Media Release: Community at risk over firearm data ‘honeypot’

Victoria’s firearm registry has become a ballooning risk to public safety, according to the political arm of the state’s shooting organisations.

Combined Firearms Council of Victoria president, Bill Paterson, said recent data leaks in Victoria and New South Wales compromised the safety of shooters and community members, and more leaks were inevitable.

In January, details of approximately 8,000 Victorian game licence holders were sent to the wrong email addresses.  In April, over 100 New South Wales shooters licences were sent to the wrong addresses.

“This is unacceptable, firearms owners understand that the Registry needs details of their name and address, but those owners certainly do not want the fact that they hold guns at their home made public, along with the address”, he said.

“If something doesn’t work, is expensive to maintain and becomes a liability to the community, it needs to be stopped. That’s where we’re at with firearm registration. Our system was designed in 1983, and it shows”.

He said abolishing the registry creates no safety risks for the community because licensing of shooters would be retained.

“We support licensing and think more effective outcomes could be obtained with better partnership arrangements between government and the shooting community.

“International experience is on our side.  In 2011 Canada abolished its registry and New Zealand which has 20% more shooters than we have in Victoria, doesn’t register longarms. Neither country has a ‘gun problem’”

“Yet in Victoria, we deal with t-shirt launchers in the same way as military style semi-automatic rifles.

“Somehow, that doesn’t seem right.

  1. David Pickford

    My only issue with all of our pro firearm politicians, advocacy groups etc is they continue to seek abolition of only longarm registration.Handguns are no more or less a firearm than a longarm and should be treated the same. There is absolutely no valid reason why handguns should be registeted but longarms not.

  2. Dr Malcolm McKay

    Firearms registration is a policy that the police have never, like other firearms policy, had to justify by producing data that can be subjected to proper public scrutiny. I don’t mean the tame “scrutiny” offered by a committee of politicians who rely on police support whenever they run law and order campaigns if they feel that voter support is waning, but actual informed opinion from citizens and organizations with knowledge of these matters. And also and most importantly the intelligence to identify when criminal activities involving firearms has grown beyond what is the established statistical norm. Which is to say is there an increase in criminal activity overall or is it just the same criminal groups seeking different fields in which to operate.

    The truth is that we don’t have any vetting of data by independent organizations free of police or government control that firearm registration actually does what it is claimed to do. If the police can claim that the checks imposed on licence applicants are necessary to weed out the problem of firearms becoming available to undesirable people (which is something else of which there is no independent verification) then why is it necessary to impose another level of control especially, as this article points out, Canada and New Zealand do not have registration yet they don’t have the gun “problems” our government claims we do.

    Yes Canada and New Zealand have use of firearms by criminals, just as we do, but the number of incidents is not at present statistically in excess of historic data and in fact over the years continues to decline – criminal activity of any sort will never be eradicated but there is nothing in the data to warrant the levels of alarm about firearms that our police and government regularly claim in press releases.

    Over recent years we have seen a disturbing willingness of police, politicians and the media to serve their own interests by working together to sensationalize incidents of criminal activity involving firearms that are, in reality, within the statistical norms for a country of our size and social variety. It is unfortunate that for reasons best known to them that they have directed much of this towards law abiding firearms owners.

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