ALLOWING the Adler A110 shotgun to be imported into Australia is welcome, but its initial banning raised serious questions about gun regulation in Australia, Nationals Senator Bridget McKenzie says.
The Abbott Government stopped plans to import the lever-action gun in July as part of a review into firearms after the Sydney siege last year.
This week, the government allowed the importation of the gun after striking a deal with Senator David Leyonhjelm.
The gun will be able to arrive on Australian shores from July next year.
The Adler A110 includes an extended on-gun magazine allowing for seven shots per round, with the potential to be modified for an eighth shot.
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Ms McKenzie said the initial decision to ban the gun was made without proper consultation.
“The decision to suspend the importation of the Adler A110 was made without consulting firearms owners or industry representatives and was further proof that the system is broken,” she said.
“The Nationals have fought hard to ensure there is genuine and meaningful consultation with shooters and industry and we are grateful that the Minister for Justice, Michael Keenan, has listened and acted.”
Since the decision to allow the Adler A110, the government has established an Industry Reference Group to give licensed firearm users and industry representatives a say on the technical parts of the National Firearms Agreement.
Ms McKenzie said the change was a “common sense decision” and would mean that “law abiding shooters” would have the opportunity to shape the industry that affects them.
“Australia’s more than 800,000 licenced firearms users are not terrorists or criminals, they are responsible law-abiding members of our community and part of a broader industry that contributes in excess of $1 billion a year to Australia’s economy,” she said.
Orders for the shotgun have flowed from across Australia, including from Victorian Senator Ricky Muir.
In a letter to the Bendigo Advertiser last month, director of Bendigo hunting supplies store Smiths Outdoors, Laura Patterson Smith, said shooters claim the Adler A110 is no more dangerous than other firearms, including the Winchester lever-action gun, already owned by licensed shooters.
She said the debate around the gun was reasonable and to be expected, but gun owners were not to be feared and were almost all law abiding.
“Some make mistakes, but most do the right thing - a great many to the letter,” she said.
“The conversation about the A110 is, obviously, about much more than just one gun.”
The move to ban to Adler A110 was welcomed by the Australian Greens, but the overturning of the decision was criticsed.
Greens spokesperson on legal affairs Penny Wright described the gun as a “dangerous weapon” that required serious restriction.
“This gun would undercut Australia's the sensible gun laws that were introduced by John Howard and are the envy of the world,” she said.
“It is extremely irresponsible for the Government to allow this ban to expire, seemingly on a whim.
“The fact is that this weapon is clearly not far off a pump-action shotgun. And we severely restrict the use of firearms like that because of the speed with which they can be used.”