LOCAL BUSINESS: Street view of Kingaroy Firearms and Supplies dealership along Kingaroy St. Photo: Laura Blackmore
LOCAL BUSINESS: Street view of Kingaroy Firearms and Supplies dealership along Kingaroy St. Photo: Laura Blackmore

Firearms dealers ‘furious’ after strict laws enforced

FIREARMS business owners across the state are furious about the Queensland Government's decision to suspend them, amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The State Government first announced they would prohibit the businesses from operating, including the suspension of sales and the surrendering of illegal firearms.

However, after an immense amount of public backlash, the laws were relaxed and amended so the businesses could still operate.

Secretary of the Firearms Dealers Association in Queensland Jan Linsley said the announcement came as a huge shock to the whole firearms dealership community.

"We had no warning they were going to make these changes," Mrs Linsley said.

"They didn't do any consultation with us.

"It made me furious because firearms dealerships, like Kingaroy Firearms and Supplies, are an essential service in the community.

"A lot of other retail businesses are still open and we should be too," she said.

"These dealerships don't just sell guns to people with the appropriate licences.

"For example they help the police force by identifying guns from deceased estates or ones that are found in the community and also keep a record, which helps police find people with illegal weapons.

"They also collect guns from people whose licences have experienced, but they can't do 90 per cent of their work anymore because of the new laws."

She said she believed the state government decided to initially shut down gun shops because of a huge misconception.

"There was talk that they shut down the shops because of a connection to domestic violence," she said.

"That is ridiculous because police remove guns from people who commit a DV offences.

"It also takes months to acquire a gun licence.

"People can't just walk into a store and buy one."

Mrs Linsley said she didn't know what the future held for firearms businesses across the southwest of Queensland after having a number of dire conversations.

"A lot of people are struggling," she said.

"I have spoken with a number of dealership owners and they might have to shut their doors.

"One of the owners said he had stock coming in that he had to pay for and wouldn't be able to sell it on to customers.

"The government said these restrictions would last for the next six months.

"Dealerships are often owned and operated by local families and are the most law abiding citizens in the community.

"There could be some dealers who won't recover from this," she said.

"We will just have to wait and see what happens."