Firearms Owners - Criminals in waiting - The Loose Cannon
I used to believe you needed to be almost Christ like to hold and retain a Firearms Licence, until I re-read the Bible last Christmas, it was about time, as I had read the Koran and Mein Kampf in the previous twelve months- not of course that I am drawing any connection between the contents of either of these two books, and indeed the only connection between all three, the Bible, Koran and Mein Kampf is that all have all had a profound effect upon human behaviour.
When I got to John 2.13-22 I realised that being Christ like simply would not cut it. His aggressive behaviour toward the money lenders on the mount would surely have amounted to grounds for an assault, an AVO, and, if Ancient Judea had firearms, and Australian firearms laws that would have been it for five or ten years, subject to the prohibition period.
Unfortunately, even that level of compliance is very hard, you see, NSW introduced more stringent Regulations in 2017, and the Registry has failed miserably in educating the public about the changes in language that they can understand, about what their obligations are under those new regulations.
In the United Kingdom they have a tome called Guidance on Firearms Licencing Law, that has been published by the Home Office, and it provides guidance for firearms owners, dealers, Police and anybody with an interest in firearms. It is 276 pages long, is available on line, and is well indexed, and written in language that a twelve-year-old could understand.
Instead of this up front, compliance orientated approach, the regulators choose to keep most shooters in ignorance, which makes them more likely to contravene the law and get charged.
The situation in Victoria is not much better, there Police are actively working toward stripping the Victorian Firearms Laws of its safeguards, which make in my opinion the Victorian Firearms legislation about the best example in the land of legislation that effectively implements the National Firearms Agreement, but with appropriate checks and balances to protect rights.
However, the situation in Victoria continues to slip, and I sadly recently saw a sad example of an attempt at entrapment.
Police queried some ‘missing’ air rifles, which are of course firearms and wanted to interview my client. Relevant records were quickly recovered, and as is usually the case the firearms were paper work caused, ‘phantom firearms' where the error incidentally lay with Customs and not primarily with him.
Police then raised another four.
Clearly, the Police had the intention of getting him into an interview to discuss a small number that they had flagged with him, with view to ambushing him, and with a bit of interrogation using the ‘good cop - bad cop method so familiar to those who used to watch ‘the Bill’, throw him off guard and hopefully ‘get a result’.
Thus, being an Angel simply will not suffice in these times where Police view firearms owners as Criminals in waiting, and the Police management culture places incredible pressure on serving members to ‘get a result’.
In many states and territories, the right to silence is being attacked by an ability to draw an inference from one’s refusal to give a statement to Police. The best approach to take is to decline an interview, but to indicate clearly to Police that you are happy to answer any question put to them that has been screened through a Solicitor, and 'lawyer up'.
The second thing you need to do as a shooter is to become Politically active and stop this nonsense.
National Firearms Lawyer
P: (02) 6299 9690
M: 0427 280 962
Simon Munslow is a lawyer who has a lifelong interest in shooting, having acquired his first firearm at the age of nine, and has had an active interest in firearms law since writing a thesis on the topic over thirty years ago at University.
Simon Munslow practices extensively in Firearms Law matters throughout Australia.
He is a regular contributor to the Australian Sporting Shooter magazine’s website on Firearms law matters, has published articles on firearms reviews and firearms law, and occasionally is asked to comment in the broader media on firearms matters.
This article is written for general information only and does not constitute advice.
He can assist you with:
Criminal law & Administrative law and in particular that related to Firearms
• All firearms, weapons and game charges
• Avoiding & setting aside Apprehended Violence Orders
• Possession of unregistered firearms
• Unsafe transportation & storage matters
• Applications for prohibited weapons
• License Appeals
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• Importation & Customs problems
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