in a less restrictive category than other shotguns and more focus should be placed on punishing criminals rather than lawful firearm owners
I keep in constant communication with my database of clients, which currently number more than 7000. Through other means I stay in contact with many more firearm owners across the country, and the general feel is that politicians ignore firearm owners. The result of this is what is happening across the country, with Political parties such as the Liberal Democrats, One Nation, The Shooters, Fishers and Farmers party and independents getting more and more support. With the election only 4 months away, the issue of the Adler shotgun is going to have a massive effect on where Western Australians place their support, particularly in the rural areas. Any response from yourself will be circulated within my database to ensure firearm owners and farmers know where the Liberal/National party stands.