Firearms Regulation 2017 Letter - Loose Cannon

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The NSW Liberal / National Government is presiding over the greatest attack on Firearms owners

rights since 1996, and here of course I am talking about the proposed FIREARMS REG 2017.

If you have not considered this document yet, I suggest you do, and that you then:

 

1. Write to your MP

AND

2. If you are not a Shooters Fishers & Farmers Party member join immediately

 

I wish to acknowledge and thank Steve Larsson of Hon Bob Borsak's office for the considerable

amount of work he is doing on our behalf on this issue and for sharing a paste up that he has

made this morning.

 

I enclose a draft letter below that you may like to share, modify and use to prepare a letter for

your MP.

 

Hon J Barilaro MLA

213 Crawford Street

QUEANBEYAN NSW 2620

Dear Hon John Barilaro 24 July 2017

 

FIREARMS REGULATIONS

1. I am writing to draw your attention to a number of issues in the Firearms Regulation 2017 that

operate unfairly and which may impact a number of your constituents.

 

2. My issues with the draft are as follows:

 

3. REG 5- GOOD BEHAVIOR BONDS

A number of the sections preclude a person from having a Firearms licence if they have been

under a Good Behaviour Bond. Often Bonds are imposed in conjunction with a Court exercising its

discretion not to convict. This occurs under s 10 of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999

and it can only be applied by a Judicial officer where that Judicial Officer has considered the

following:

 

(a) the person’s character, antecedents, age, health and mental condition,

(a) the trivial nature of the offence,

(b) the extenuating circumstances in which the offence was committed,

(c) any other matter that the court thinks proper to consider.

 

4. As there is nothing to distinguish situations where a Good Behaviour Bond has been applied in

conjunction with an order under s10.

 

5. Police are therefore seeking to automatically preclude someone from holding a Firearms

Licence automatically for ten year’s (twice the five year period stipulated in the National

Firearms Agreement) where a Judicial Officer who has seen the offender, has considered the

matter trivial or unlikely to be repeated!

 

6. Of Course, if Police are of the view that the individual is not a ‘fit and proper person’, or it is

not in the ‘public interest’ for the person to hold a licence, they can still refuse to issue a licence,

and appeal rights then apply.

 

7. This proposed Regulation is therefore unreasonable.

 

8. 10. Fingerprinting of applicants to confirm identity in particular cases

. (1) The Commissioner may:

(a) require an applicant for a licence or permit to consent to having his or her fingerprints taken

by a police officer in order to confirm the applicant’s identity, and

 

(b) refuse to issue the applicant with a licence or permit unless the applicant has been

fingerprinted in accordance with any such requirement.

 

. (2) A requirement under subclause (1) may only be made if:

(a) there is a reasonable doubt as to the applicant’s identity, and

 

(b) proof of the applicant’s identity cannot be confirmed by any other means that are reasonably

available in the circumstances.

 

. (3) The Commissioner is to ensure that any fingerprints that are obtained in accordance with a

requirement under this clause, and any copies of them, are destroyed as soon as they are no

longer needed in connection with the application to which they relate.

 

. (4) As soon as practicable after any fingerprints (or any copies of them) are destroyed in

accordance with this clause, the Commissioner is to notify the applicant in writing that those

fingerprints (and those copies, if any) have been destroyed.

This does not need Regulation and can be done voluntarily by agreement if there is a doubt.

 

9. 11. see also Reg 13 re Permits.

 

10. Additional discretionary ground for refusal of licence:

The Commissioner may refuse to issue a licence to a person if the Commissioner is satisfied that

the person has, within the period of 10 years before the application for the licence was made,

contravened a provision of the Act, the Weapons Prohibition Act 1998 or the regulations under

either of those Acts, whether or not the person has been prosecuted for or convicted of an

offence in respect of any such contravention.

 

11. Police already have significant powers to monitor and reject applicants.

 

12. Specifically:

• A prohibition period on the issue of a licence that is double that in the NFA. Here It needs

stressing that the expiry of this period does not mean that a person shall be able to get a licence,

merely that Police can consider an application.

• Genuine reason- special need has to be established in order to qualify for a licence

• Fit and Proper Person test

• Then there is a final ‘Public interest test’

 

The system has more than enough safeguards, particularly given that this test is likely to be used

against individuals who are guilty of trivial breaches of the legislation that are so minor that

even given the Commissioner’s ‘zero tolerance’ on firearms offences matters, did not cause to be

 

13. Mandatory grounds for refusal of permit for pistol

(1) The Commissioner must refuse to issue a permit authorising the possession or use of a pistol

if the Commissioner is satisfied that the applicant intends to possess or use the pistol for the

purposes of:

 

(a) hunting (including the control or suppression of vermin or pest animals) or fishing, or

 

(b) farming or grazing activities (including the destruction of diseased or injured animals).

 

. (2) However, subclause (1) does not apply in relation to an applicant if the Commissioner is

satisfied, on production of such evidence as the Commissioner may require, that the applicant

has a medical condition or disability that prevents the applicant from using a rifle or shotgun for

the purposes referred to in that subclause.

 

. (3) If the Commissioner issues a permit pursuant to subclause (2) authorising a person to

possess or use a pistol for a purpose referred to in subclause (2), the Commissioner must revoke

any licence or permit that authorises the person to possess or use a rifle or shotgun.

 

. 13. There are some farms in rural areas where people need access to a handgun, because a rifle

or carbine is simply too unwieldy or dangerous to use under the conditions existing upon that

property. This occurs in particular where terrain is particularly steep or boggy or wet.

 

. 14. The above Regulation fails to address this, and seeks to avoid applications based on health

grounds with a threat of disentitlement to other firearms.

 

. 15. I understand that Police do not want to encourage the proliferation of high capacity

handguns so loved by criminals, but in an environment where only 1% of containers entering

Australia are actually checked, it remains very easy to obtain an illegal handgun in Australia and

no amount of toughening of domestic laws is going to resolve this.

 

. 16. All this proposal does is to penalise farmers.

 

. 17. 22. Revocation of licence—exemption for defence force personnel posted outside State

A person who is a member of the Australian Defence Force is exempt from the requirement that

a licence held by the person must be revoked when the person ceases to be a resident of this

State if the Commissioner is satisfied that the person is resident outside the State as a result of

being posted outside the State.

 

18. Reciprocal arrangements are needed with other states to accommodate ADF Personnel who

have handgun licences, so that qualification periods are waived for them as they move from one

state or territory to another.

 

19. 16 Requirement to notify Commissioner if reason for possessing firearm ceases

. (1) If a licensee’s genuine reason for possessing or using a firearm under the authority of a

licence can no longer be established by the licensee, the licensee must, within 14 days of ceasing

to have that genuine reason, notify the Commissioner of that fact in writing or in such other

manner as may be approved.

 

Maximum penalty: 50 penalty units.

 

. 20. One example to highlight the difficulty with this clause. Hunters are not necessarily in

contact with Farmers who may ground their ‘genuine reason’ all the time. Consequently, it may

be several months after a ‘genuine reason’ has ceased, by for example the death of a property

owner or disposal of a property that a shooter becomes aware of the expiry of their genuine

. 21. 18. Requirement to notify Commissioner of address where firearms are kept

. (1) The holder of a licence or permit must, within 14 days after acquiring any firearm, give the

Commissioner a notice in writing:

 

(a) specifying the address of the premises on which the firearm is to be kept when not actually

being used, and

 

(b) specifying particulars of the arrangements that have been made by the licence or permit

holder for the safe keeping and storage of the firearm on those premises, and

 

(c) certifying that those arrangements comply with the requirements of the Act and this

Regulation concerning the safe keeping and storage of the firearm.

 

22. Why not deem the storage address to be the owners normal storage address unless

otherwise advised.

Given that the Regulations to on to require Firearms be stored at a firearms owners residence,

this provision is somewhat odd.

 

23. 22. Revocation of licence—exemption for defence force personnel posted outside State

A person who is a member of the Australian Defence Force is exempt from the requirement that

a licence held by the person must be revoked when the person ceases to be a resident of this

State if the Commissioner is satisfied that the person is resident outside the State as a result of

being posted outside the State.

 

24. Needs to go further, so that attendance requirements for members of clubs are waived

during the term of any posting.

 

25. 23. Revocation of permit—additional reasons

(1) A permit may be revoked by the Commissioner if:

. (a) the Commissioner is satisfied that it is not in the public interest for the permit holder to

continue to hold it, or

 

. (b) the Commissioner is satisfied that the permit holder no longer has a legitimate reason for

possessing or using the firearm or the ammunition to which the permit relates, or

 

. (c) the permit holder becomes subject to a firearms prohibition order or an apprehended

violence order, or

 

. (d) the permit holder contravenes a provision of the Act, the Weapons Prohibition Act 1998 or

the regulations under either of those Acts, whether or not the permit holder has been prosecuted

for or convicted of an offence in respect of any such contravention.

 

26. For reasons already given above (d) is offensive because it enables a person to be penalised

as a result of an opinion by a Police Officer or delegate of the Commissioner, without that

decision being subject to the rule of law.

 

27. 34. Members of approved hunting clubs—restriction on authority conferred by licence

. (1) If a licensee who is a member of an approved hunting club has established recreational

hunting/vermin control as a genuine reason for being issued with the licence, the licence

authorises the member to possess and use a firearm:

 

(a) to participate in shooting activities conducted by the approved hunting club, but only on rural

land for which the club has been given permission to shoot by the owner or occupier of the land

or by an authorised officer, or

 

(b) to participate in shooting activities other than those conducted by the approved hunting club,

but only on rural land for which the licensee has been given permission to shoot by the owner or

occupier of the land or by an authorised officer.

 

28. Inflexible. Why cannot an approved hunting club conduct a ‘range day’ at a shooting range

with an informal shoot, and perhaps a degree of coaching?

29. Licences and permits extend to authorise sighting in, patterning and related activities.

 

30. 35 (1) The authority conferred by a licence or permit that authorises the use of a firearm by a

person extends to include the use of a firearm by the person for the purposes of any of the

following activities:

 

(a) sighting in the firearm (including sight alignment and including patterning of a shotgun),

 

2. (b) tuning of the firearm (including the adjusting or aligning of a shotgun),

 

3. (c) familiarisation with or testing of ammunition,

 

4. (d) practising on stationary targets (or moving targets in the case of a shotgun) but only for

the purposes of an activity referred to in paragraphs (a)–(c).

 

2. (2) This clause authorises the use of a firearm only at a place at which use of the firearm is

otherwise lawful (including but not limited to an approved shooting range).

 

3. (3) This clause does not authorise:

 

1. (a) the use of a firearm to participate in competitions or activities conducted by a shooting

club at an approved shooting range except the activities referred to in subclause (1)), or

 

2. (b) the use of a shooting range otherwise than in accordance with the approval of the

shooting range, including any conditions subject to which the approval was granted.

 

Hunters need to do an element of practice with a firearm to maintain skill.

 

31. Hunters should be able to access rifle ranges whenever they like for purposes of practice and

also be able to undertake a degree of informal shooting or ‘plinking’ on rural land.

South Australian legislation permits the latter, and they have not experienced any significant

problems as a result of this practice.

 

32. 39. Arrangements for inspection of firearms

A licensee must make all reasonable efforts to accommodate any reasonable request by the

Commissioner to enter an arrangement under section 19 (2) (c) of the Act.

 

Maximum penalty: 50 penalty units.

 

33. This causes particular concern. In some areas, Police make reasonable attempts to contact

people and make arrangements in order to inspect gun safes. In other areas, they just arrive,

often at odd hours of the day and demand immediate access.

 

34. Often Police are accompanied by officers from specialist units such as RAPTOR, which

suggests that the Firearms Safety inspection is being used as a means to obtain access to

someone’s premises who is perhaps a relative of an interested person, where no grounds for a

warrant exists.

 

35. This is a serious civil liberties concern.

 

36. I have heard of other similar instances, particularly in Police Districts where Police who

conduct inspections are simply unfit for general duties on a particular day, are bored, and have

little understanding of, or desire to work with, the generally compliant firearms ownership

community. (this often occurs in Queanbeyan, and indeed my safes were inspected on no less

than six occasions during the last check period, and one Policeman demanded access at 6.30 am,

while I was in my PJ’s. I sent him packing, however, I wonder how many would have done so in

the absence of my qualifications.

 

37. The presence of a charge, other than for example issue of a notice requiring that they contact

Police within so many days and arrange an inspection, shall increase this type of institutional

 

38. If an individual does not reasonably allow inspection it is already open to Police to simply

suspend their licence or to send a ‘show cause’ letter.

 

39. The approach set out in this regulation is excessive and a civil liberties violation.

 

40. 40. Requirements for storage of firearms on residential premises

 

1. (1) The holder of a licence must not store a firearm on residential premises unless:

 

1. (a) the premises are the principal place of residence of a person (whether or not that person is

the licensee), or

 

2. (b) a person is residing at the premises when the firearm is stored there (whether or not that

person is the licensee).

 

2. (2) In this clause, residential premises includes any premises on land that is used wholly or

partly for residential purposes.

 

41. I understand Police concern about theft from non-residential properties.

 

43. I would suggest an amendment permitting firearms to be left at holiday properties

providing that they are effectively rendered harmless by the removal by the owner, from the

premises of the bolt or firing mechanism, and with the owner taking that item with them to

their primary residence.

 

44. This way, any firearm recovered by a thief is useless.

 

45. 41 Additional restrictions in relation to issuing firearms dealer licences

 

1. (1) A firearms dealer licence that authorises a firearms dealer to carry on business at specified

premises must not be issued unless the Commissioner is satisfied that:

1. (a) the applicant is carrying on or proposes to carry on the business of a firearms dealer as a

genuine commercial enterprise at those premises, and

 

2. (b) those premises are suitable for carrying on the business of a firearms dealer, and

 

3. (c) any consent or approval that is required under the Environmental Planning and Assessment

Act 1979 for the use of the premises for the purposes of the business of a firearms dealer has

been granted.

 

2. (2) In considering whether or not premises are suitable for such purposes, the Commissioner is

to have regard to the following:

 

1. (a) the nature of the activities proposed to be conducted on the premises,

 

2. (b) the kinds of firearms to which the licence relates,

 

3. (c) whether adequate provision has been made for the safe keeping of firearms by means of a

safe or strongroom or otherwise,

 

4. (d) the security of the premises against unauthorised entry,

 

5. (e) in the case of a licence that authorises the testing of firearms on the premises— whether

an efficient bullet recovery box or bullet stop is provided on the premises.

 

46. There is an advantage, particularly in smaller rural communities, where there may not be a

local gun shop within a reasonable distance, in having a local who operates as a dealer on a

small scale. This can assist shooters with sales, purchases and compliance matters.

 

47. As with many services that operate in country areas, they may not operate according to a

strictly-commercial basis, and in many instances, the person operating such a business is a semiretired

person who operates a small scale dealership on the side.

 

48. These individuals do not carry much stock and provide a low level of risk.

 

49. 43 Authority conferred by firearms dealer licence extends to certain employees

. (1) The authority conferred by a firearms dealer licence extends to an employee of the licensed

firearms dealer despite the employee being under the age of 18 years, but only if:

 

(a) the employee would otherwise be eligible to be issued with a licence, and

 

(b) the employee has, in accordance with section 8 of the Act, been authorised in writing by the

Commissioner to do the things that the licensed firearms dealer is authorised to do under the

licence, and

 

(c) the employee is, at all times when acting under the authority of a firearms dealer licence,

supervised by the firearms dealer or by an employee of the firearms dealer who is over the age

of 18 years and to whom the authority conferred by the firearms dealer’s licence extends.

 

. (2) If the business premises of a licensed firearms dealer are situated within 50 kilometres of

another State or Territory, the authority conferred by the firearms dealer licence extends to a

person who is a resident of that other State or Territory and who is employed by the dealer to

work at those premises, but only if the person would otherwise be eligible to be issued with a

 

50. Supervision requirement of ‘at all times’ is too onerous for a small business where for

example one person may need to take items to the post office etc for shipment, attend to

bodily functions etc.

 

50. Authority conferred by firearms dealer licence extends to certain employees

 

51. 44. Offences that prevent persons from being involved in firearms dealing business

(1) For the purposes of section 44A (3) (b) of the Act, the following offences are prescribed:

. (a) Offences relating to firearms or weapons

 

An offence relating to the possession or use of a firearm or any other weapon,

or a firearm part or ammunition, committed under:

 

(i) the law of any Australian jurisdiction, or

(ii) the law of any overseas jurisdiction (being an offence that, had it been committed in

Australia, would be an offence under the law of an Australian jurisdiction).

 

51. There is no sense of balance here, a trivial breach can preclude licensing. See earlier

 

52. 54 Death of firearms dealer

. (1) A person who has control of the business of a licensed firearms dealer (the dealer) following

the death of the dealer must:

 

. (a) notify a police officer of the death of the dealer within 24 hours after death, and

 

. (b) permit access by a police officer at any reasonable time to the premises on which the

business of the dealer was carried on (the dealer’s business premises), and

 

. (c) permit access by a police officer at any reasonable time to any records kept by the dealer for

the purposes of the Act and allow the police officer to make copies of any such records, and

 

. (d) make any firearm, firearm part or ammunition on the dealer’s business premises available

for inspection by a police officer at the dealer’s business premises at any reasonable time, and

 

. (e) comply with any direction of a police officer for ensuring the safe keeping and proper

storage in accordance with the Act of any firearm, firearm part or ammunition on the dealer’s

business premises.

. Maximum penalty: 50 penalty units.

 

. (2) A reference in this clause to a person who has control of the business of licensed firearms

dealer includes any person who is in possession of the dealer’s business premises.

 

53. This would necessarily involve the Executor. Thus a widow of a Dealer, who has just lost her

husband, many find herself inadvertently in breach of the law, because of grief, she does not

advise the Firearms Registry within 24 hours.

 

54. Logically, she may become aware of her obligations before seeing a solicitor regarding

Probate, and even then, the solicitor may not be aware of the requirements in the Firearms

Regulations, leading to further delays.

 

55. You may incorrectly think Police would not prosecute a widow, but in an environment

where the former Police Commissioner issued an edict on ‘zero tolerance on firearms crime’ –

which has not been withdrawn, this is not the case.

 

56. Part 14 makes references to ‘temporary amnesties’.

 

57. It used to be possible for people who have an un-licenced firearm, to take it to a dealer and

the dealer could back capture it onto the Registration system.

 

58. If one accepts the needs for Registration, the Police decision not to permit this to happen

because the firearm is in their opinion illegally held is illogical.

 

59. Many firearms are coming to light today as a result of deceased war veteran’s and families

justifiably want to obtain payment for them.

 

60. If they cannot, they hang onto the firearm and await an amnesty in which payment may be

 

61. This discourages people from contacting the Police about the firearm.

 

63. A person should be able to register a firearm at any time without risk of penalty. The one

proviso to this being if it is shown to have been used in the commission of an offence.

 

64. 67. Paint-ball game permit

. (1) The Commissioner may, on application by a person, issue a permit (a paint-ball game

permit) authorising the holder of the permit:

 

. (a) to conduct organised activities involving the use of paint-ball guns, and

 

. (b) to possess paint-ball guns for the purposes of enabling other persons to participate in those

 

. (2) The Commissioner must not issue a paint-ball game permit unless the Commissioner is

satisfied that:

 

. (a) the conduct of those activities on the premises specified in the application has been

approved by the local consent authority, and

 

. (b) those activities will be conducted with proper regard to the preservation of public safety.

 

. (3) The holder of a paint-ball game permit is authorised to conduct activities involving the use

of paint-ball guns, and to possess paint-ball guns, but only on the premises specified in the

 

. (4) A paint-ball game permit is subject to the following conditions:

 

. (a) the permit holder must not allow a person to use a paint-ball gun (other than a paint-ball

gun provided by the permit holder) on the premises specified in the permit unless the holder of

the permit has seen the person’s paint-ball gun permit,

. (b) the permit holder must allow the inspection at any time of the premises specified in the

permit by a police officer (or such other person as may be approved),

 

. (c) such conditions as may be imposed by the Commissioner concerning the safe keeping of

paint-ball guns.

 

. (5) A person (other than the holder of a paint-ball game permit) who possesses or uses a paintball

gun on the premises specified in a paint-ball game permit is not required to hold a licence or

permit authorising the possession or use of the paint-ball gun.

 

. (6) The exemption provided by subclause (5) only applies while the person is in possession of, or

while the person is using, the paint-ball gun on the premises specified in a paint-ball game

 

Other Types of Permits

. (3) A paint-ball gun permit is subject to such conditions as may be specified in the permit with

respect to the safe keeping and storage of a paint-ball gun to which the permit relates.

 

. (4) A person who is a resident of another State or Territory and is the holder of the equivalent of

a paint-ball gun permit issued under the law in force in that other State or Territory is exempt

from the requirement of the Act to be authorised by a permit to possess a paint-ball gun

otherwise than on premises specified in a paint-ball game permit. However, nothing in this

subclause authorises any such person to use a paint-ball gun otherwise than on premises

specified in a paint-ball game permit.

 

66. Again, we are seeing the continuation of the over regulation of Paint Ball guns. Paint Ball

guns only attracted regulation in the first place by accident- when they were introduced, Police

looked at the old Firearms & Dangerous Weapons Act 1973 and applied provisions to them that

were intended to prevent popular ownership of non-lethal crowd control equipment by

individuals at the time of the Vietnam War.

 

67. It is high time Paintball regulation was brought into line with that of countries across the

western world, that apply only minimal restrictions to their ownership and use.

 

68. Time periods: A number of provisions such as Reg 86, require Notification of the Firearms

Registry within 7 days. Given the location of the Registry, and the time taken by ordinary mail,

this provision is excessively onerous.

 

69. It is suggested that a standard time period be adopted for notifying the Registry of any

changes to information.

 

70. It is disappointing to see that no significant Amendments are in the Regulations to more

appropriately regulate Sound Moderators. In most countries sound moderators, which reduce

the noise of firearms, reducing damage to hearing and distress to neighbours are subject to

limited regulation. Indeed in the UK and NZ, one is regarded as inconsiderate if one shoots

without using one.

 

71. Sound moderators as a practical matter reduce noise by about 1/3rd. There are only about

three western firearms that are Hollywood quiet (they are the DeLisle Carbine, Welrod Pistol and

a High Standard pistol prepared for the US OSS all during WW2).

 

72. That NSW Regulation is at odds with the rest of the world and in line with Russia suggests

that both NSW and Russian Police research was done watching James Bond movies!

 

73. Please consider the above. If you or a colleague wish to discuss any of these matters with me,

 

I am more than happy to make myself available.

Yours sincerely,

Simon Munslow

24 July 2017

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