’Essential’ tool of the farming trade threatened by COVID-19
LICENSED weapon dealers across the state have been reinstated as an essential business following pleas from members of regional communities.
Armourers on the Southern Downs were required to close their doors on Sunday after a directive was issued by the State Government listing firearm businesses as “non-essential”.
State Member for the Southern Downs James Lister voiced the concerns of his constituents on Facebook, stating it appeared to be “another kneejerk decision … made without consultation or understanding”.
“No one was suggesting everyone ran out and needed to buy ammunition all at once,” Mr Lister said.
“You need to be able to control pests and you need to be able to humanely put down animals.
“We can’t deny primary producers an essential tool of the trade.”
The State Government’s decision was overturned today, allowing licensed weapons armourers and dealers the opportunity to continue trading, with a specific category of persons.
The decision couldn’t come soon enough for Downs Guns and Ammo owner Chris Thompson who had closed her store to comply with the new regulations.
“We’re trying to stay open – we’ve got a lot of farmers calling that they need their ammunition,” Mrs Thompson said.
“I’ve just told them they just have to wait.”
One of many small businesses briefly required to shut their doors to help prevent the spread of coronavirus, Mrs Thompson said the extended closure would have been detrimental to her business.
“There’s a lot of hoops to jump through to get your license to do what we do out the back,” she said.
“We hold an explosives license, dealers license and a selling license, and they’re not cheap to get.
“It’s a big responsibility to hold it because we have to pass inspections all the time.
“If they close us down, I don’t know that they’ll open us back up again.”
Downs Guns and Ammo service a number of primary producers according to Mrs Thompson, who is aware of the demand for her product.
“Some of the farmers came in and got it early but a lot don’t listen to the radio and wouldn’t know,” she said.
“I had a customer ring me this morning and he was confused by the fact we were shut.
“One farmer told me he’s out of ammunition and he didn’t know about this – now he’s left high and dry.”
While businesses like Downs Guns and Ammo are currently unable to sell their stock online, Mr Lister reiterated the need to re-evaluate the situation of conditions worsen.
“If a measure such as closure of businesses is necessary, then we need to accept the advice and find a way to deal with it,” he said.
“The supply of essential materials and services has to happen one way or another, but I would leave it to the industry to comment on that.
“Certainly, ammunition is an essential product for agricultural and other farming industries – there has to be some way of obtaining it.
“The government’s decision to overturn the regulation has made a real difference to regional communities.”