There has been a lot of rumour surrounding the Adler shotguns currently under construction in turkey and due to arrive in Australia later in the year. A lot of these rumours are no-doubt as a result of the comments by the Victorian Police Minister, who vows to re-categorise these firearms as category C.
Bill Beaton, a director of Beaton Firearms and the President of the Western Australian Firearms Traders Association, as a result of these rumours and misinformation, contacted the Western Australia Police Licensing Services to confirm what was going to happen when these firearms arrived in Western Australia.
Super Intendant Migro deferred Bill’s inquiry to Snr Sgt Regan, who spoke to the staff in the inquiry unit to find out if anyone had wrongly advised an inquirer that these firearms were of category C. He was unable to find anyone who would admit to wrongly advising anyone of any licensing restrictions on this shotgun. Snr Sgt Regan phoned Bill back with this information, and added that there was no thoughts of restricting the licensing of these shotguns in Western Australia and that they will remain a category A firearm, just like existing licensed lever action shotguns.
If indeed anyone has personally spoken to the Police Licensing Services call centre and been told that the new Adler Shotguns are of Category C or a similar fallacy, please let us know via our ‘Contact Us’ page.
Just to clear up a couple of things about the Adler Shotgun …
- There has only ever been two in the country. These two are under armed guard at the Nioa facility and no one is allowed to see them or play with them.
- One will not become available for anyone to see in Western Australia until late August at the earliest.
- Yes, they will be licensable in Western Australia under a normal Category A license.
- There is over 7500 firearms sold across Australia – this is more than 12 months of production for the company. This wait time will only get longer. If you would like one of these fantastic new firearms before 2017 I would recommend getting an order in ASAP.
Why are lever action shotguns not restricted?
As a result of the Federal Firearms Agreement, which came to be as a result of the Port Arthur massacre, Western Australian Firearms Legislation was changed. Pump action and semi-auto shotguns with a magazine capacity of more than 5 were prohibited and those with magazine capacities of 5 or less were restricted to primary production or club use only. Lever actions were not restricted as such.
Category C and H (handguns) are the only categories of firearms that have magazine restrictions in Western Australia. Category A (including lever action shotguns) and B (all rifles that shoot centrefire ammunition except any that are semi-automatic) do not have a restriction on internal or external magazine size.
The restriction of lever action shotguns would require further changes to Western Australian legislation. This is only likely to occur if there were a large number of homicides carried out with the use of a lever action shotguns, which there isn’t.
Why shouldn’t the Adler lever action shotgun be restricted?
Firstly – the new Adler does not differ from other lever actions on the market in any way other than its appearance. This is especially fortunate, as in Western Australia the Police Licensing Services are quite fond of banning firearms purely based on their appearance. The contemporary appearance of the Adler shotgun does not even slightly resemble a firearm of category D, so it should be fairly safe (touch wood).
If there were a criminal preference for lever action shotguns it would have showed up decades ago, seeing that lever action shotguns have been available since 1887. If the preference existed then more homicides would have occurred where the offender used a lever action shotgun and lever action shotguns would have been included in the 1997 buy-back scheme.
Very limited number of licensed shooters use their firearms for illegal purposes. Having legal access to another lever action shotgun is unlikely to affect homicide rates. If any offenses are committed with a lever action shotgun it will be by an unlicensed criminal.
However, with the requirements within Western Australia for the safe storage of firearms in approved safes, these shotguns are unlikely to leak into the criminal market by being stolen from licensed shooters. The only way lever action shotguns would make it into the illegal market would be if they were imported illegally.
In the criminal market there are no firearm categories – the restrictions placed on licensed firearm owners for category C and H firearms do not exist for criminals. Criminals don’t want lever action shotguns – they want semi-automatic shotguns and handguns and are prepared to spend the money to get them. Criminals are not going to attempt to import lever action shotguns when, for the same cost and effort, they would illegally import semi-automatic shotguns and hand guns. In any sense, this has no impact on firearms licensing in Australia, but just furthers the point that these shotguns are of little risk to public safety.
Why is this being discussed online?
The main reason it is being discussed is because of the previously mentioned comments by the Victorian Police Minister, Mr Noonan. Even though it has little impact of firearms licensing in Western Australia, due to the popularity of the issue I’ll briefly outline the main parts of the argument against licensing the Adler shotguns.
“The Adler weapon may legally fit the definition of a category A lever-action shotgun, but it is still essentially a high-capacity rapid-fire weapon that can cause an enormous amount of damage in the wrong hands.” – Mr Noonan
Any firearm can cause damage in the wrong hands. Like previously mentioned the Adlers are unlikely to become the weapon of choice of criminals and in any case – there are enough firearms that criminals can access now that restricting Adlers will have no effect. The focus of this statement shouldn’t be the “Adler Weapon”, but rather the “Wrong Hands”. It would be a far smarter tactic for the Police Minister to attempt to reduce the number of violent criminals rather than the number of firearms criminals can access.
Comments by South Australian Senator, Penny Wright, highlights an issue with controlling unlicensed firearms –
“My Senate inquiry found law enforcement authorities need more resources to tackle gun crime,” – Senator Wright
If the Police are under-resourced to deal with current levels of gun-related crime it is because there are already too many unlicensed firearms available to criminals – restricting licensing of firearms in Australia will not affect the number of unlicensed firearms on the market.
What “My Senate inquiry” uncovered was that very few licensed firearms make their way into the unlicensed, criminal sectors and even less are found to be used in committing a violent crime. What “My Senate inquiry” actually found was that a clear majority of firearms used in crimes were never licensed in Australia – that they came into Australia through illegal importation. The summarisation of “My Senate inquiry” was that tackling illegal importation should be a focus, rather than licensing restrictions. Senator Wright should have been aware of this, seeing as though it was indisputably her Senate inquiry.
I left this one for last – comments by a spokeswoman for the Victorian Attorney-General’s Department.
“The group (A group of Government Departments) will consider the categorisation of new and emerging firearms technologies and advancements in firearms, such as lever action firearms, as part of the response to the firearm-related recommendations of the Martin Place Siege Review,”
The Martin Place Siege was a terrible act by a mentally unstable criminal. He used a modified, unlicensed category C firearm.
If anything, the Martin Place Siege is proof that categorising firearms as category C and restricting acquisition by licensed shooters has no effect on criminal’s access to them. The mention of the Martin Place Siege is just a political tool used to scare the naïve. Further proof the Attorney General places public deception and opinion over honesty – the reference of lever action firearms as “… emerging firearms technologies and advancements in firearms …”. One can only slap their forehead so hard.
Monis was known to ASIO. He was known to the Australian Federal Police and had more than 40 sex offenses and an accessory to murder charge, which he was out on bail for. It was the Government departments that dropped the ball – restricting firearm ownership would not have mitigated this or any future mass murders.
If he is to weigh in on any argument as a result of the Martin Place Siege it shouldn’t be to comment on firearms licensing – the Attorney-General (who is responsible for the administration of the state’s courts and tribunals) should attempt to fix the laws governing granting bail and bail conditions of criminals with serious offenses. Firearms licensing restrictions would not have saved the two who died in the Lindt café. Neither would licensing restrictions have saved Jill Meagher (who’s killer was on bail for rape) or Mark Spencer (who’s killer was on bail for rape).
Why is it that the Attorney-General’s department in Victoria feels that they need to influence the laws enacted by Police that restrict Firearms licensing and not influence the laws enacted by Judges that restrict the ability of criminals to re-offend?
Let’s all try and ensure those around us are educated of the truth – that restrictive firearm licensing of this lever action shotgun will not affect public safety. Talk of licensing restrictions is just a political tool to keep the masses scared.