Decision on gun shops reversed as stores deemed 'essential'
UPDATE, 12PM: THE State Government has reversed its decision to classify gun stores as non-essential, just days after the designation from the Chief Health Officer.
On Saturday, firearm dealers across Queensland were forced to close after a directive from the health officer ruled them a non-essential service.
Today, Agriculture Minister Mark Furner said licensed armourers and dealers would be able to continue to provide "essential services" to primary producers and industries which rely on weapons.
"This is a sensible decision which will allow our agriculture sector to get on with the job of feeding Queenslanders," Mr Furner said.
The decision to class gun stores as non-essential drew criticism from across the political spectrum with registered gun owner and Mirani MP Stephen Andrew and opposition minister for police Trevor Watts slamming the "knee-jerk" reaction.
Under the revised ruling commercial pest controllers or feral animal controllers, vets, shark control contractors, and state and federal bodies will be able to purchase from licenced dealers.
Licensed armourers and dealers will also be able to continue to store, modify, repair, acquire or supply weapons and ammunition to specific groups.
INITIAL: A PART-time pest controller, registered gun owner and politician has slammed a government move to shutdown gun stores in the coronavirus pandemic.
The directive, issued on Friday by the Queensland health department classed licensed armourers and dealers as "non-essential services".
Businesses that continue to operate despite the shutdown face fines of more than $13,000.
Mirani MP Stephen Andrew operates a gun dealership focused on collectable weapons.
Between him and his wife, he estimated the pair owned about 15 firearms.
Mr Andrew said a blanket closure of gun dealerships would have a big impact on rural industry.
"It is very crucial for the gun shops to stay open," he said.
"It is not just the jobs in the gun shops, it is the people who use the guns for the jobs outside - it is the farmers, it is pest controllers, it is a whole myriad people, even the pest officers in the council use firearms.
"There are a lot of people who carry firearms and use firearms for a genuine need everyday of the week."
Without access to licenced gun dealers, Mr Andrew said the government "took away" the opportunity to purchase ammunition, parts and service weapons.
Mr Andrew said unmanned gun stores left the community at risk.
Gun dealers are required to keep record by law that detailed where
"The danger is that all of those records, that have to be left in the shops by law, give opportunity for people to know where all these guns are kept," he said.
"If those records are taken it could absolutely compromise the situation … people could be victims of theft or crime of people who want to obtain those weapons."
Opposition police spokesman Trevor Watts labelled the decision a "knee-jerk" reaction.