Why we don’t like surprises

The Andrew’s Labor Government could be set to spring new firearm laws on us without any consultation if it wins this year’s the state election. 

If we’re wrong, then we’ll set the record straight – but the fact remains that the Government and Victoria Police are sitting on 5 pages of “firearm reform legislation” proposals which they fought hard to keep from us, including through our recent VCAT action.

The burning question remains: what will Labor do after the election?

The Herald Sun stories

This fight started in 2016 when the Herald Sun reported that Victoria Police had made “recommendations for firearm reform legislation” to the government.

This was news to us because these recommendations had not been presented to the Firearms Consultative Committee or the broader shooting community.

This obviously drew our interest, so we send in several Freedom of Information requests to find out what the proposals were.

The police had been unhappy. Very unhappy. .. and apparently hungry

The story on the proposals followed several earlier reports in the Herald Sun through much of 2015 where Victoria Police had been suggesting that our firearm storage laws weren’t tight enough.

The police were grandstanding on the issue, with one senior police officer telling another media outlet that he could rip some gun safes open with his teeth.

Talk about being tabloid. It’s pathetic and unprofessional.

Our VCAT application

With your help, we raised the money we needed to pursue the ‘recommendations’ through VCAT, with the assistance of our lawyer, Avi Furstenberg, and barrister, Robert Cameron.  Both did a brilliant job in helping us with the case, for which we remain grateful.

Soon after lodging our application, we received information which told us what we were looking for.  The information was detailed and quite specific and pointed to them being run by police command. It also suggested that the recommendations went to Cabinet, and the State Government decided to defer them until after this year’s Victorian State Election.

This made continuing with the VCAT action worthwhile, especially if it revealed more detail of the proposals, and who was behind them.

The statement from Victoria Police

 While we lost the case, we found out a number of things from the statement they submitted, which were significant.

The first is that the agenda to change our gun laws was run by Deputy Commissioner, Shane Patton, who worked directly with the police minister.  The second is that the recommendations went to Cabinet – twice – which we already knew.

Let’s be clear about this: A good regulator consults, is open and transparent and tests its proposals with key stakeholders before submitting them to government.  Victoria Police didn’t do this.

VicPol’s statement confirmed that one of the recommendations – the introduction of Firearm Prohibition Orders, which we already know about from the information leaked to us – was among those in the documents we were pursuing.

What then, were the other recommendations?

As Cabinet has agreed to implementing them, we’re concerned that a re-elected Labor Government might do the following:

  1.  Give Victoria Police complete control over the reclassification of firearms, without any avenue of appeal.   This could remove your ability to use five shot magazines, or firearms which simply look undesirable;
  2. Abolish the Firearms Appeals Committee, which would remove your right of appeal against decisions the regulator might make about your licence; and
  3. Give Victoria Police broader powers to enable them to enter and search the home of any licenced shooter to check their guns, without notice and at any time, day or night.

There is a fourth matter which we’re doing some more work on at the moment – and might appear in the media in the next couple of days – but those three recommendations will be significant intrusions on the right of every shooter to enjoy their sport.

Victoria Police can quite easily prove us wrong. All they have to do is show us what they recommended.

Don’t let the major parties surprise us

Not only do we want to see Labor give public commitments they will not make any changes to gun laws without engaging with the Firearms Consultative Committee before policy decisions are made, but we want to see the Coalition do that as well.

If we can secure that from both sides of politics, then we’ll hopefully put an end to the sort of tactics which the police have been using to keep us in the dark.

Not only that, but we want to use the election to score more wins for the shooting sports – as we have done in the past.

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  1. ” without notice and at any time, day or night.”

    East Germany had the Stasi with its terrible tactics and so wrong too and its possibly coming to Victoria ffs!

  2. Oh I don’t know, surely a police state where the authorities determine all aspects of our lives and take away our rights of appeal would be a good thing ? . . . . wouldn’t it ??
    I’m rapidly coming to the conclusion that, particularly when it comes to firearms, the major difference between the authorities and the Nazis is the Nazis kept much better records !

  3. Fuckin oath

  4. IF THE LABOUR GOVERNMENT UPHELD THE CURRENT FIREARM LAWS AND LOCKED UP THE CRIMINALS THAT THEY ALLOW TO WANDER THE STREETS THEN PROBLEM SOLVED. THE POLICE ALREADY KNOW LICENCED SHOOTERS AUSTRALIA WIDE ARE NOT THE PROBLEM AND WOULD BE THE FIRST TO HELP POLICE IF THEY WERE IN TROUBLE. ITS THE BLOODY POLITICIANS THAT ARE THE PROBLEM. CHANGE THE LAWS AND MAKE THEM BE AUSTRALIANS INSTEAD OF THIS CURRENT CROP OF IMPORTED DEADBEATS.

  5. I am 65 years old and always been a hunter and fisherman.A law abiding citizen ,Thanks to the do gooders and greenies controlling our weak incompetent politicians, have turned our once rich beautifull, “AUSSIE”country into the dangerous over regulated disgrace. All l can say is thank you to our short sighted weak gutted polititions which have all allowed our legal system to also weaken our pussy whipped country.

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