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Nats cross the floor on gun import ban

AAP logoAAP 21/11/2016 Belinda Merhab

Nationals senators have crossed the floor to support crossbencher David Leyonhjelm's bid to lift an import ban on a controversial shotgun.

Senators Bridget McKenzie and John 'Wacka' Williams voted with Senator Leyonhjelm in an attempt to overturn the import ban on the seven-shot lever action shotgun, which was defeated 45-7 in the Senate on Monday night.

Nationals cabinet ministers including Fiona Nash, Nigel Scullion and Matt Canavan abstained from the vote.

The government opposed Senator Leyonhjelm's bid, with Liberal senators voting against it with Labor and the Greens.

Senator McKenzie, a licensed firearm owner, made an impassioned plea to parliament for Australia to have a firearms debate based on science and evidence rather than emotion and fear.

She insisted allowing the import of the seven-shot shotgun would not change Australia's strong gun laws.

Almost one million Australians owned a gun and that wasn't a bad thing, she said.

"This debate is just full of so many mistruths," she said.

"People conflate the tragedy of Port Arthur and Lindt Cafe ... increased gun crime on the streets of our cities from illicit firearms ... into a public conversation where law-abiding firearm owners in this nation are derided and belittled by political elites who think they know better."

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