Mr PEDERICK (Hammond) (11:16): I rise to support the Firearms (Miscellaneous) Amendment Bill 2021. Coming off the land, like a lot of others, I like to own some firearms for vermin control. They are a practical part of the agriculture and farming community. I have a Harrington and Richardson single shot .410 shotgun—a very handy little piece—and I have had for quite a few years a Remington 870 magnum pump action shotgun, which you can only own under a C-class category. You have to have primary production land to own that. In the last couple of years, I have purchased a Remington .22 bolt action with a 10-shot magazine capability. They are very much part of the tools of trade of running agricultural properties, and most landowners would have a form of firearm.
In regard to what we are discussing here today, this is part of the coronial inquest into the very sad death of Mr Lewis McPherson back in 2012 in very tragic circumstances, as described by the member for Elizabeth. In 2017, Deputy State Coroner, Anthony Schapel, released his findings of that coronial inquest into the death of Mr Lewis McPherson and made 17 recommendations. In recommendation 8, the Deputy State Coroner recommended that a person who supplies a firearm to a person under 18 years of age be subject to greater penalties than provided for under the Firearms Act 2015 in South Australia (the act).
In recommendation 9, the Deputy State Coroner recommended that a person convicted both of unlawfully supplying ammunition and unlawfully supplying a firearm be required to serve the sentences of imprisonment for both offences cumulatively rather than concurrently.
In regard to recommendation 10, the Deputy State Coroner recommended that a person convicted of both unlawfully possessing ammunition and unlawfully possessing a firearm be required to serve the sentences of imprisonment for both offences cumulatively rather than concurrently.
In regard to the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) agreement on lever action shotguns, between 2015 and 2017 the National Firearms Agreement (NFA) was reviewed, updated and endorsed by COAG, with all states and territories committing to enacting the legislative updates. As part of the review, COAG agreed to recategorise lever action shotguns based on the availability of magazine capacities exceeding five rounds.
COAG recognised particular concerns with the recently developed—and it has been around a few years—Adler A110 lever action shotgun, which is manufactured with a magazine capacity of either five or seven rounds. I have seen one of these at a field day with a legal capacity of, I think it was, 13 rounds in an extended magazine. The Adler A110 and other lever action shotguns with similar capacity and rapid firing capabilities result in the firearm having a similar operating capacity to category D firearms, such as pump action shotguns.
Currently, section 5 of the act recognises lever action shotguns as category A firearms, regardless of their magazine capacity. Category A firearms are the most prevalent and accessible firearms in South Australia, as licensees are not required to establish a genuine need for their acquisition.
In regard to discussion around this legislation, the Firearms (Miscellaneous) Amendment Bill 2021, this bill does deliver on recommendations 8 to 10 of the coronial inquest into the very tragic death of Mr Lewis McPherson and recategorises lever action shotguns in accordance with the national agreement made by COAG.
In regard to the McPherson coronial inquest, to address recommendation 8 the bill amends section 22(10) of the act by introducing tougher penalties for the offence of trafficking in firearms where it is proved the offence was committed with aggravating factors. The penalties for an aggravated offence will be as follows: if the firearm is a prescribed firearm or a category C, D or H firearm, $100,000 or imprisonment for 20 years; if the firearm is a category A or B firearm, $50,000 penalty or imprisonment for 10 years.
The penalties for non-aggravated offences will remain as follows: if the firearm is a prescribed firearm, $75,000 or imprisonment for 15 years; if the firearm is a category C, D or H firearm, $50,000 or imprisonment for 10 years; if the firearm is any other category of firearm, $35,000 or imprisonment for seven years. The bill inserts a new section 22(14) to prescribe that an offence of trafficking in firearms will be an aggravated offence if it is proved the firearm was supplied to a person under the age of 18 years.
In regard to addressing recommendations 9 and 10, the bill inserts new section 66A, which prescribes that a court must make any sentences of imprisonment cumulative if a person is convicted of both unlawfully supplying ammunition and unlawfully supplying a firearm or of both unlawfully possessing ammunition and unlawfully possessing a firearm.
In regard to the Council of Australian Governments agreement in regard to lever action shotguns, to implement the updated National Firearms Agreement as agreed to by all states and territories, the bill amends section 5 of the act to recategorise lever action shotguns as follows: lever action shotguns that have a magazine capacity of five rounds or less will become a category B firearm, and lever action shotguns that have a magazine capacity of more than five rounds will be a category D firearm.
Importantly, schedule 1 of the bill provides for transitional arrangements so that those who currently lawfully possess lever action shotguns are permitted to continue to possess their firearm. I think that is important as part of the transitional arrangements until the appropriate time when those licences can be updated, because obviously the shotguns are owned by people who are legal gun owners at the moment.
In relation to the consultation in regard to the changes contained in the bill, SAPOL engaged with firearms dealers, industry representatives and other stakeholders on these amendments and has received broad support. I note that Mr Mark and Mrs Kim McPherson, the parents of Mr Lewis McPherson, have also been consulted and are supportive of the amendments.
It is timely that we are getting on with this. The Coroner's inquiry, the legislative framework and the consultation all take time, but we are here today to make real change and get these licences updated so that we get the appropriate outcomes for the community. I support the bill.
The Hon. V.A. TARZIA (Hartley—Minister for Police, Emergency Services and Correctional Services) (11:26): I would like to thank members on both sides of the house for their support for what is a very important legislative change in the firearms space. I would also like to thank the stakeholders for having their say. This reform has been long overdue and I think it will go a long way towards increased firearm safety in this state. I commend the bill to the house.
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