IRRELEVANT: Gympie gun dealer Ron Owen has welcomed the state government’s retreat from its coronavirus ban on gun shops, but says it may all be irrelevant.
IRRELEVANT: Gympie gun dealer Ron Owen has welcomed the state government’s retreat from its coronavirus ban on gun shops, but says it may all be irrelevant.

Farmers can buy ammo again, but ‘there may not be any’

THE Queensland government has backed off from its coronavirus-linked crackdown on gun and ammunition sales, but Gympie gun dealer Ron Owen says that will all soon be irrelevant.

Burgeoning demand in the US and virus-related production problems in Europe mean ammunition especially may no longer be available here, he said.

Gympie MP Tony Perrett this week blasted a state government decision to shut down licensed gun dealers like Mr Owen and classify them "non-essential" under its coronavirus control regulations.

Mr Owen backed Mr Perrett on the issue, saying the supply of guns and ammunition was an essential support industry for food production.

Farmers and workers needed to be able to manage and control livestock and pests, he said.

"Basically it's panic from the government.

"They've stepped back now because they realise they made a big mistake, because our industry is essential for food production," he said.

But that may not matter.

Mr Owen says there soon will be no ammunition to sell because of enormous demand in the US and industrial disruption in Europe.

"The firearm factories in the US have three years of orders on their books now, within the USA.

"No-one's going to bother with us, because their dollar buys twice what ours does and we're too small to be worth considering. We're just a pimple on the other side of the world.

"European manufacturers will also be directing their products to the US, where 100 million shooters are the biggest market in the world."

It is, he said, an important lesson for a nation which no longer manufactures important and strategic goods.

"When I came to Australia in 1967, my dad worked in the government aircraft factory, where they made Mirage aircraft and also missiles.

"We made TVs, sound systems, tanks and cars and we had factories which made ammunition.

"Now we don't," he said.