Queensland’s Commissioner of Police asks firearm owners to lobby for tighter gun laws

While the police have a legitimate interest in providing feedback to the government about how effective our laws are, it is certainly not appropriate for them to advocate policy.  This is especially the case when it comes to public forums, such as the media.

Imagine if an employee of your company hired publicly complained about the way your company conducted it’s business?  They’d be sacked in a flash. 

However for some reason this does not apply to our police.  Or, apparently, Queensland’s Chief Commissioner of Police.

The police have form in lobbying via the media

Earlier this year we took a senior member of the Victoria Police to task for lobbying on our firearm laws via the media.

It resulted in the then Minister for Police and senior members from our firearms regulatory branch apologising to the Firearms Consultative Committee for his actions.

However he has not been alone in doing this.

Even a Chief Commissioner thinks its ok to lobby

 Queensland’s Chief Commissioner is a chap called Ian Stewart. While Mr Stewart is to be congratulated for being active and engagable on social media, two recent tweets about our gun laws caught our attention because they venture into the political arena.

On 14 December, Chief Commissioner Stewart responded to Tommy Keevers who made the point that shooters are not seeing new laws dealing with illegal firearms.

This is what the said.

He also posted other tweets supporting the B and D classification for our lever-action shotguns.

Not only did Stewart miss Tommy’s point about illegal firearms, but here is Queensland’s Commissioner of Police openly encouraging people to become political on the laws he administers!

His response also insulting to Tommy’s – and our – intelligence by linking a ‘gun control focus’ to the discussion about the illegal market.  The better response would have been to acknowledge the need for more effective enforcement by his own force.

David Zielinski, a keen shooter, responded by saying: “Your role is not to lobby, you are supposed to enforce the law. Untenable position”

David, you were spot on.

Tommy, your question about the illegal market remains unanswered.

 Do our police need guidelines to stay focused on their jobs?

Chief Commissioner Stewart’s tweets are hardly a sackable event.

However it raises a question of whether those in charge of our police forces need guidelines on what their roles as regulators are, and are not, when it comes to our firearm laws.

The police are important stakeholders in the firearms debate, but they are not the only ones.  There are hundreds of thousands of shooters who have a right to expect their regulator will focus on their job, so that the discussion on firearms policy can be done in a more open, impartial and challenging manner.  Then there are the shooting organisations and hundreds of businesses which support the industry which also have important and legitimate concerns about the laws affecting them.  In fact our industry supports the police for training in the very firearms they use.

Commissioner Stewart’s statements discriminate against a section of the public which he would not get away with, with other sections of the community. Imagine if he tweeted something about tighter laws affecting gays, the elderly or children?

We encourage Mr Stewart to stay active on social media.  However he needs to leave the debate and lobbying to others. Either that, or the Queensland government needs to vest responsibility for firearm regulation in someone who won’t take sides on the issue.

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13 Comments.

  1. You can’t be serious. Law abiding citizens cop all the flack for guns. You are trying to put a shotgun in a category that is for fully automatic rifles, apples and oranges. The legislation regarding illegal owner ship of a firearm is untouched yet the people who do the right thing are dictated and ridiculed.. It’s a deadset joke!!!

  2. How about no! Our gun laws are strong enough. Stop recruiting hipsters and actually get out and do some real police work. LAFOs are not the problem! Criminals are!

  3. It is entirely appropriate in the line of duty for comment identifying valid concern in public policy about legislative weakness inhibiting proper policing. But an official at that level should be conscious of the distinction that partaking in known contentious political controversy oversteps the legit bounds and is abuse of the prestige attached to his office. His right to partake in public debate is only in his private capacity, not as government bureaucrat.

  4. Maree-Louise Slater

    When I was a police officer years ago in Australia it was common for the command to be actively campaigning with members, alongside the Association, for stronger gun laws. The position is that the tighter laws are, the safer it is for officers. This has never changed. When we were involved in a shooting once this was used to obtain tighter regulations. It is all about the long term constant tightening of regulation and legislation.

  5. The ‘Pol’ in Politics means the same as ‘Pol’ in Police … both are political organisations and joiners are called members … the only difference is one organisation requires it’s members to be armed.

  6. what is he basing his evidence on? what evidence sayS that a shotgun is high powered cat B or a lever action is rapid fire cat D? no one has shown me any evidence to back up those claims. so he thinks legal guns are the issue? so he thinks we law abiding gun owners are the issue? if the answer is no, then why?

  7. STOP putting tighter laws on guns.

  8. Probably a globalist shill betraying his country for a seat in the new “American EU”.

  9. criminals are not interested or compliant by definition. I can by a pistol everyday from the right people for a few thousand. They don’t ask for a pta or license only the envelope of money.
    I choose to be law abiding and purchase my firearms legally for legitimate reasons and you clowns are making it extremely difficult to do this.
    Screwing the rules tighter within the legal avenue has zero effect on the illegal trade but 100% on us who consistently struggle through the over complicated micromanagement of your legislative system.

    Stop trying to fix the problem by attacking the rights of the people and actually arrest some criminals, fix your stupid justice system so it’s effective and then you will fix the “gun issue”.

    It’s your and your systems failure to control criminal activity not our firearm practices.

  10. Is he seriously that stupid?
    That would be like asking a chemist to get rid of half their stock to stop drug addicts, or car owners to stop driving their cars as much to stop drunk drivers.

  11. Yep. Calling a Police commissioner a “Dumd c**t” (sic) or a “fuk wit” does a lot to make LAFOs in general and the Combined Firearms Council specifically look like a serious and responsible group who governments should engage with. These comments need to be moderated out of existence lest the LAFO is legislated out of existence.

  12. Yep – have deleted a couple of those references. Feel free to point out any I’ve missed

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