Australia is known for having some of the strictest gun laws in the world, but a lever-action shotgun, set to be sold by the country’s biggest gun importer, Robert Nioa, for the first time in the country beginning next month, is causing proponents of the laws to scramble.
According to this story, the lever-action, 7+1 capacity Adler A110 12 gauge shotgun will technically fall into the least restrictive of six firearms categories under the country’s laws, Category A, which includes rimfire rifles (not semiautomatic), shotguns (not pump-action or semi-automatic), air rifles, and paintball guns.
Since the law doesn’t specifically include lever-action shotguns in any category, they fall, by default, into Category A with other shotguns that aren’t semi-autos or pumps. Pump-action shotguns with more than five rounds are relegated to Category D.
Though residents still have to show a “genuine need” to own a Category A firearms, it’s still possible, while Category D guns, like pump-action shotguns, are restricted to government agencies. Even pump guns that hold fewer than five rounds are Category C, only attainable by “primary producers, occupational shooters like hunters, collectors and some clay target shooters.”
Nioa plans to bring in 20,000 of the lever-action shotguns a year and has already pre-sold 7,000 to gun shops around the country.
“The orders are coming every day,” said Steve Ballas, who owns a gun shop in Bankstown and has had 200 pre-orders for the gun already. “We’re getting at least a dozen calls a day about them.”
Samantha Lee, of Gun Control Australia, was quoted in this story as saying this gun “would devastate Australia’s gun laws because it’s a rapid-fire firearm and gun owners are describing it as a cross between a lever firearm and a pump-action shotgun.”
Michael Keenan, an Australian Federal Justice Minister told the Herald Sun that, while Australia’s gun laws were among the world’s most stringent, they had not kept up with technology.
“We know gun technology has updated and we’re doing the work to ensure our laws aren’t outdated,” he said.
It is, indeed, a lever-action shotgun, and has nothing to do with a pump action. And the design is very similar to the more-than-a-century-old Winchester Models 1887 and 1901 shotguns, named for the years in which each was introduced.
“The fact is that this weapons is clearly not far off a pump-action shotgun. And we severely restrict the use of those because of the speed with which they can be used. So only professional hunters can use those,” said Greens Senator Penny Wright, who wants the gun restricted to shooters with Category C or D licenses.
It remains to be seen if the importation of the gun will prompt a redrafting of Australia’s gun laws.
Aussie gun owners seem to have been buying lever-action shotguns as an alternative to pumps for some time. It’s even mentioned in the lever-action section of Wikipedia’s shotgun page.
The shotgun will be available with a 20-inch barrel with a straight grip stock or a 28-inch barrel and a pistol grip stock.
Lever shotguns were beat out in the U.S. by pump-action shotguns in the early 20th century, which were easier on the paper-hulled shotshells of the time. Lever actions had a tendency to crush them. Several lever-action shotguns are produced today.