Aug
23

Queensland Weapons Act ‘Under Review’ Make it GOOD NEWS?

Queensland Weapons Act ‘Under Review’ Make it GOOD NEWS?

Submission To Minister of Police Queensland By David Gibson M.P. Member for Gympie,
Contact Your Local Member and ask him to make a Submission on your behalf to the Police Minister as good as this one. If not campaign against him at the next election.
 

                                                                                                                           21 August 2012
                                                                                                                             Sent by Email

The Hon J Dempsey
Minister for Police and Community Safety
PO Box 19195
CITY EAST QLD 4002

Submission on Changes to the Weapons Act 1990 and Regulations.

Dear Minister,

Thank you for the opportunity to make a submission on possible changes to the Weapons Act
and Regulations. In building on this Governments focus on improving efficiencies and
removing unnecessary red tape I have focused my submission on these keys areas.
It is clear that the LNP Government has inherited a dysfunctional licencing and registration
system that is at best inefficient and misdirected at law abiding firearm owners with very little
public benefit as criminal groups continue to trade in illegal firearms and use them with tragic
consequences. The policy direction under the previous Labor Government did very little to
address criminal activities involving firearms but instead targeted law abiding gun owners in
an attempt to be seen to be getting tough on guns.

The impact of the current licencing and registration system in Queensland has been to divide
the community into three groups, lawful firearm owners, lawful firearm owners who commit a
breach (often due to a technical oversight of the over prescriptive regulations) and the third
group of criminals that own and use firearms for illegal purposes. However the bulk of the
work generated from the current system has the QPS focused on the activities of the 250,000
licenced lawful firearm owners rather than the criminal trade in and use of illegal firearms.

I note that both New Zealand and Canada have recently made changes to their respective
laws and adopted a more cost effective weapon regulation system without any comprise to
public safety. These changes could easily be adapted to Queensland by simply shifting the
focus to the requirement for all individuals to hold a weapons licence in order to possess an
unrestricted firearm without any changes to the safety training or safe storage requirements
for anyone who uses or owns a firearm to continue. I hope that your department will adopt
lessons learnt from these two similar jurisdictions.
My submission is based on local feedback on various issues and provides both the current
issue and a possible solution.

Current Issue: The current system of firearm registration only indicates where licenced
firearms are kept by law-abiding gun owners and is over prescriptive and targets the law
abiding gun owners rather than criminals.

Possible Solution: Enforce tougher penalties on illegal firearm possession and criminal use, to
send a clear message to the criminals that they will suffer for their illegal actions.

Current Issue: The current Weapons Act and Regulations has a range of severe penalties for
activities that only law abiding gun owners would undertake such as the responsibilities of
person attending an approved range. The act makes no reference to criminal intent and
seems directed at people who are already obeying the law and may perhaps make a simple
error.

Possible Solution: Reduce the excessive penalties on legal firearm activities.

Current Issue: At present after all background checks are completed and only when a
applicant is deemed to be a ‘fit and proper person’ are they provided with a firearm licence,
therefore it seems duplicitous and unnecessary red tape to re-examine their suitability with a
Permit to Acquire every time they purchase a firearm. This currently is a requirement that is
inefficient, results in extensive blowouts in the required response timeframe, and provides no
public safety benefits.

Possible Solution: Remove the current Permit to Acquire requirements.

Current Issue: The current system of over prescriptive requirements to meet the limited
conditions for a reason to own a firearm and on the number of firearms that one person can
own is a ludicrous as telling a licenced driver the type of car they can own and that they can
only own one car at any one time. Legal firearm ownership does not equate to criminal
activity and the over-regulating of ownership is counterproductive to public safety as there is
no benefit and diverts limited QPS resources into monitoring activities.
Possible Solution: Relax the current requirements on a reason to own a firearm and remove
the regulations that limit the number of firearms a person owns.
Current Issue: The current system of over prescriptive categories for firearms and licences
(A,B,C,D,H,M,R, and Collectors) is again inherently inefficient. The requirement to be a ‘fit and
proper’ person does not very between the categories or licences?

Possible Solution: Consolidate the current categories and licences.

Current Issue: The current requirement on modifying a firearm to make it permanently
inoperable is again over prescriptive and completely destroys the very reason why you would
want to keep a deactivated firearm. The previous provisions were detailed and perfectly
adequate.

Possible Solution: Remove the current over prescriptive requirement for modifying a firearm
to make it permanently inoperable and simply make it that an armourer is required to certify
that the weapon has been modified and is permanently inoperable.
Thank you for the opportunity to make this submission and I look forward to seeing what
changes to the Weapons Act 1990 and Regulations are proposed.
Yours sincerely,

David Gibson MP
Member for Gympie


Please forward your own Submission to your local member of Parliament or forward to email to: jack.dempsey@ministerial.qld.gov.au

or better still send it to both. Your elected representatives will be voting on the  points that David Gibson has raised, we have to give support or look like toothless tigers. If you want Good News you have to work for it.
For ideas  Please find below a copy of my submission to My Local Member David Gibson.

From: ron owen [mailto:b3969976@spiderweb.com.au]
Sent: Monday, 13 August 2012 11:08 PM
To: David Gibson
Subject: Alterations to Weapons Act 1990
To David Gibson MP
Member for Gympie,
Channon Street
Gympie, 4570
13th August 2012

Ron Owen
24 Mc Mahon Rd
Gympie 4570.
Contact Phone Number Work 07 54 825070
Home 07 54 829566

Dear Sir.

Submission on Changes to the Weapons Act 1990 and Regulations.

Please find below a submission suggesting changes to Queenslands Weapons Act 1990 and Regulations.
Qualifications as a Stakeholder.
A retired veteran of H. R. H. Grenadier Guards.
A competition shooter competing in international events since 1960,
A retired Prison Officer, Victorian Department of Social Welfare.
A Firearm Dealer running a dealership and licence since 1975,
I wrote the ‘Range Officer Handbook’ 530 pages on competitive shooting and hunting.
I am a currently a Justice of the Peace and a retired Local Government Councillor.
I currently am the President of the Firearm Owners Association of Australia. The President of the Cooloola Range Complex Association, Vice President of the Firearm Designers Theamic Collectors Association, Treasurer of Queensland Indoor Air Rifle Association, I am also a member of the Shooters Union, and Gympie Service Rifle Club and Gympie Small Bore and Silhouette club and Gympie Pistol Club.
I only include the list of clubs so that you would appreciate that I field an enormous amount of inquiry from reputable members of our community that have problems produced by the 1990 Weapons Act and Regulations.
From mothers who have dingo’s /wild dogs attacking her children as they wait for the school bus, and cannot wait the official 28 day, waiting period, or the 12 months imposed by the Queensland Police Service due to its self created bureaucratic nightmare. To the shooter who has paid and applied for a Permit to Acquire, who patiently waits for 4 months before phoning to see what’s happening and is told that they have posted it to him. He presumes that it is still in the mail and waits another two months nothing arrives, he phones again they say that it has been posted to him. He asks them to check the address, it is the same, they ask if he has moved, he states he has lived there all his life and asks them to send out another copy. They say that is impossible as it has expired and he will have to go to the Police Station again, pay another $31.10 and spend another hour filling out the forms.
Complaints like this are everyday events over the counter in the guns shop, beside the Countless complaints of even waiting up to 11 months for a ‘shooters licence’ or a Permit to Acquire.

The Australasian Police Ministers’ Council (APMC) on 10 May 1996 passed eleven resolutions. The agreed outcomes were strict conditions for the sale, storage and usage of firearms and the issuance of various types of firearm licences.
It is a common misconception that as a consequence of the APMC meetings that Australia was to have uniform firearm legislation across the states and territories. Australia has never had uniform firearm legislation and does not have uniform firearm legislation at the present time. Each state and territory has interpreted what the minimum standards are and how they are to be implemented in their own jurisdictions.

The Queensland Nightmare

The LNP has inherited a dysfunctional licensing and registration system that collapsed in November 2010 when the QPS attempted to introduce a new computer system for licensing in the Weapons Licensing Branch.
Queensland has labouriously exceeded the 1996 resolution by imposing not just one 28 day waiting period for the Firearm Licence but duplicated it by imposing another 28-day waiting period for the Permit to Acquire, this as I have mentioned above due to a burdened system extends out to up to 11 months in some cases.
42 days after a shooter has paid to renew his licence and filed his completed forms at the Police station, the legislation states his licenced has lapsed. He, or she has to put their firearms into paid storage at his local Guns shop or surrender them to the Police station, then re-apply, take a Safety legislation course, pass it pay for it again, pay for a licence application, fill-out all the forms supply the photographs again. Just because Weapons Licensing Branch cannot complete the renewal within the time limit imposed by the legislation, they cannot even manage this to do this.

A Divided Community

There is no statistical evidence that demonstrates the introduction of any restrictive legislation has had any effect on either the crime rate and in particular the homicide rate. Statistics show that the homicide rate by firearms has been steadily dropping since the early 1980’s
It’s only feature is to divide the community into three groups, lawful firearm owners, and unlawful firearm owners (just by the fact they refused to surrender their firearm) and a third group that missuses firearms or use them for illegal purposes. It gives the Police an enormous responsibility and work load mainly hunting down misdemeanours of the 250,000 licensed law-abiding shooters for being a day late in renewing a licence, checking that firearms are in the safe containers. For ten years, or more we have been writing to the Queensland Police Force asking for statistics on how many licenced shooters have committed a crime (under the Criminal Code) with his registered firearm, not just a failure to renew, or a ‘failure to secure’, or other misdemeanours. Each time we are told that the QPS does not keep that statistic. I have noticed that Charges are included in statistics of firearm crimes that are given to the Police Ministers’ conference even though the courts found that no crimes had been committed. As taxpayers and contributors to multi licence fees, billions have been spent during the last 14 years on these restrictions, for no results.

Firearm Restrictions do Not Reduce Armed Crime.

After 52 years of reading and research on firearm statistics, no one has been able to come up with any un emotional data that shows restrictive firearm legislation is successful, or that firearms cause violent crimes, most statistics prove the opposite. As an example, Chief Inspector Colin Greenwood, UK after losing a colleague to an armed criminal completed full time research at Oxford University for his Thesis with the intention of supplying evidence that supported stricter gun laws concluded that there was no such evidence in fact the evidence suggested the reverse in his book Firearms Control: a Study of Armed Crime and Firearms Control in England and Wales by GREENWOOD, COLIN. So all intelligent people accept that there is no point to Firearm legislation it is only a media ‘feel good operation’. In fact the media propel firearm legislation but would be distraught if it ever worked as they would miss out on the hype that they produced.
Improvements in Queensland.
Many people, from many of our very worthwhile shooting associations will supply good idea’s skirting around the periphery of the real heart of the dragon. They will for example show that there are many conundrums and contradictions, such as the few examples related above, and ones like the new pistol shooters who have to attend a Pistol club and have to compete in shooting competitions before applying for a Licence, but are denied the right to buy ammunition or the right of anyone to sell it to them, so cannot without breaking the law complete the requirement before getting a licence. These do need addressing, but first we have to

               Change the Permit to Acquire System.

It would be simpler and cheaper to remove the requirement for long arm registration. In one stroke and follow the example of Canada and New Zealand , save millions every year and allow the QPS to concentrate on getting the licencing renewals completed within the 42-day period before they out of time and a shooter has to start again with a new application. (As Above)
As this might upset the “feel good” brigade I would like to suggest a compromise that would alleviate much of the police time and our expense, yet impose more work and responsibility on the States Licenced Firearm Dealers.
This scheme would retain the Police Ministers 1996 agreement of registration and the 28-day waiting period.
The Alteration
1. A person would apply in the same way, prove their identification at the Police Station and file an application in the same way and wait the 28 days before the licence is issued.
Information. As at present all background checks are completed and if a person received their licence and for instance had a domestic argument the police currently have the power to immediately suspend the licence. So if a licence is current and in the hands of the holder at present any other shooter can lend him or her a firearm, their licence is worth something they can hold and use a firearm. So why cannot a dealer sell and register the firearm to the licensed shooter, which in effect he does at present. He has to by law check the details on the Permit to Acquire, more often than not, it is not complete, he corrects it, sometimes with a phone call and a fax to QPS, he posts it off to QPS ever 14 days and records every transaction twice, once in the Form 10 book that a copy goes to QPS and also in his register which is the hard copy register that is the police commissioner register per the legislation. The electronic Police register in Weapons Licencing is sometimes four months behind catching up with new firearms coming into the State of Queensland so cannot be regarded as the official register.

The Alteration.
2. When the Licensed shooter wishes to purchase a long arm he selects one at the licensed Firearm Dealer, provides his license (and the money) the Dealer checks the photo, checks that it is current, (as he has to do now) checks his current address from his driving licence or other ID. He writes out a Permit to Acquire which has a triplicate copy. One for the customer, to prove he was the registered owner. One for the QPS one for the Dealers records. (As he does now already) The Dealer fills in the Licensed shooter details into the register along side the details of the firearm. (As he has to do now) The Dealer, within 14 days post the copy of the PTA signed by the licenced shooter and the dealer to QPS (as he has to do now). The QPS update the electronic register (as they have to do now). Quick easy, done on the spot, The only alteration to the legislation required is that the Dealer provides the Permit to Acquire after he ascertains that one the licence is bonafide and two the firearm is in the Category that the licence states they are licensed for. (As he has to do now)

This same procedure can be completed by a dealer for a brokerage to transact a firearm between two licensed shooters. The Dealer is made responsible under the current act for carrying out these duties with repairs, and records the transaction with a form 10 to QPS and when selling to other licensed Firearm Dealers within Australia and within 14 days those form 10s are sent to QPS and the dealer register registers the transaction. So in effect all the legislation for carrying out this alteration is already in place it is just a legislative change of procedure. That retains registration and free’s up the police staff to carry out much more important procedures.
Yours

Ron Owen J.P.

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