How to make bad firearms policy

Bad policy process2

There is little doubt that bad processes within government, lead to bad policies which can only have bad outcomes for the community.

Until the government gets it right, we’re likely to be hit with more and more bad firearm policies.

How it should be

Some of the better government portfolios have processes which are easy to follow.  This ensures there are ‘no surprises’ for affected stakeholders.  Other portfolios don’t seem to have any process at all.

The gold standard is for policy makers is to:

  1. Identify and define the problem;
  2. Analyse the problem;
  3. Consult stakeholders(including coordination across other portfolios);
  4. Develop options;
  5. Seek a decision;
  6. Implement the decision;
  7. Evaluate and if necessary, revisit the decision.

However shooters across the country and across the state do not enjoy that treatment.

The recent decision to limit the importation of the Adler shotgun, the review of the NFA, the recent attempts to bypass the Firearms Consultative Committee on changes the Victorian Firearms Act 1996  on the licensing of juniors and the ongoing fight over duck season are examples of shortcuts being taken by bureaucrats failing to do their jobs properly.

The fact Victoria’s 200,000 licensed shooters are constantly concerned about how firearms policy is made tells you something is wrong.   Spring Street needs to listen.

 How it really is

For shooters, the process seems to be more like:

  1. Read something in the Herald Sun;
  2. Issue a media release making sure to include the words “high powered”, “rapid fire” and “community safety”;
  3. Go on 3AW and talking about getting illegal “high-powered, rapid fire” guns off the street;
  4. Don’t let shooting organisations have input into the process;
  5. Propose increased fees for shooters.

The problem we have is with overzealous bureaucrats who, for whatever reason, do not understand the consequences of the advice they are providing. Or do not want there to be a proper, transparent policy making process on firearms policy.  Either way, it’s an antagonistic approach, which really pisses shooters off.

The state government needs to find a better policy making process.

What can we do?

The Victorian Government has an auditing arm called the Victorian Auditor General’s Office.  VAGO is feared by bureaucrats because it is independent of the bureaucracy and reports it’s finding to both parliament and the media.

While it cannot change decisions by government, it‘s role is one which could shed some light on the policy process used within government.   We’ll be looking at writing to VAGO about this shortly.

  1. Focus all your policies on attacking criminals! Leave people alone who are doing no wrong! Allow law abiding citizens to protect themselves & their property from criminal attack!

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