Cat H Licence for Farmer - Common Sense Prevails - Loose Cannon
SALMON v QLD POLICE WEAPONS LICENSING BRANCH (2018) QCAT 202
I recently reported on the NSW ‘Allen’ decision of Allen v Commissioner of Police, NSW Police Force (2015) NSWCATAD 224), in which the NSW Administrative Review Tribunal granted Mr Allen a silencer. This decision served to inject a degree of common sense into the NSW Firearms Registries approach to silencers- at least in respect to applications from farmers.
In Queensland, there has been another case of particular interest to our primary producing friends- this time, related to Cat H licences.
Mr Salmon owns and occupies a 60,000 acre farm at Quilpie, where he and his wife run 9,000 sheep and 1,500 head of cattle. Since 1996 he has held a Cat H licence for a Smith and Wesson .22 revolver. In May 2017, consistent with their current policy, Qld Police rejected his application for renewal on the basis that the decision maker was not satisfied that Mr Salmon had a genuine reason.
A third of Mr Salmon’s property was Mulga country. He reported that in this country it was not practical to use a Quad bike, necessitating use of a two wheeled motor bike. He had tried long arms but found they tangle in the Mulga. He reported having been attacked by a feral pig.
The Respondent relied on Geary v Qld Police Service Weapons Licensing Branch & Anor (2017) QCAT 6, Harm v Qld Police Service (2010) QCAT 518 and Shaxton v Qld Police Service Weapons Licensing Branch (2014) QCAT 309 which I have discussed in a previous article.
The Tribunal granted Mr Salmon a finding that:
‘The Tribunal is further satisfied, that a Category H concealable weapon is necessary in the circumstances as described by the applicant. On such a large and inaccessible area, except by motorbike, with the high possibility feral pigs may charge during the mustering period, the Tribunal accepts the applicant’s descriptive testimony that it would be impractical to manage the feral pigs while trying to muster the livestock in an efficient and practical manner. The Tribunal accepts that long-arm firearms, whether mounted, carried in a shoulder/cross body holster or are of a fold-down type, necessitate bringing the motorbike to a stop so that the weapon can be accessed, or assembled, and then operated/discharged with both hands on the weapon. The Tribunal is satisfied that seconds of time delay in a charging feral pig circumstance could be detrimental to the applicant’s safety in carrying on his business, and that such stopping and starting could unduly interfere with and extend an already intense mustering process.
 In the matter of Geary the learned Member having considered the cases of Harm and Shaxson concluded that the use of concealable weapons will only be necessary where the terrain or special circumstances make use of a rifle/long-arm weapon impractical or impossible. This Tribunal agrees with that conclusion but adds that the circumstances have to be considered on a case-by-case basis. In this matter whilst it may not be impossible to utilise another weapon other than a concealed one, the Tribunal is satisfied that in the applicant’s circumstances as a sole weapon holder, operating in such a large and inaccessible area against a background of an intense mustering process and the high possibility of the presence of charging feral pigs, renders the use of alternate weapons as described and or suggested by the Respondent impractical’.