ANTIQUES: why register something which isn’t dangerous?

Dr Malcolm McKay, Secretary of the Antique & Historical Arms Collectors Guild of Victoria, has kindly submitted this piece on the registration of multi-shot antique firearms which were previously exempted from registration.

Once again it shows the danger that comes with having decision makers in government who don’t know their topics:

A complication to the process of registration is the regulatory change made in 2003 which required that previously exempt antique pistols (muzzle loading, or those taking obsolete forms of ammunition dating from the 19th century) needed to be registered.

This meant that pistols that were so old that they had no modern history of criminal misuse were added to the burden of Registry.

The reason for this useless make-work addition to Registry’s workload seems to have been caused by confusing modern reproductions of these antiques used by black powder shooters (which because they were being used by licensed shooters, did rightly require appropriate licensing and registration) with the real antiques which by and large were not shot due to age, value and other considerations.

In fact these had been exempt from registration since 1984 as it was conceded then, quite correctly, that they were not a threat to public safety. And if these were used by shooters then those shooters were required to have the appropriate licences.

In effect this was an expensive waste of time for Registry and collectors of antique pistols alike and one which was never ever adequately justified by our regulators in the form of data that showed criminal misuse to support this retrograde step.

It was a prime example of legislation being written and enforced in the manner discussed here recently concerning the overall lack of firearms knowledge demonstrated by our regulatory authorities.

This is not a criticism of Registry because I can say that in many years of dealing with them I personally have had no problems with Registry, the Registrar or the staff. However the added make work exercises like the double handling as I outlined above in the transaction process and the requirement to treat antique obsolete 19th century firearms in the same manner as modern pistols are unnecessary additions to the workload of an understaffed and under-resourced regulatory body.

So to close the question is do we actually need registration or can the process be simplified by removing make-work activities thus freeing up scarce resources for proper management of firearms matters.

  1. We do not have to register antique guns in NSW, but it is illegal to “use” them. Frankly I do not see the point in an “H” class licence requirement for a muzzleloading pistol, & the same goes for the registration of muzzleloading guns, repro or antique.
    People overseas don’t laugh at our ridiculous laws, they simply feel sorry for us.
    Unfortunately barracking for change in gun laws for muzzleloading guns will not produce any change, because those of us who favour muzzleloading guns are not supported by the firearms fraternity in Australia. They see us as a minority & they are not interested. This was made evident by the lack of signatures on a certain petition asking for the “H” class requirement be removed for muzzleloading pistols, & the comments left by Australian shooters. We are divided.

  2. First I’ve heard. QLD doesn’t require H licencing for antique pistols after a certain vintage. Nor should single shot, black powder, cap and ball type firearms. Complete waste of time. Most cons wouldn’t know what to do with them!

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