by Tom Daunt
IN A controversial letter to the editor last week, Gympie firearm advocate, and Firearm Owners Association of Australia president Ron Owen, called out Police Minister Mark Ryan and his stance on gun reform.
Mr Owen claimed in the letter Mr Ryan's mandate on firearms licensing was akin to former prime minister John Howard's.
He was concerned Labor was not taking into account law-abiding citizens who had a genuine need to access certain categories of firearms and felt the rights of these people were being impinged as a result.
"So Labor will follow the dinosaurs into extinction. Why?” he asked.
"Because of the increase in law-abiding licensed shooters.
"Mr Ryan must be living on the dark side of the moon if he is unaware of the hostility towards weapons licensing, righteously held by the law-abiding firearms owners.
"They have to put up with the injustice of this politician's created nightmare.”
Mr Owen also said the tightening of firearm policy did not mean a decline in terror-related incidents.
"If Mark Ryan or John Howard succeeded in removing every legally owned firearm from Australia, as they are not the problem, it would not make any difference to massacres or murders, or suicides,” he said.
"People just find other means and his laws will not stop them.”
Mr Ryan said he was "stunned” at Mr Owen's comments.
"I find it incomprehensible that in the wake of the enormous tragedy in Las Vegas, Ron Owen should broadcast such an insensitive statement demanding the unregulated ownership of guns,” he said.
"I will proudly put up my hand to bragging about the Palaszczuk government's refusal to weaken weapons laws in Queensland because there is nothing more important to our government than the
safety of all Queensland residents.
"The Palaszczuk Labor Government will always take our advice from those at the front line, with the most to lose from any weakening of the guns laws - our brave police.
"We will never take advice on gun laws from those who are morally and politicly compromised by the issue of the LNP.”
Both Mr Owen and Mr Ryan's comments drew a strong response from Gympie readers via Facebook.
Among the 222 comments on Mr Owen's letter, Carlo Di Falco said: "This is a win. If a government minister is worried enough to reply to a letter to the editor then it is hitting a raw nerve. This is a small victory. Congratulations Ron Owen.”
Matt Parker agreed: "We are yet to hear any cohesive policy from the LNP on weapons regulations and support for the NFA.
"We are yet to hear any from Labor either.”
"No gun laws have been weakened, but more restrictions have been placed on law-abiding firearm owners since 1996,” John McCarthy said.
Chad Hooper said: "A gun shop owner wanting relaxed gun laws. Doesn't have any conflict of interest with that position at all.”