Community safety is being compromised as political elites and ideologues continue their war on licensed firearm owners, Katter’s Australian Party Leader and Traeger MP Robbie Katter has told the Queensland Parliament.
Mr Katter said he and his fellow KAP colleague’s offices had received an unprecedented number of complaints and pleas for assistance from the public following changes made the definition of “Fit and Proper Person” in December.
The new criteria, spawn out of the Queensland Audit Office’s review into the regulation of firearms in the state, now places greater scrutiny on an applicant’s traffic history, health status and ability to successfully participate in bureaucratic processes.
This includes broad and ambiguous questioning that can result in a rejected license if an applicant makes a mistake or accidentally omits personal information.
Mr Katter said while the Weapon’s Licencing Branch was part of the Queensland Police Service, it was the Labor State Government who had to take responsibility for the system.
He said their political obsession with punishing those with a genuine need for a gun was risking community safety.
“I would challenge anyone to name a group that is more discriminated against than licensed firearm owners, and these laws are not doing anything,” he said.
“After looking at the evidence, the only thing being achieved by all this effort from the Government is people like me and farmers are writing more letters regarding the constraints around us.
“We are not the problem; it is the illegal gun owners that the Government should be focusing on.”
Mr Katter said the decision-makers, including politicians and uniformed police from the Weapon’s Licencing Branch, were too far removed from the day-to-day reality of most licensed gun-users.
“These decisions are being made from an office from Brisbane but they have very real consequences for the people on the ground – there are people who need to use these things as tools,” he said.
“In most cases those deciding on applications do not even have a weapon’s licence, so outside of being a uniformed police officer they do not have any real-life experience with how this all operates in practice.
“The focus should always be on community safety, but this needs to be in terms of the evidence of where firearms are genuinely needed”.
The Traeger MP said the goal posts for weapon’s licence applicants were constantly being changed and were now essentially limitless.
“It used to be that five years was the limit where a person applying had to reveal anything on their record; now it is indefinite,” he said.
“A traffic offence from 20 years ago is now relevant and is counting against people.
“For those people who were getting their firearms licence, it is now either held up or they are just not getting it – all this thanks to a 20-year-old traffic offence that never counted before.
“It’s mischievous because the authorities already have all of that information, but they force people applying into admitting it.
“If they forget or make a mistake, they can be forced into a corner that results in the immediate rejection of their application through no genuine fault of their own.”
Mr Katter said while the current situation for licensed weapon-holders was dire, he’d had some preliminary and positive discussions with the State Government.
He said from these talks, there’d been an indication the Government was prepared to take action to restore some common sense to the system.
by Jim O’Toole, Townsville Bureau
A DEEPLY flawed and mishandled audit of the Queensland Police Service Weapons Licensing Branch is the direct cause of this week’s data breach, according to the state’s leading pro-shooting organisation.
More than 1000 gun owners accidentally had their e-mail addresses shared visibly when a police officer sending a mass e-mail to shooters in the Moreton police district forgot to put the details in the “BCC” field.
The incident made national headlines amidst concerns the security of thousands of firearms had been compromised by the error.
Shooters Union Australia President Graham Park said the incident was a direct result of a recent audit of the Weapons Licensing branch by the Queensland Audit Office, which was regarded as deeply flawed by the shooting community.
“This audit report, and in particular its recommendations, totally ignored the real issues facing the state’s Weapons Licensing Branch and firearms regulation framework, ignored the input of shooting organisations and firearms dealers, and instead blamed licensed, law-abiding shooters for police internal issues,” he said.
“It’s clear that in the wake of the audit, front-line and operational police are taking heat from management and political sources and being pushed to appear as if they are coming down on gun owners.
“That’s created a situation where, among other things, police feel compelled to e-mail more than a thousand licensed gun owners to remind them of firearm security matters, as part of an effort to appear proactive and ‘doing something’ about managing firearms in the state.
“As we’ve seen, it only took an unintentional and easily made, but potentially devastating, error to compromise the data and security of a thousand gun owners – all in the name of politically motivated busywork.”
Mr Park said Shooters Union had conducted its own investigation and the information available clearly showed the mishandled audit had sparked this incident.
“There is no doubt in our minds this data breach is directly related to the Audit,” he said.
“Everything we know about how the Weapons Licensing software works indicates it was only a matter of time before an event like this happened, and this flawed Audit has been the primer that’s set it off.”
Cairns News has a few basic policies and one is for all firearms to be dropped from the register. The register has proven to be highly inaccurate and is of no use in fighting crime because 99 per cent of licensed gun owners do not commit crimes. Katters Australian Party too has a similar sensible policy. Remove the registration of firearms and 300 police officers could actually do some policing in the Far North starting at Townsville where runaway crime has ruined many lives.
The Labor Party has no answers and for Labor candidates north of Rockhampton to be re-elected suggests to us Dominion and China indeed had a hand in the Queensland election result.
After all the Labor Party sent the Queensland Electoral roll to China three months before the election.