Minister remakes our firearm regulations. Good news? Who knows?

Victoria’s Police Minister, Lisa Neville, has advised stakeholders who made submissions to the review of the Firearms Regulations that the regulations will be remade with no increase in fees.

You might recall the proposed regulations had some good news in the form of seeking to ensure there were no increases to junior fees, and some bad news such as the costs of public place permits which would have hit re-enactment groups.

In her letter to the CFCV (which you can see in full by clicking herecheck your ‘download’ folder if you don’t see it) the Minister states:

“After reviewing all the feedback collected during the consultation process the Victorian Government
has decided not to increase fees as proposed in the exposure draft of the regulations.”

We welcome the Minister’s announcement to not increase fees.  The advice we have received is that this is not due to the department’s analysis, but was a political decision to ‘play it safe’ just months out from the next state election.

The decision to effectively freeze existing fee levels means permits to acquire for Cat A / B long arms will remain at $9.20 (with no changes due to CPI) while most other fees will be indexed by CPI until the regulations are remade in 2028.

Remaking the existing regulations is what we recommended this time last year.

The ironic thing is, this outcome is what we suggested to the government last May.

At the time, the Victoria Police were running a public campaign in the Herald Sun about firearm storage and lobbying to government for changes to our gun laws, which became the subject of our action in VCAT.

Specifically, we were concerned the Police would use the regulation remaking process to try and have the requirements in the schedules in the Act moved to regulations.  If that happened, it would be easier for the police to ramp up storage requirements – as we saw happen in South Australia.

It would have forced tens of thousands of gun owners to buy new safes, install alarms and so on.  This is because changes to the Act require the agreement of Parliament while changes to regulations can effectively be made by the stroke of a minister’s pen.

Our position back then was blunt – the government needed to consult, and if it didn’t the only acceptable option we saw was to remake the existing regulations without change.

It was following our representation to the Office of the Commissioner for Better Regulation that the Minister’s department finally consulted shooting organisations on fee proposals through the Firearms Consultative Committee.

While that was a good thing, the department still failed to tell the Committee about other changes which we saw in the Regulatory Impact Statement, such as the proposal to require those conducting certain target shooting events on private property to notify the Police 48 hours beforehand.

What about the non-fee matters?

The Minister’s statement that the government would not increase fees is welcome.

However her letter does not say anything about the other issues – such as the target shooting on private property, and proposal to amend the definition of what is a ‘firearm’.

This may be a simple oversight in her letter.  We hope so, and trust we’ll find out soon enough.

In closing

Thank you to the 45 other people, organisations and groups who made submissions to the review.

This outcome isn’t quite what we expected, but if the regulations simply continue what we have, we’ll take it as a win.

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  1. well done CFCV!

  2. We all have to continue against firearm oppression and support those at the frontline the likes of the CFCV

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