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Western Australian Police Firearms Application Forms - PDF

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					Review of the Firearms Act 1973

Report to the Minister for Police




            August 2008
                                 Contents
                                                                  Page

Glossary                                                          3

Executive Summary                                                 4

Recommendations                                                   5

Introduction                                                      9

Methodology                                                       10

Findings and Analysis                                             11

Further Issues Identified                                         26


Annexure A – Discussion and Submission Paper – Results            37
Annexure B – 1996 National Firearm Agreement (NFA) Resolutions    42
Annexure C – APMC Firearms (Handguns) Resolutions November 2002   57
Annexure D – Council of Australian Government (COAG) Communiqué   63




                                                                         2
                                                         Glossary
ACC                                                    Australian Crime Commission

AFP                                                    Australian Federal Police

APMC                                                   Australasian Police Ministers’ Council (now known
                                                       as MCPEMP)

Ballistics                                            Forensic Ballistics, Western Australia Police

CAT                                                    Commissioners Assurance Team

CET                                                    Commissioners Executive Team

COAG                                                  Council of Australian Government

Commissioner                                          Commissioner of Police

DPI                                                    Department for Planning and Infrastructure

Firearms Act                                           Firearms Act 1973

Firearms Regulations                                   Firearms Regulations 1974

FIU                                                    Firearms Inquiry Unit, Western Australia Police

FPWG                                                   Firearms Policy Working Group

Licensing Enforcement                                  Licensing Enforcement Division, Western Australia
                                                       Police

MCPEMP                                                 Ministerial Council for Police and Emergency
                                                       Management – Police (formerly known as APMC) 1

NFA                                                    National Firearm Agreement

SAT                                                    State Administrative Tribunal

Weapons Act                                            Weapons Act 1999

WA Police                                              Western Australia Police

1
  The MCPEMP (formally known as the Australasian Police Ministers' Council (APMC)) was established in 1980 to promote a co-
coordinated national response to law enforcement issues and to maximise the efficient use of police resources. The Council comprises
the Ministers responsible for police from the Australian Government, each of the States and Territories and New Zealand.




                                                                                                                                  3
                                Executive Summary
The review of the Firearms Act commenced in November 2007 with the release of a
“discussion and submission paper” (the paper) to the public; members of the firearm’s
community in particular were encouraged to respond. The paper was designed to inform
and solicit comment from the community, who in the main are interested in firearm-
related matters.

The paper, in the form of a booklet, contained 32 items designed of a specific nature to
determine whether the current legislative provisions for the control and regulation of
firearms and ammunition are appropriate for now and into the future. In other words, the
review was designed to examine and assess the efficiency of the Firearms Act in
managing firearm controls in this State.

In the main the items for discussion, and questions arising from them, were categorised in
four separate parts:
    • Structure of the Firearms Act and the Weapons Act (it was found that the nature
        of matters dealing with the Weapons Act to be minor and will not be further
        considered in this review);
    • Licensing, Permits and Approvals;
    • Restrictions and Limits; and
    • Miscellaneous.

The closing date for submissions to be received by the project team was set at 4:00PM on
Friday, 21 December 2007. Inevitably submissions were received after that date, but they
were accepted in the interests of the report being as comprehensive as possible. Further,
a special exemption was extended to the WA Farmers Federation and the Pastoralist and
Graziers Association, as they had to canvass their members throughout the State. They
had a particular interest in the issue of using Category ‘H’ firearms (handguns) in the
pursuit of their occupation. The extension gave them until 31 January 2008 to fully
respond.

In addition to the discussion paper, the project team conducted face-to-face consultation
with the main body of stakeholders; these people included:
    • Firearm Industry – firearm dealers, repairers, licence holders, clubs and
       associations;
    • WA Police personnel – Ballistics, FIU, and CAT; and
    • The FPWG – States and Territories, Customs, the ACC and CrimTrac.

The project team received approximately 500 replies to the discussion paper. The results
of which have been composed into a quantitative and qualitative case study. These
results are detailed and tabulated in Annexure ‘A’.

The major issues arising from this research will be discussed in detail in this report and
recommendations made.



                                                                                        4
                                  Recommendations
RECOMMENDATION 1: Amend the structure of the Firearms Act so that it is
separated into three distinct parts: “Administration/Licensing” (matters dealing with
definitions, applications for licences under the Firearms Act, delegation, fit and proper,
etc); “Police Powers” (matters dealing with search warrants, stop search and detain,
seizure of firearms, etc); and “Offences” (penalties and sanctions under the Firearms
Act).

RECOMMENDATION 2: Written permission from a landowner should primarily be
required for first-time applications, unless the circumstances of a second or subsequent
application differs significantly from the original application that it dictates the applicant
produce further proof from a landowner to enable police to determine the suitability of a
property for a particular category of firearm.

RECOMMENDATION 3: That the Firearms Regulations, Schedule 3, Category H,
should be amended to remove the current ambiguity that has enabled some pastoralists to
licence handguns for occupational purposes.

RECOMMENDATION 4: The status quo on legislation regarding firearm dealers’
operating their business from home should not be changed. However, it is recommended
that the Regulations prescribe the minimum number of genuine commercial transactions
required to maintain a Dealers Licence.

RECOMMENDATION 5: That the current training package used by WA Police is
prescribed in the Firearms Regulations.

RECOMMENDATION 6: That Western Australia adopts the principle of a nationally
recognised temporary permit to enable international visitors to participate in firearm
competitions subject to a determination on this matter by the FPWG.

RECOMMENDATION 7: That Western Australia maintains its current requirement for
interstate visitors to obtain a Temporary Permit or Interstate Group Permit to possess or
use their firearms whilst in this State.

RECOMMENDATION 8: At this time no amendment is suggested and current
provisions should remain in respect to the Section 8 exemptions that apply to persons
under the age of 18 years.

RECOMMENDATION 9: Crossbows should not be declared a ‘prohibited weapon’
and there should not be a licensing regime to possess crossbows. Crossbows should
remain a ‘controlled weapon’ under the Weapons Act.

RECOMMENDATION 10: It is recommended that no changes be made to legislation
that would allow the game of air-soft to be played.




                                                                                            5
RECOMMENDATION 11: That the specifications for rendering firearms innocuous be
included in legislation and that there is a requirement for certification of the work
undertaken to ensure consistency of application.

RECOMMENDATION 12: The Firearms Regulations be amended to expand the
places where applications for firearms’ licences can be made and lodged.

RECOMMENDATION 13: It is proposed that legislation be amended to change the
current decentralised system of assessing the granting of applications to a centralised
system.

RECOMMENDATION 14: That firearm licence holders requalify every five years to
confirm their genuine reason and genuine need for using a firearm.

RECOMMENDATION 15: Amend the Firearms Act to create two new licenses for
“Commercial Carrier” and “Warehouseman”; and, amend the Firearms Regulations to
prescribe the manner in which these firearms are to be carried, stored and secured.

RECOMMENDATION 16: Amend Section 16 of the Firearms Act to allow
apprentices/trainees to be exempted from having to obtain a licence and be allowed to do
their apprenticeship work under the business licence of the manufacturer or repairer.

RECOMMENDATION 17: Amend Section 31 (2) of the Firearms Act to allow
licensed repairers working for one business/company to have their records submitted on
one form and under the business name.

RECOMMENDATION 18: As there is a need for WA to have a specific licence that
allows a company/business to operate in the area of film, TV and stage productions, the
Firearms Act should be amended to allow for a ‘theatrical licence’.

RECOMMENDATION 19: Amend legislation to create an offence to sell and/or
posses detachable box-type magazines with a capacity to hold more than 10 rounds of
ammunition.

RECOMMENDATION 20: It is recommended that the status of spud guns be reviewed
as part of the review of the definition of a firearm. If it is determined to exclude spud
guns from the definition of a firearm, consideration could be given to amending the
Weapons Regulations to have spud guns identified as a ‘controlled weapon’ or
’prohibited weapon’ under the Weapons Regulations.

RECOMMENDATION 21: Further research the definition of a firearm from other
jurisdictions, both nationally and internationally, and clearly differentiate those items that
were not intended to be firearms, but are toys or industrial tools.




                                                                                            6
RECOMMENDATION 22: Have the definition of possession amended in the Firearms
Act to reflect more clearly the requirements of the National Firearms Trafficking Policy
Agreement.

RECOMMENDATION 23: Amend Section 24 of the Firearms Act to ensure that the
offence of wilfully misleading takes account of future situations where police staff or
other persons may be involved in administration of that statute.

RECOMMENDATION 24: That the powers of the Commissioner to delegate his
functions under Section 5A of the Firearms Act be amended to allow delegation to occur
to persons other than police officers, including police staff.

RECOMMENDATION 25: That the forms in Schedule 1 of the Firearms Regulations
be approved by the Commissioner rather than have them prescribed.

RECOMMENDATION 26: Amend sub-sections 11A (1), 11A (2)(c), 23 (10) and 23
(10a) of the Firearms Act to complement the other relevant Acts in relation to the use of
firearms for customary hunting by Indigenous persons on Crown Land.

RECOMMENDATION 27: Amend the Firearms Regulations to include shooting range
specifications.

RECOMMENDATION 28: Amend the Firearms Act to include a requirement that the
100-point check is done as part of the process to establish an applicant’s bona fides.

RECOMMENDATION 29: Amend Section 8 (1) of the Firearms Act to include certain
employees of the court.

RECOMMENDATION 30: Allow Section 15A of the Firearms Act to remain as it is,
in the event there may one day be an organisation that might require the accreditation of a
‘historical society’.

RECOMMENDATION 31: That no changes be made to the Firearms Act as the
current provisions requiring the purchase and sale of firearms to be conducted through
police are more than adequate and provide a higher standard than the requirements of the
NFA.

RECOMMENDATION 32: That no changes be made to the Firearms Act as the
current provisions adequately address the situation where a person may sell (or otherwise
dispose of) a firearm to a person who does not have a licence or permit to possess it.

RECOMMENDATION 33: That no changes be made to the Firearms Act as the
current provisions adequately address the situation where a person may purchase (or
otherwise acquire) a firearm they do not have a licence or permit to possess.




                                                                                         7
RECOMMENDATION 34:
(1) Amend Section 19A of the Firearms Act to create an offence for an infringement to
    be issued for the non-renewal of a licence.
(2) Extend provisions for the infringement to apply to the non-renewal of a Dealer’s
    Licence, Repairer’s Licence, Manufacturer’s Licence and Corporate Licence.

RECOMMENDATION 35: That the existing Section 23C of the Firearms Act be
reviewed to determine the extent to which this provision would apply where an offence is
committed in another jurisdiction.

RECOMMENDATION 36: That where the outsourcing of certain functions has been
identified the legislative amendments be made to accommodate any proposed or new
arrangements including the ability to levy fees for some functions.

RECOMMENDATION 37: That WA Police support the adoption of a national
agreement in respect to the manufacture of firearms and will continue to participate in the
progression of this matter.

RECOMMENDATION 38: That no further action is necessary by Western Australia at
this time as it has been identified that the matter of mailing firearms and firearm parts via
Australia Post is for NSW and the ACT to address.




                                                                                           8
                                                      Introduction
Background

In 1971 the Tonkin Labor Government undertook the first legislative review of firearms
with the Firearms and Guns Act 1931. As a result of the review, the Firearms Act was
introduced into Parliament and endorsed by both Houses. Since its enactment there has
not been a full review of the legislation. Minor ancillary amendments have been made to
the Firearms Act over the years, with two significant amendments being made following
the Port Arthur 2 massacre in 1996, and the Monash University 3 shooting incident in
2002.

The Port Arthur massacre prompted the collaboration of a nation-wide commitment,
where all States and Territories reviewed and amended their current firearms’ statutes to
create legislation that contained common core provisions. These amendments heavily
regulated the firearms industry and were in accordance with the then newly formed NFA
– see Annexure ‘B’.

The Monash University incident brought further attention to areas of the Firearms Act
which were in need of tighter control. The then APMC ratified 28 resolutions (see
Annexure ‘C’), most of which dealt with restricting the type of handguns deemed legal.
The APMC resolutions were subsequently ratified by COAG on 6 December 2002 when
they agreed on a national approach to restrict the availability and use of handguns;
particularly those which are easily concealable (see Annexure ‘D’).

Rationale for Review

Many of the changes which have occurred to the Firearms Act have been expedited due
to the nature of the incidents prompting the legislative change. This, in conjunction with
the fact that no formal review has been conducted of the Firearms Act, has resulted in the
legislation being a patchwork of amendments that make it quite fragmented and difficult
to read. In conducting a full legislative review of the Firearms Act, the main objectives
were to:
    • investigate whether its current provisions are still appropriate in relation to the
        general maintenance, licensing, fines and use of firearms, and the safety
        implications that it imposes on the Western Australia community;
    • review the Weapons Act, in the context of how it operates in conjunction with the
        Firearms Act (i.e. assess the possibility of a merged Firearms and Weapons Act);
        and


2
  On 28 April 1996, 35 people were killed and 18 others wounded at the historic site of Port Arthur in Tasmania by an assailant using
a semi-automatic rifle. The then APMC convened a special meeting on 10 May 1996 and agreed to a national plan for the regulation
of firearms. The resolutions were refined at subsequent meetings and formed the basis of the National Firearm Agreement. The
Agreement committed all states and territories to a uniform system of firearms licensing and registration.
3
   On 21 October 2002, a shooting incident occurred at Monash University in Melbourne in which two people were killed and five
wounded by a gunman. In response to this incident the National Firearms Trafficking Policy Agreement was agreed to by the then
APMC at its meeting in Darwin on 17 July 2002.



                                                                                                                                   9
•   based on the results from the review, amend legislation accordingly to reflect the
    current and future needs.




                                                                                   10
                                      Methodology
Following the approval of CET for the review to be undertaken, the Legal Services Unit was
delegated this responsibility. The project plan for the review was drawn up and endorsed by CET
in February 2007.

A project team was established, which consisted of two representatives from Legal Services Unit
and one representative from FIU. The project team held fortnightly meetings to monitor progress
and where necessary invited stakeholders to meetings to discuss issues.

The project team consulted with the following:
   • Various personnel within WA Police: FIU, Ballistics, CAT, Licensing Enforcement,
       Commissioner’s Reform and Strategic Coordination Unit, all District Superintendents.
   • Firearm industry: firearm dealers, repairers, licence-holders, clubs.
   • Farmers and farming associations: mainly north-west pastoralists, WA Farmers
       Federation and the Pastoralists and Graziers Association.
   • Government: Department of the Premier and Cabinet (Minister for Police), Department
       of Food and Agriculture, Department of Environment and Conservation, the States and
       Territories (particularly those associated with the FPWG).

A discussion and issues paper was developed and circulated to interested parties across Western
Australia for comment. The information received from the issues raised in the discussion paper
provided the project team with a research tool to gain information on the operations and the
administration of firearms that concerned the community.




                                                                                            11
                               Findings and Analysis
The research conducted, along with the input from stakeholders arising from the
consultation process, forms the basis from which the review recommendations have been
formulated. The following details the issues considered.


                           The Structure of the Legislation

ISSUE: The firearm legislation in Western Australia is defined by way of an Act and
Regulations: the Firearms Act and Firearms Regulations. Structurally, the Firearms Act
and Regulations do not follow a sequential order of categorising subjects into Divisions
and Parts. The majority of subjects are scattered throughout the Firearms Act and
Regulations, creating no sense of uniformity within the legislation and furthermore,
making it difficult for people reading the legislation to understand and follow.

There is no particular reason as to why the legislation is framed in such a manner. The
legislation was drafted in the early 1970’s and was modelled on the Tanzanian firearms
legislation. In addition, the many ancillary amendments made to the legislation over time
have contributed to the somewhat fragmented order of the legislation.

Western Australia is the only jurisdiction whose firearms legislation does not have a
contents page structured by way of Parts and Divisions. All other jurisdiction’s firearm
legislation follows a similar structure in separating the subject areas. From discussions
with people in the firearms industry, including police personnel, it has become evident
that the general perception towards the Firearms Act and Regulations is that it is
confusing to read.


RECOMMENDATION 1: Amend the structure of the Firearms Act so that it is
separated into three distinct parts: “Administration/Licensing” (matters dealing with
definitions, applications for licences under the Firearms Act, delegation, fit and proper,
etc); “Police Powers” (matters dealing with search warrants, stop search and detain,
seizure of firearms, etc); and “Offences” (penalties and sanctions under the Firearms
Act).



                                    Genuine Reason

ISSUE: Before a person can be issued with a licence under the Firearms Act, they have
to demonstrate to the Commissioner that they have a genuine reason for acquiring and
possessing a firearm; this is detailed in Section 11A of the Firearms Act. The provision
for a person to show they have a genuine reason was introduced into the Firearms Act as
a result of the special meeting of the APMC held in Canberra on 10 May 1996, following
the Port Arthur massacre.


                                                                                       12
In Section 11A (2) (c), one of the genuine reason criteria, to address the issue emerging
from the reasons a person is seeking a licence for recreational shooting is to produce
written permission from an owner of the property on which they wish to shoot. The
manner in which this sub-section is written (“it is for use in hunting or shooting of a
recreational nature on land the owner of which has given written permission for that
hunting or shooting”) could be taken to mean that: on every occasion a person applies to
have a firearm added to their existing licence, they are required to produce a written letter
from a property owner.

This has come to light as some police officers are interpreting Section 11A (2) (c) in this
way which is causing a considerable amount of consternation amongst shooters. It is
believed, though, that the original intent of the APMC resolution on this issue was that
the written permission was for a first-time application, only. This is borne out by the fact
that there are sanctions within the Firearms Act [Section 23 (10)] to deal with licensed
recreational shooters, who shoot on land “without the express or implied consent of the
owner or occupier of the land”.

However, there are circumstances for example where a first time applicant may supply a
letter from a property owner for use of an air rifle on a very small land holding (1
hectare) and subsequently decide to licence a centre fire rifle that has a far greater
capacity and would be unsuitable for use on such a small area of land. Notwithstanding
that once a person has a licence they are not restricted to shooting on that land, the
Commissioner still needs to be satisfied that the application is “reasonably justified” and
he currently relies on Section 11A (3) to do this in the abovementioned circumstances.


RECOMMENDATION 2: Written permission from a landowner should primarily be
required for first-time applications, unless the circumstances of a second or subsequent
application differs significantly from the original application that it dictates the applicant
produce further proof from a landowner to enable police to determine the suitability of a
property for a particular category of firearm.



                                  The Use of Handguns

ISSUE: Handguns fall under Category H of the Firearms Act. To obtain a handgun
licence the applicant must not only meet the genuine reason test, but also the genuine
need test. The genuine need must not be for recreation (unless for professional club
sporting purposes), hunting or to destroy stock and/or vermin. The genuine need can
however be for a genuine firearm collection, for government purposes, or in the course of
a person’s occupation. The latter need related to occupational use does raise some issues
as it can be in conflict with Schedule 3, [genuine need test for Category H, subsection
2(c)], of the Regulations, which states that a person does not have a genuine need if it is




                                                                                           13
for the purpose of destroying stock or vermin. Clearly certain occupations, such as
pastoralists could be required in the course of their work to destroy stock or vermin.

The principle reason for the handgun restrictions introduced in 1996 was to limit the
proliferation of concealable firearms in the community. There was recognition however,
that handguns should be available for sporting purposes and this was ratified in 2002 as
part of the national handgun reforms and associated buyback. Some inconsistency has
occurred where the WA Police have issued licenses to pastoralists for occupational
purposes and have subsequently commenced revoking those licenses on the basis that
they were issued contrary to the provisions of the Firearms Act and Regulations
prohibiting access to handguns for the purpose of destroying stock or vermin. It should
be noted that the original purpose for stating that a person may posses a handgun for their
occupation was solely intended for employees in the security industry. The position
taken by WA Police to revoke these licenses is supported by decisions of the State
Administrative Tribunal (SAT) which has dismissed a number of appeals against the
revocations by WA Police.

To gain a better understanding of these issues, Legal Services Unit, FIU and Ballistics
undertook further discussions with the WA Farmers Federation and the Pastoralist and
Graziers Association 7 April 2008. The purpose of this meeting was to give these
organisations an update on progress with the review and to provide them with an
opportunity for further input into the issue of access to handguns by farmers.

The following arguments were put forward to support the use of Category H firearms by
pastoralists:

       They are needed to deter and destroy rouge animals and stock encountered when
       mustering.
       As the legislation has provision to issue firearm licenses for occupational
       purposes, Category H firearms should be available to pastoralists.
       The use of Category H firearms is desirable due to their ease of carriage on a
       motorbike, horse or in a helicopter.
       Long-arms are cumbersome, dangerous to carry and have the potential to cause
       harm if a person was to fall from a motorbike or horse.
       Pastoralists have a duty of care to humanely destroy animals.

The matters raised at the meeting were considered and it was noted that whilst the
legislation made provision for firearms to be licensed for occupational purposes, those
purposes were intended to enable people working in the security industry only to access
Category H firearms. These arrangements are strictly controlled by police and Corporate
Licence holders who have conditions placed on their licenses to regulate compliance.

It is acknowledged that situations will arise where pastoralists and their employees are
confronted by dangerous animals however, there are a range of firearms other than
Category H firearms that are suitable for these purposes. These alternatives include a




                                                                                        14
variety of firearms falling within Categories A and B, blank firing firearms and Animal
Tazers.

When determining whether to issue a licence the Commissioner must be satisfied in
respect to a number of matters. With regard to Category H firearms, the applicant is
required to satisfy the Commissioner that a firearm of Category A, B, or C would be
inadequate or unsuitable for the purpose for which the firearm is required. Irrespective of
whether a person can satisfy this requirement, the legislation also states that a person
does not have a genuine need for a Category H firearm if it is required for hunting or,
destroying stock or vermin. This effectively negates the ability of a pastoralist to access
Category H firearms. Whilst a Category H firearm may not be available, this does not
affect the ability of pastoralists to destroy stock or vermin using firearms of Category A,
B or C with appropriate ammunition.

At a national level, the Commonwealth, State and Territory governments have considered
the issue of firearms in the community. Neither the 1996 NFA nor the 2002 national
handgun reforms made any provisions specific to pastoralists accessing handguns other
than making Category C firearms available to farmers for occupational purposes where
they have a genuine reason and can satisfy the genuine need test.

It is proposed that the legislation be amended to further clarify that Category H firearms
are not intended to be issued for purposes other than employment in the security industry
and legitimate sporting shooters.


RECOMMENDATION 3: That the Firearms Regulations, Schedule 3, Category H,
should be amended to remove the current ambiguity that has enabled some pastoralists to
licence handguns for occupational purposes.



                       Dealer’s Licences (“Back-yard” Dealers)

ISSUE: A Dealer’s Licence, amongst other things, is issued to a person “to deal in
firearms and ammunition on the premises named and identified in that licence”. The type
of premises from which a dealer could operate is not specified in the Firearms Act.
Firearm dealers’ licences have also been issued to persons who operate a “home-
business” or “home-occupation” dealership (colloquially referred to as “back-yard”
dealers), as long as they meet the local government requirements and have stringent
security arrangements in place. The practice of licensing back-yard dealerships has been
allowed to operate fairly successfully ever since the inception of the Firearms Act,
without any major mishaps or concerns.

In recent times, firearm dealers, who operate from commercial premises, have made
strong representation to WA Police and the Minister for Police, to prevent other dealers
from operating their back-yard businesses. They base their objection on three arguments:



                                                                                        15
one, they believe it is not equitable to themselves that the back-yard dealer should operate
their business in their home premises, thus avoiding the added expense of renting
commercial premises and the associated incidental expenses with running of the business;
two, they claim by running a firearms dealership from one’s house, the back-yard dealer
will not be able to provide the same quality of security as the commercial operators do on
their premises; and, three, they say, by giving back-yard dealers a licence, there would be
a proliferation of dealerships in towns that would erode into the business viability of the
commercial operators.

There is no legislative basis on which to refuse a licence purely on the grounds that it is
not satisfactory to have a person operate a dealership as a home-occupation business. In
any event, the issue of a home-occupation business is a local planning issue subject to the
Planning and Development Act 2005 which is administered by Local Government on
behalf of the Minister for Planning and Infrastructure.

Concern has been expressed regarding the adequacy of storage/security provided by
home-occupation dealerships. However, irrespective of where a firearm dealer is based
they are all subject to the same legislative requirements in respect to security and storage.
To some degree, there is potential for additional security to be provided by the business
owner living on the premises.

Another issue that has been raised is the question of whether Dealers’ Licences are being
maintained by individuals who do not utilise the licence (i.e. very few or no transactions)
and are using the licence as a way of collecting firearms or obtaining restricted firearms.
To address this it is proposed that the Regulations could prescribe the minimum number
of transactions that are required to justify the continued need for a licence of this type.


RECOMMENDATION 4: The status quo on legislation regarding firearm dealers’
operating their business from home should not be changed. However, it is recommended
that the Regulations prescribe the minimum number of genuine commercial transactions
required to maintain a Dealers Licence.



                                 Training Requirements

ISSUE: The Firearms Act states under Section 10A that the Regulations may prescribe
what accredited training is required before a person is issued with a firearm licence. The
Regulations however, are silent in prescribing any training requirements.

The 1996 NFA resolved that training should be a prerequisite for licensing and that all
jurisdictions require the completion of an accredited course in safety training for firearms
for all first time licence applicants. Subsequent amendments to the Firearms Act
included provisions that the Regulations may provide that the successful completion of a
training course is required before a licence can be issued.



                                                                                          16
At that time, Western Australia did not have a training regime in place and the
Commonwealth, as part of its action plan to implement the NFA undertook to chair a
Working Party, including representatives of firearms interest groups, to develop an
accredited course for safety training in firearms. Following the completion of action by
the Commonwealth, the WA Minister for Police endorsed the “Minimum National
Standards for Firearms Safety Training in Australia” on 6 January 2005.

Whilst Western Australia did not have a prescribed requirement for training, the WA
Police did require applicants to successfully complete a multiple choice questionnaire on
firearm safety and laws. In response to the NFA, WA Police along with other
jurisdictions had been developing a ‘safety training and usage package’ tailored to meet
particular States needs. In WA the development of the package was done in consultation
with the WA firearms fraternity and was adapted from the NSW firearms safety program
known as ‘Firearm Safety Awareness’.

It has been argued that training courses are an impediment to people wishing to obtain a
firearm licence. However, there is an obligation on Government (and in this instance
Police) to ensure that licence holders are able to handle firearms safely and are aware of
their obligations in respect to the legislation. This is similar to obtaining a Drivers’
Licence or Recreational Skippers’ Ticket and is a way of ensuring an applicant is as safe
and responsible as possible. Considering the remoteness of our State, the WA program is
handled by the local police stations to save a further impost of cost on the firearm
licensee.

In order to formalise current arrangements, it is proposed that the mandatory training
requirements be included in the Firearms Regulations. It should be noted that Category C
and Category H applicants who are joining clubs will be undertaking training provided by
the clubs and will not be required to undergo further training where they can provide
proof of having successfully undertaken and completed a course conducted by their club.


RECOMMENDATION 5: That the current training package used by WA Police is
prescribed in the Firearms Regulations.



                                 International Permits

ISSUE: Currently, Western Australia does not recognise international firearm licences
for any purpose. For international shooters coming into Australia for purely professional
sporting purposes (Olympics, Commonwealth Games, Queens Cup, etc) the
Commonwealth will recognise their licence through the issue of a permit. International
shooters wishing to visit Western Australia with their firearm/s will be allowed to enter
the State through the raising of a temporary permit. This has strict conditions on the




                                                                                       17
permit, allowing the international shooter to practice only on a designated range for
purposes relating to their competition, and is only valid for three months.

Both MCPEMP and the FPWG have discussed the development of a nationally consistent
framework for issuing international permits. In practical terms, international shooters
would obtain a permit in one jurisdiction that would then be valid and recognised by the
other States and Territories, instead of having to apply for additional permits for each
individual State or Territory they may subsequently visit. The international permit would
apply strictly for shooters who are competing in professional events, and is not for
recreational and hunting purposes.


RECOMMENDATION 6: That Western Australia adopts the principle of a nationally
recognised temporary permit to enable international visitors to participate in firearm
competitions subject to a determination on this matter by the FPWG.



                                 Interstate Recognition

ISSUE: Western Australia is currently the only State that does not recognise interstate
licences. If a firearm licence holder from interstate wishes to enter Western Australia
with their firearm/s for whatever purpose, they must apply for a temporary permit from
WA Police.

The NFA made provision for the recognition of interstate licences. The NFA proposed
that State and Territory firearms legislation would recognise the licences issued in other
Australian jurisdictions to facilitate the pursuit of sporting and other purposes. When this
matter was considered by the Western Australian Government, it was noted that the NFA
established minimum standards and Western Australia already had in place a higher level
requirement for visitors or sporting shooters to obtain a permit. This requirement was in
place because WA Police need to ascertain and record what firearms are entering and
leaving the State for safety reasons.

The primary reasons for a person bringing a firearm into Western Australia are: for
sporting / competition purposes; whilst visiting / transiting the State on holidays; or
permanently moving from another jurisdiction. In each case there are sufficient
provisions in legislation for a Temporary Permit (s. 17) or Interstate Group Permit (s.
17A) to be issued that will adequately meet the needs of interstate visitors with minimal
inconvenience. Accordingly, it is considered that existing legislation is adequate and
provides appropriate controls.


RECOMMENDATION 7: That Western Australia maintains its current requirement for
interstate visitors to obtain a Temporary Permit or Interstate Group Permit to possess or
use their firearms whilst in this State.



                                                                                         18
                                     Junior Permits

ISSUE: Section 10 of the Firearms Act stipulates that a licence or permit cannot be
issued to a person under 18 years. In what appears to be a contradiction to Section 10,
Section 8 (1) (m) allows for a person (no age stipulated and thus could be under 18 years)
to use a firearm (any firearm – includes handgun) that belongs to another licensee on an
approved range of an approved club or organisation; and Section 8 (1) (n) permits a
person under the age of 18 years to use firearm, but not a handgun, under supervision of
another licence holder.

The rationale applied to allow these exemptions under the two sections are as follows:
Section 8 (1) (m) is used to allow young children who aspire to become proficient in
competitive target shooting – such as the Olympics and Commonwealth Games – to be
given the opportunity to enter, and practice, their sport under supervision and in a
controlled environment; and Section 8 (1) (n) allows children to use their parents firearms
(not handguns) on farms or other hunting expeditions.

Because of this apparent contradiction it raises the issue: do we seek legislation to create
a permit or licence to cater for children to use firearms as young aspirants to become
proficient as national/international target shooters? To insist that persons under the age
of 18 years be issued with a permit/licence would be an imposition on a young aspirant
wishing to pursue their sport. There have been no reported incidents to indicate that
children operating under the auspices of the provisions of Section 8 (1) (m) or 8 (1) (n)
have given cause to tighten legislation.


RECOMMENDATION 8: At this time no amendment is suggested and current
provisions should remain in respect to the Section 8 exemptions that apply to persons
under the age of 18 years.



                                        Crossbows

ISSUE: Crossbows are a controlled weapon as prescribed under Schedule 2 of the
Weapons Regulations. By definition of the Regulations, a crossbow is: “an article made
or modified to be used to discharge a missile by an elastic force across a stock grooved to
direct the missile and includes the missile”. A controlled weapon under the Weapons Act
allows a person to possess a crossbow, however they must have a lawful excuse to carry
and/or possess it. Contravention of this results in an offence of $4,000 or one year
imprisonment.




                                                                                         19
At its meeting on 17 November 1998 the then APMC resolved to endorse the
development of uniform prohibited weapons laws. A National Prohibited Weapons
Agreement was subsequently developed that included an agreed uniform prohibited
weapons list. In this regard, Western Australia enacted legislation that prohibited the
weapons listed, with the exception of OC spray. Included in the uniform prohibited
weapons lists was the pistol crossbow, which as a prohibited weapon, cannot be carried,
possessed, purchased, sold, supplied, manufactured, brought or sent into this State by any
person.

The FPWG were subsequently asked by the APMC to consider making compound
hunting bows a prohibited weapon. Following evaluation by Victoria Police the APMC
resolved not to support a prohibition on the use of compound hunting bows. Compound
hunting bows are however picked up under the “bow” and “crossbow” definitions
included in the Weapons Regulations and are therefore a controlled weapon in WA.

Whilst there have been some incidents within Western Australia where crossbows have
been used in an unlawful manner against animals (resulting in the animal’s death) and
against infrastructure, it is considered that the current legislation, which lists them as a
controlled weapon, is adequate to meet the needs of this jurisdiction.


RECOMMENDATION 9: Crossbows should not be declared a ‘prohibited weapon’
and there should not be a licensing regime to possess crossbows. Crossbows should
remain a ‘controlled weapon’ under the Weapons Act.



                                     Air-soft Firearms

ISSUE: An air-soft is a firearm that is available in a variety of replica forms, which
shoot small plastic or steel pellets (commonly referred to as BBs) at a typical velocity
range of 200-450 feet per second.

Air-soft or BB guns are considered a firearm under the definition of the Firearms Act,
regardless of the velocity of the pellet that is fired. Therefore to posses or use an air-soft
gun one would require a licence. However, air-soft guns are not licensed in WA because
they cannot meet the ‘genuine reason’ or ‘genuine need’ test. Furthermore, the game of
air-soft cannot be played in WA as the legislation [Section 23 (8)] does not permit a
person to point a firearm at another, let alone fire a firearm.

Whilst there has been a small amount of interest in establishing air-soft games in a
manner similar to paintball, the demand is not considered sufficiently strong at this time
to warrant any changes to legislation. In addition, paintball is sufficiently well
established to provide an avenue for people with an interest to participate in this activity.




                                                                                           20
RECOMMENDATION 10: It is recommended that no changes be made to legislation
that would allow the game of air-soft to be played.



                                Innocuous Specifications

ISSUE: ‘Innocuous firearms’ is a term used whereby a fully active firearm has
undergone a process to make it irreversibly inoperable. Historically, this is an option that
has been available in Western Australia where a person doesn’t need a functioning
firearm and do not wish to have their firearm licensed. The definition of a firearm in the
Firearms Act is such that if a firearm is made no longer capable of discharging or
propelling any shot, bullet or other missile then it is no longer a firearm and therefore no
longer requires licensing.

There are no specifications in the Firearms Act or Regulations stating the acceptable
method of rendering a firearm innocuous, nor is there any reference of who is able to
render a firearm innocuous. WA Police are currently using policy to enforce procedural
guidelines. For example, the rendering innocuous must be performed by a licensed
repairer or manufacturer of firearms who will render the firearm innocuous in accordance
with current WA Police specification.

The MCPEMP has previously resolved that all jurisdictions adopt, as a minimum, the
AFP standard for deactivating firearms. The standard applied in Western Australia was
developed using the AFP standard and provides a level of deactivation that is greater than
the minimum standard agreed by MCPEMP.

It is proposed that a document or receipt should be obtained and retained by the owner
when a firearm is rendered innocuous. However, as this is not legislated the WA Police
cannot enforce it, nor is any offence created for firearm owners who do not have their
firearm rendered innocuous through a licensed repairer or manufacturer.

In order to address this, it is recommended that the specifications be included in
legislation: making it mandatory for a licensed repairer or manufacturer to render the
firearm innocuous; that the firearm be rendered innocuous in such a manner that the
firearm cannot be made operable again; and for the repairer or manufacturer to stamp or
engrave the firearm with the date and their licence number to indicate when and who
rendered the firearm innocuous. The benefits of having such specifications in legislation
is to ensure consistency is maintained in the process of rendering a firearm innocuous; it
eliminates people from rendering their firearms innocuous through a non-licensed
repairer and/or manufacturer; and furthermore, to inform police of who has rendered a
firearm innocuous.


RECOMMENDATION 11: That the specifications for rendering firearms innocuous be
included in legislation and that there is a requirement for certification of the work



                                                                                         21
undertaken to ensure consistency of application.



                           Process of Application Lodgement

ISSUE: Currently, Regulation 7 (1) of the Firearms Regulations compels a person to
make an application at their nearest (local) police station for a licence under the Firearms
Act. Concerns have been expressed by applicants that this can be cumbersome and
inconvenient at times. They state that they should be allowed to submit applications at
any police station; and furthermore, they suggest that persons should be allowed to
submit applications electronically through the internet, or through other agencies such as
post offices, local shires and the like.

Such flexibility is supported and if it is subsequently necessary for applications to be sent
to the applicant’s local police station for further attention, this could be done quite easily
using an electronic system. If, however, a more centralised system is adopted for the
approval of licenses (i.e. security vetting of persons bona fides) then there is a strong case
to be made to have all firearm applications sent and processed at the one centralised area,
without the necessity for it to be sent to the local police station.


RECOMMENDATION 12: The Firearms Regulations be amended to expand the
places where applications for firearms’ licences can be made and lodged.



                            Process of Application Approval

ISSUE: Currently the delegation to approve an application for a firearm licence, which
is prescribed in Regulation 25, is varied according to the category of the firearm. The
range of officers prescribed to grant approval of a licence cover constables,
Commissioned Officers, Superintendents in-charge of Police Districts (there are 17
Police Districts), the Commissioned Officer directly responsible for the administration of
the Firearms Branch and the Assistant Commissioner responsible for the Firearms
Branch.

Furthermore, if an application is refused or conditions applied to an approval for a
Category A firearm and firearms itemised in Schedule 2 of the Firearms Regulations, this
function is delegated to the Superintendent in-charge of a District. Clearly it can be seen
that a variety of officers are capable of approving applications, and by their very unique
natures view the criteria for granting these licences quite subjectively. As such, decisions
emanating from these officers are inconsistent and often subject to appeal at the SAT.


RECOMMENDATION 13: It is proposed that legislation be amended to change the


                                                                                           22
current decentralised system of assessing the granting of applications to a centralised
system.



                                     Renewal Periods

ISSUE: The legislation currently makes provision that an applicant must have a genuine
reason and, in some cases, a genuine need for owning a firearm. In practical terms, once
a person obtains a firearm licence they can continue to hold that licence even though their
reasons for obtaining a licence in the first instance may no longer apply. In order to
ensure that the holder of a firearm licence continues to have a genuine reason it is
proposed that every five years the licence holder should be asked to requalify.

In addition to ensuring continuation of the reason for owning a firearm this provision will
also result in firearms being surrendered by those persons who no longer have a reason to
continue holding a licence; and, more importantly, it will help to create an audit of the
firearms held by a person every five years, thus ensuring the integrity and accuracy of the
firearms register.

It is anticipated that re-qualification will take the form of a questionnaire or declaration.
Implementation will need to occur over a number of years to spread the workload and
ensure a smooth transition. Licences will continue to be valid for 12 months, however,
every five years the licensee should be requested to revalidate their genuine reason, and
where applicable their genuine need for using a firearm.


RECOMMENDATION 14: That firearm licence holders requalify every five years to
confirm their genuine reason and genuine need for using a firearm.



                        Licensing Carriers and Warehouseman

ISSUE: A “Commercial Carrier” is a person who in the normal course of their business
transports/carries firearms to and fro, on behalf of other people. A “Warehouseman” is a
person who stores firearms on behalf of other people. Section 8 (1) (g) exempts a
‘commercial carrier’ and ‘warehouseman’ from being required to have a licence under
the Firearms Act, so long as they have been “approved” by the Commissioner to do these
functions.

It is now considered necessary for persons who perform these functions to be licensed
under the Firearms Act. It is felt that by creating a licensing regime for these persons that
they could be better managed. For instance, the licensing regime could dictate the
manner in which the firearms should be carried and stored; the storage-security




                                                                                          23
arrangements for the firearms could be prescribed; and these businesses could be required
to submit returns, similar to the current dealers, repairers and manufacturers of firearms.


RECOMMENDATION 15: Amend the Firearms Act to create two new licenses for
“Commercial Carrier” and “Warehouseman”; and, amend the Firearms Regulations to
prescribe the manner in which these firearms are to be carried, stored and secured.



                                   Repairer’s Licences

ISSUE (1): Section 16 (1) (e) of the Firearms Act creates a Repairer’s Licence
(gunsmith). This section implies that any employee who is employed by a firm that runs
a firearm repairer’s business must be licensed, as they cannot work under the auspices of
the employer’s licence.

The manner in which a Repairer’s Licence is defined makes it impracticable for a
company or firm, who runs a business of repairing firearms, to employ an
apprentice/trainee without the apprentice first being licensed as a repairer; this creates an
anomaly. The anomaly lies in the fact that an apprentice cannot obviously pass a
proficiency test to be granted a Repairer’s Licence until they learn the trade; and they
cannot learn the trade because legislation will not allow them to work in the trade until
they obtain a licence.

Furthermore, if the apprentice/trainee, who was under the age of 18 years, did pass the
proficiency test, they still cannot get a licence because the Firearms Act disallows a
person under the age of 18 years to be granted a licence, which further places the
apprentice/trainee in a “catch-22” position.


RECOMMENDATION 16: Amend Section 16 of the Firearms Act to allow
apprentices/trainees to be exempted from having to obtain a licence and be allowed to do
their apprenticeship work under the business licence of the manufacturer or repairer.


ISSUE (2): Section 31 (2) of the Firearms Act places a demand on every licensed
repairer to submit returns on the firearms he has repaired; and, furthermore, Regulation
18 (1) of the Firearms Regulations prescribes the form on which this is to be done. This
gives the meaning that every licensed repairer (including apprentices/trainees) working in
the one company/business has to submit a separate return.

Quite clearly this process is time consuming for the business and is cumbersome. In
order to rectify this situation, it is suggested that only one return be submitted under the
business name for all repairers working at that business.




                                                                                          24
RECOMMENDATION 17: Amend Section 31 (2) of the Firearms Act to allow
licensed repairers working for one business/company to have their records submitted on
one form and under the business name.



                                   Theatrical Permits

ISSUE: The issue of having specific ‘Theatrical Permits’ was raised as part of the 1996
NFA. Theatrical permits/licence would allow the licensee/businesses to supply firearms
for the production of film, TV and stage productions. Western Australian has not made
provisions to legislate for such a licence. To overcome the lack of a ‘theatrical licence’,
WA has been issuing a corporate licence to the company/business operating in this field,
with strict conditions (note: this is not a big industry in WA and as such, WA has been
able to make-do by issuing a Corporate Licence for these type of businesses to operate).

It must be noted that WA legislation absolutely prohibits the possession and use of
military-type weapons by any person. Therefore, if a ‘theatrical licence’ is to be
implemented, this aspect of the legislation would have to be taken into account when
considering the specifics of a ‘theatrical licence’. The Firearms Act also contains an
offence provision whereby a person commits an offence if they point a firearm at another
person without lawful excuse; this would need to be addressed if functional firearms were
to be used for theatrical purposes.


RECOMMENDATION 18: As there is a need for WA to have a specific licence that
allows a company/business to operate in the area of film, TV and stage productions, the
Firearms Act should be amended to allow for a ‘theatrical licence’.



                                   Magazine Capacity

ISSUE: The 2002 APMC and COAG resolutions on national handgun reforms resolved
to make illegal the use of magazines with the capacity of more than 10 rounds, in pistols.
In 2005 this requirement was introduced into Schedule 3 of the Firearms Regulations.

As these magazines are now restricted to 10 rounds or less, there seems to be little
relevance in allowing the sale and/or possession of magazines that exceed this capacity.
Therefore it would be prudent to prohibit such magazines to the recreational shooter.
Part of any legislative change will need to consider an amnesty for the surrender of the
items that will become prohibited.


RECOMMENDATION 19:              Amend legislation to create an offence to sell and/or


                                                                                        25
posses detachable box-type magazines with a capacity to hold more than 10 rounds of
ammunition.



                                       Spud Guns

ISSUE: A Spud Gun is generally a device that is manufactured at home and, invariably,
by children. The manner in which a Spud Gun is constructed potentially places it under
the definition of a firearm in the Firearms Act; thus making it an offence to posses or use
it without a licence.

Despite this, previous cases show it is problematic to prove a charge of ‘possession of an
unlicensed firearm’ against a person, because of the ambiguity of the legislation.
Furthermore, legal advice indicates that a Spud Gun does not fall within the definition of
a weapon under the Weapons Act for action to be taken under that Act.

There have been many instances where police have encountered persons with Spud Guns
in non-threatening circumstances. Police have found themselves in a quandary as to
whether or not they should charge the person under the Firearms Act.


RECOMMENDATION 20: It is recommended that the status of spud guns be reviewed
as part of the review of the definition of a firearm. If it is determined to exclude spud
guns from the definition of a firearm, consideration could be given to amending the
Weapons Regulations to have spud guns identified as a ‘controlled weapon’ or
’prohibited weapon’ under the Weapons Regulations.




                                                                                        26
                              Further Issues Identified
In the course of this review, the project team has identified a number of further issues for
consideration. These issues are identified below and have resulted in a number of further
recommendations for consideration.


                              Review definition of Firearm

ISSUE: Section 4 of the Firearms Act sets out the definition of a firearm. The definition
is fairly broad. It seems to capture such things as industrial tools, nail guns, and
geological machinery that fire shotgun cartridges for the purpose of gathering samples.
Clearly these items, even though they might be lethal if used inappropriately, are not
firearms and were only intended to be used as industrial tools.

Similarly, items built on model naval boats to imitate anti-aircraft guns, machine guns,
etcetera that are used in hobbies and often played by enthusiasts in naval battles, attract
the same licensing questions. To the letter of the law, these items fall within the
definition of a firearm, but clearly they are a toy and non lethal. Accordingly, there needs
to be some distinction in the definition for a firearm that clears-up any ambiguity. It
might be necessary to identify certain items and have them excluded from the definition.


RECOMMENDATION 21: Further research the definition of a firearm from other
jurisdictions, both nationally and internationally, and clearly differentiate those items that
were not intended to be firearms, but are toys or industrial tools.



                           Review the definition of possession

ISSUE: As part of the 2002 APMC and COAG resolutions on national handgun reforms
(National Firearms Trafficking Policy Agreement) it was proposed that each
jurisdiction’s legislation should enable a charge of: “illegal possession of a firearm can be
made in circumstances where an illegal firearm is found in premises (or a place) with a
person or persons, but there is no actual physical possession of the gun by any person”.

Western Australia’s definition of possession in the Firearms Act seems to cover the issue
raised: “possession in addition to actual physical possession of a firearm or ammunition,
means the custody or control of it, or having and exercising access to it in any place
either alone or in common with others”. However, there is a perceived notion that
because of an inability to show the person or persons had knowledge that the firearm to
which they had access, was in that place, the person could not be charged with
possession. This was illustrated in a case in WA where a group of 3 or 4 people, who had
earlier been in a violent confrontation in a restaurant, were stopped in a motor vehicle by
police. Their car was searched and a handgun was located in the vicinity of the driver’s


                                                                                           27
seat. All persons, when questioned, denied any knowledge of the handgun, or of the
handgun being in the car. As the handgun was not licensed it could not be traced to any
of them and consequently, none of the persons were charged.


RECOMMENDATION 22: Have the definition of possession amended in the Firearms
Act to reflect more clearly the requirements of the National Firearms Trafficking Policy
Agreement.



               Wilfully mislead in performance of function to include Police Staff

ISSUE: Section 24(6) of the Firearms Act currently makes provision that an offence is
committed by a person who wilfully misleads or wilfully attempts to mislead any
member of the Police Force in discharging his duty under the Act. Following the recent
creation of the new Police Licensing Services and recommendations of the CAT 4 review
it is anticipated that a number of functions previously undertaken by police officers will
now be undertaken by police staff or outsourced. Accordingly, it is timely to review this
provision to open it up to circumstances where persons other than police officers may be
undertaking duties required under the Firearms Act.


RECOMMENDATION 23: Amend Section 24 of the Firearms Act to ensure that the
offence of wilfully misleading takes account of future situations where police staff or
other persons may be involved in administration of that statute.



                                                  Review delegations

ISSUE: Section 5A of the Firearms Act provides that the Regulations may permit a
member of the Police Force to perform certain functions on behalf of the Commissioner.
In addition, the Commissioner can delegate any power or duty under the Firearms Act to
a member of the Police Force.

The issue with this provision is that it is very specific in regard to the delegation being to
a member of the Police Force. This is very limiting and doesn’t allow for future
arrangements that the Commissioner may put in place in respect to the operation and
administration of the Firearms Act.

The recent restructuring of the Firearm Inquiry Unit to create Police Licensing Services
and the Licensing Crime Squad has highlighted the need to expand the ability of the
Commissioner to delegate certain functions to police staff.            In view of the

4
    The CAT review was completed in February 2008 and examined the WA Police management of firearm licensing.



                                                                                                                28
recommendations of the CAT review it is anticipated that some functions may be
outsourced and therefore require more flexibility on behalf of the Commissioner when
delegating his functions.


RECOMMENDATION 24: That the powers of the Commissioner to delegate his
functions under Section 5A of the Firearms Act be amended to allow delegation to occur
to persons other than police officers, including police staff.



                              Prescribed v approved forms

ISSUE: The Firearms Act provides in Section 34 that Regulations may be made in
respect to the forms to be used for the purposes of the Act. The forms that are prescribed
are contained in Schedule 1 of the Firearms Regulations. The review concluded that it
would be more practical and better for the administration of granting firearm licenses, to
have the forms approved by the Commissioner of Police.


RECOMMENDATION 25: That the forms in Schedule 1 of the Firearms Regulations
be approved by the Commissioner rather than have them prescribed.



                               Aboriginal Customary Law

ISSUE: In early 2006 the WA Law Reform Commission undertook a project to make
clear the rights of Indigenous persons to traditional hunting with firearms on Crown
Land. In this regard they took particular notice of section 267 and section 104 of the
Land Administration Act 1997 (WA) and section 23 of the Wildlife Conservation Act 1950
(WA) with a view of amending them for clarity in relation to the Indigenous Land Use
Agreement (ILUA).

In regard to the use of firearms, the Commission reported on a submission made by the
WA Police, which in part stated: “… the submission of the Western Australia Police
noted that any legislative change must complement the Firearms Act 1973 and that any
exemption for aboriginal people should be made explicit in the Firearms Act so that
police officers are aware of it in the event that they are called upon to resolve a complaint
for actions contravening the Act…”. The Commission agreed with this view-point.

In their recommendation 105, the Commission called for “clarification of permissible use
of firearms by aboriginal people in customary harvesting and that s 267 of the Land
Administration Act 1997 (WA) be amended to make clear the legislative intention in
relation to the use of firearms for customary hunting on Crown Land and pastoral
leasehold land pursuant to exemptions contained in s 104 of the Land Administration Act


                                                                                          29
1997 (WA) and s 23 of the Wildlife Conservation Act 1950 (WA)”; and “that the
responsible Minister institute a collaborative review of relevant legislation, including the
Firearms Act 1973 (WA), the Land Administration Act 1997 (WA) and the Wildlife
Conservation Act 1950 (WA) and the Conservation and Land Management Act 1984
(WA) to ensure that permissible use of firearms in customary harvesting activity is
clearly noted”.

In particular sub-sections 11A (1), 11A (2)(c), 23 (10) and 23 (10a) of the Firearms Act,
which deal with shooting on land, will restrict Indigenous persons from freely hunting on
any land and therefore will contradict the intention of the other Acts.


RECOMMENDATION 26: Amend sub-sections 11A (1), 11A (2)(c), 23 (10) and 23
(10a) of the Firearms Act to complement the other relevant Acts in relation to the use of
firearms for customary hunting by Indigenous persons on Crown Land.



                                  Range Specifications

ISSUE: Shooting ranges used by firearm clubs for competitive target shooting have to
be approved by the Commissioner [Section 8 (1)(m) of the Firearms Act]. To carry out
this function, WA Police have trained range inspectors, who inspect shooting ranges for
their safety against certain specifications.

These range specifications are derived from the Army and other law enforcement
agencies that use shooting ranges for their practice in the use of firearms. At the current
time, WA Police uses the range specifications compiled by Victoria Police, who are
considered the foremost national authority in the determination of range constructions for
their safety of use.

The issue that confronts WA Police in the use of these particular specifications is:
whether WA Police have a legal case to argue that their specifications are superior, if
challenged in an appellant tribunal hearing, to those being put forward by the appellant.
In other words, whose opinion will the SAT take notice of: the WA Police or the other
expert witness produced by the appellant?

In order to nullify any argument that might arise, it is suggested that specifications of
shooting ranges for the various disciplines be included and detailed in the Firearms
Regulations.


RECOMMENDATION 27: Amend the Firearms Regulations to include shooting range
specifications.




                                                                                         30
                              Include 100-Point ID Check

ISSUE: The 1996 APMC resolutions demanded that each jurisdiction introduce a 100-
point identification check for firearm licence applicants; similar to the 100-point checks
carried out by banks, etc. WA Police have not yet introduced a 100-point ID check in
legislation for applicants, even though as a matter of policy applicants do go through a
rigorous ‘fit and proper’ check, which includes identification verification as rigorous as
the 100-point ID check, before they are granted a licence to possess or use a firearm.


RECOMMENDATION 28: Amend the Firearms Act to include a requirement that the
100-point check is done as part of the process to establish an applicant’s bona fides.



           Section 8 Exemption for Court Employees to Handle Firearms

ISSUE: Section 8 of the Firearms Act exempts certain people from having to hold a
licence to possess firearms in the course of their duty. This section, however, does not
exempt court employees, who might in the course of their employment need to receive
and hold on to firearms that might be produced in a court-trial as an exhibit. Depending
on the circumstances, court-trials could proceed for an inordinate length of time, placing
the court employee in an invidious position.


RECOMMENDATION 29: Amend Section 8 (1) of the Firearms Act to include certain
employees of the court.



                            Collectors – Accredited Society

ISSUE: In November 2002, the APMC agreed to implement 28 resolutions on the
reform of handguns. Resolution 4 agreed that:

       a) States/Territories will accredit historical societies;
       b) historical societies be required to notify police of a member’s expulsion and
          the reasons for expulsion; and
       c) accredited historical societies be indemnified from civil or legal liability
          where they notify police in good faith of their belief that a person is unfit to
          hold a collector’s licence.

WA legislation made provisions for this at Section 15A (1) of the Firearms Act, in which
it is stated “the Commissioner may, in writing, designate a person or body, whether




                                                                                       31
incorporated or unincorporated, as an accredited society of collectors for the purposes of
this Act”.

In WA however there is no such organisation that holds itself out to be a “historical
society” and, as such, Section 15A (1) has never been utilised. However, there is an
organisation known as the “Arms and Armourers Association” which is a group of like-
minded people who get together to share a common interest in their hobby of collecting,
in the main, antique firearms. Members of this organisation have been approached to
determine if they wished to be ‘accredited’ under the provisions of section 15A (1), but
they politely turned it down. The organisation did not wish to take on the responsibility
that the legislation places on an ‘accredited society’, as there are no benefits to be gained
from being accredited.


RECOMMENDATION 30: Allow Section 15A of the Firearms Act to remain as it is,
in the event there may one day be an organisation that might require the accreditation of a
‘historical society’.



                   Prohibition on advertising for sale by individuals

ISSUE: The 1996 NFA resolved that all advertisements of firearms for sale will be
prohibited unless the sale is conducted through a licensed gun dealer. This resolution
was not adopted by Western Australia as it was felt the existing system allowed for better
controls.

Western Australia has very strict legislative provisions that prohibit a person being in
possession of a firearm unless they are licensed to do so. This prohibits a person taking
possession of a firearm unless they have a permit from police and also creates an offence
where a person allows an unlicensed person to be in possession of their firearm (unless a
Section 8 exemption applies).

More specifically, Section 30A of the Firearms Act requires that where a person
advertises a firearm for sale they must ensure that the advertisement includes details of
the type, make, serial number, and calibre of the firearm. The need to include a serial
number in the advertisement makes this process extremely accountable. The process is
further strengthened through the person being prohibited from allowing another person to
possess their firearm unless they have a licence or permit. To get a licence or permit they
must apply to police and follow the normal application process to satisfy that they are a
fit and proper person and have a genuine reason and/or genuine need for the firearm. In
the case of interstate transactions, the Firearms Act requires that the owner sends the
firearms to the address of premises where the business of a lawful firearm dealer is
conducted.




                                                                                          32
In WA all firearm transactions are conducted through police irrespective of whether the
firearm is acquired from a licensed dealer or a private individual. The Western
Australian legislation provides a higher standard by requiring transactions to be
conducted through police. It also takes account of the limited access to dealers in many
remote locations throughout the state compared to the availability of police stations.


RECOMMENDATION 31: That no changes be made to the Firearms Act as the
current provisions requiring the purchase and sale of firearms to be conducted through
police are more than adequate and provide a higher standard than the requirements of the
NFA.



                                     Definition of sell

ISSUE: The 2002 National Firearms Trafficking Policy Agreement proposed that all
jurisdictions include in their definition of ‘sell’ reference to the seller ensuring that the
purchaser is authorised to take possession of the firearm. It was intended that this
provision would place an obligation on the seller and an offence would be committed if
they did not comply.

The WA legislation already caters for this situation by creating an offence for any person
who sells, delivers, disposes of, purchases or otherwise comes into possession of any
firearm or ammunition for which he does not have a licence or permit (Section
19(1)(a)(b)). In addition, any person whether licensed or not, sells, delivers or disposes
of a firearm to another person and that person is not the holder of a licence or permit for
that firearm commits an offence (Section 19(2)(a)(b)(c)).


RECOMMENDATION 32: That no changes be made to the Firearms Act as the
current provisions adequately address the situation where a person may sell (or otherwise
dispose of) a firearm to a person who does not have a licence or permit to possess it.



                                  Definition of purchase

ISSUE: The 2002 National Firearms Trafficking Policy Agreement proposed that all
jurisdictions include in their definition of ‘purchase’ reference to a number of
circumstances where a firearm may be acquired. It was intended that this provision
would address the situation where a firearm is in the possession of a person, but had not
necessarily been purchased.




                                                                                          33
While the term ‘purchase’ is not defined in the Firearms Act, the Act does create offences
for persons ‘purchasing’ firearms that they are not licensed to possess in Sections
19(1)(b) and 19(2)(b).


RECOMMENDATION 33: That no changes be made to the Firearms Act as the
current provisions adequately address the situation where a person may purchase (or
otherwise acquire) a firearm they do not have a licence or permit to possess.



                      Infringement Notice for Co-licence Holders

ISSUE (1): Section 19A of the Firearms Act makes provisions that where a person who
is the holder of a Firearm Licence (recreational shooter – hunting or club purposes),
Firearm Collector’s Licence or Ammunition Collector’s Licence, fails to renew their
licence after 3 months of its expiry date they will be issued with an infringement notice.

For an infringement to stand the test of a trial, police have to prove that the licensee was
in possession of firearms during the period his licence was expired, thereby contravening
Section 19 (1). In cases where it cannot be proved that a person was in possession of the
relevant firearm, the infringement becomes nul and void and has to be withdrawn; this is
most prevalent in instances where a person is co-licensed to use a firearm with the
licensed owner of the firearm.

In cases where a co-licensee’s licence has expired, it is difficult to prove that they were in
possession of firearms by virtue of the fact that they are not the owner of the firearm.
Therefore these people invariably avoid having to pay the infringement. To overcome
this anomaly and to make it equitable to the licensee and co-licensee, the penalty of the
infringement notice should be based upon the fact of the licence expiring and nothing
else. In other words, if a person allows their licence to expire and does not renew it
within the 3 months grace-period, the infringement should be raised on the fact that the
person has neglected to renew his licence and not whether they were or were not in
possession of the firearms.

           Introduction of Infringement Notice for Other Licence Holders

ISSUE (2): There are other licences in the Firearms Act, such as a Dealer’s Licence,
Repairer’s Licence, Manufacturer’s Licence and Corporate Licence, that do not attract an
infringement for the expiry of a licence. This, obviously, is another anomaly that needs
to be rectified.


RECOMMENDATION 34:
(1) Amend Section 19A of the Firearms Act to create an offence for an infringement to
    be issued for the non-renewal of a licence.



                                                                                           34
(2) Extend provisions for the infringement to apply to the non-renewal of a Dealer’s
    Licence, Repairer’s Licence, Manufacturer’s Licence and Corporate Licence.


              Conspiracy offence specific to firearms – illegal disposal

ISSUE: In 2002 the National Firearms Trafficking Policy Agreement resolved that all
jurisdictions make it an offence to conspire to commit an interstate firearm offence. In
particular, all jurisdictions agreed to establish an offence of:

         a) conspiring to commit an offence in any place outside the home jurisdiction,
            being an offence punishable under the provisions of a law in force in the
            foreign jurisdiction that corresponds to a provision of the home
            jurisdiction’s law; or
         b) aiding, abetting, counseling, procuring, soliciting or inciting the commission
            of an offence in any place outside the home jurisdiction, being an offence
            punishable under the provisions of a law in force in the foreign jurisdiction
            that corresponds to a provision of the home jurisdiction’s law.

The APMC agreed that the maximum penalty would be the same punishment, pecuniary
penalty and forfeiture that the person would be subject to if the offence concerned had
been committed within the home jurisdiction.

There is currently no provision in the Firearms Act that specifically accounts for this
resolution. However, where a person is either directly or indirectly knowingly concerned
in the commission of an offence, they are deemed to have committed that offence and are
punishable accordingly (Section 23C). The extent to which this provision would apply
where the person concerned is in another jurisdiction requires clarification.


RECOMMENDATION 35: That the existing Section 23C of the Firearms Act be
reviewed to determine the extent to which this provision would apply where an offence is
committed in another jurisdiction.



                                Outsourcing functions

ISSUE: The WA Police has recently restructured the FIU (formerly the Firearms
Branch) by creating Police Licensing Services and the Licensing Crime Squad. In
addition, the CAT conducted a review of WA Police Firearms Management and made
thirty five (35) recommendations to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of firearm
licensing in Western Australia.




                                                                                       35
As a result, there have been a number of issues identified that may result in certain
functions currently being undertaken by police that in the future may be undertaken by
police staff or outsourced.

With this in mind, it would be appropriate to review existing legislation to identify areas
where functions undertaken by members of the Police Force can also be undertaken by
Police Staff or outsourced.


RECOMMENDATION 36: That where the outsourcing of certain functions has been
identified the legislative amendments be made to accommodate any proposed or new
arrangements including the ability to levy fees for some functions.



                         Regulation of Firearm Manufacturing

ISSUE: Following endorsement of the National Firearms Trafficking Policy Agreement
by APMC in 2002, the FPWG has been looking at the issue of a nationally consistent
approach to the regulation of firearm manufacture in Australia.

The need to address this issue arose from the National Firearms Trafficking Policy
Agreement; the UN Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing and Trafficking of
Firearms; and the UN Marking and Tracing Instrument.

The FPWG has identified the following key issues for consideration:
      Defining manufacture
      Licensing of firearms manufacturers
           o Types of firearm and major firearm parts to be manufactured
           o Marking of firearms
           o Marking of major firearm parts
           o Employee requirements
           o Record-keeping requirements
           o Sale of firearms
           o Secure storage requirements
      Conditions applicable to firearms manufacturer’s licenses
      Standard of manufacture
      Illicit manufacture

From the Western Australian perspective, provision currently exists in legislation for a
Manufacturer’s Licence and a Repairer’s Licence. There are also provisions in respect to
safety testing, regulation of firearm parts and offences for the possession of an unlicensed
firearm. In Western Australia, whether a firearm is legally or illegally manufactured,
unless it is licensed it is an illegal firearm and the relevant penalties apply.




                                                                                         36
WA Police are represented on the FPWG and have been a party to the discussions on this
matter.


RECOMMENDATION 37: That WA Police support the adoption of a national
agreement in respect to the manufacture of firearms and will continue to participate in the
progression of this matter.



                   Mailing of firearms and parts via Australia Post

ISSUE: The 1996 NFA resolved that jurisdictions put in place arrangements that would
allow for the mail order sale of firearms on a dealer to dealer basis. In allowing for the
commercial transport of firearms, jurisdictions were required to put prohibitions in place
that would prohibit the commercial transport of ammunition with firearms. To take
account of persons living in remote locations, jurisdictions were able to consider other
arrangements; this applied particularly in the case of Western Australia.

In Western Australia, there is no requirement that transactions be conducted through a
licensed dealer. This is due to the higher requirement that transactions be conducted
through police and the limited access to dealers in remote locations. In Section 8 of the
Firearms Act, a person who is an approved commercial carrier is exempt from licensing
requirements. Where an approval is granted, the Commissioner can impose restrictions,
limitations or conditions (Section 21) and these provisions provide the legislative means
whereby the Commissioner can regulate the mailing of firearms, firearm parts and
ammunition. In respect to circumstances where a firearm is posted to a place outside the
State, Section 30A(3) of the Firearms Act requires that ammunition is not sent in the
package containing the firearm.

The MCPEMP Senior Officers Group recently considered the matter of mailing firearms
and firearm parts via Australia Post. Following discussion, it was noted that firearm
dealers in NSW and the ACT were not able to send or receive firearms by mail. The
matter has now been referred to MCPEMP for consideration and action as appropriate.


RECOMMENDATION 38: That no further action is necessary by Western Australia at
this time as it has been identified that the matter of mailing firearms and firearm parts via
Australia Post is for NSW and the ACT to address.




                                                                                          37
                                                                        Annexure A

Qu1. Should the Firearms Act 1973 and the Weapons Act 1999 be merged to create a
single Act?
Yes – 47.6%
No – 38.6%
Undecided – 13.7%

Qu2. Should serious (indictable) offences relating to firearms be transferred to the
Criminal Code (WA), with all other offences relating to licensing remaining in the
Firearms Act 1973?
Yes – 37.2%
No – 35.1%
Undecided – 27.6%

Qu3. Should persons who apply for a licence or permit under the Firearms Act 1973 be
allowed to make the application at any Police Station?
Yes – 88%
No – 10.7%
Undecided – 1.1%

Qu3A. Should there be other avenues for lodging an application such as via the
Internet?
Yes – 79.1%
No – 17.4%
Undecided – 3.4%

Qu4. In light of the above, should specialised, designated officers attached to the
Firearms Inquiry Unit approve all licences relating to firearms?
Yes – 48%
No – 30.8%
Undecided – 21.1%

Qu5. Should the renewal period of firearm licenses be increased in time? If yes, should
the renewal time be increased to every 5 years?
Yes – 86.9%
No – 11%
Undecided – 2.1%

Qu6. Should minors/junior permits be issued for people under the age of 18, shooting
for sporting purposes?
Yes – 50.3%
No – 43.9%
Undecided – 5.8%

Qu7. Should carriers and warehousemen be licensed under a new form of licences,


                                                                                    38
such as a “carrier licence”?
Yes – 44.2%
No – 35.2%
Undecided – 20.6%

Qu8. Should an exemption be created for firearm’s repairer trainees/apprentices who
are under the age of 18?
Yes – 87.3%
No – 6.9%
Undecided – 5.7%

Qu8A. Should employees who work for a firearm’s repairer operate under the one
repairer licence instead of having separate licences as is currently required?
Yes – 83.8%
No – 10.1%
Undecided – 6.1%

Qu9. Should firearm licences be required for theatrical and film purposes?
Yes – 47.9%
No – 38.1%
Undecided – 14%

Qu10. For regulation purposes, should shooting clubs be licensed similar to a
corporate licence system?
Yes – 17.9%
No – 73.6%
Undecided – 8.5%

Qu11. Should all pre-1900 Firearms that do not use fixed ammunitions be exempt
from licensing and/or registration?
Yes – 63.2%
No – 27%
Undecided – 9.8%

Qu12. Should Western Australia recognise interstate licenses for Category A and B
firearms in the circumstance when an interstate visitor is shooting within the State for
a specific time, reason and with an associated and approved club?
Yes – 93%
No – 6%
Undecided – 1%

Qu13. Should the Firearms Regulations 1974 prescribe the criteria and content needed
in a written letter provided by a land owner which allows the applicant of a firearms
licence to shoot on the property?
Yes – 21.8%
No – 71.7%



                                                                                     39
Undecided – 6.5%

Qu14. Should an owner of a firearm/s be required to justify, through the genuine
reasons test, every 5 years as to why they still require the firearm/s?
Yes – 9.6%
No – 88.3%
Undecided – 2.1%

Qu15. Should a firearm’s licence holder be required to produce a written letter from
the land owner at where they shoot to the Firearms Inquiry Unit every 5 years, or if
circumstances to where they shoot changes, police must be informed?
Yes – 12%
No – 84%
Undecided – 4%

Qu16. Should Firearm Licence holders be required to have it professionally checked
and operationally cleared every 5 years?
Yes – 6.9%
No – 89.9%
Undecided – 3.2%

Qu17. Should the approval of silencers by the Minister be changed to approval by the
Commissioner of Police, or an approved officer?
Yes – 77.2%
No – 13.3%
Undecided – 9.6%

Qu18. Should WA adopt a nationally consistent standard towards international
permits?
Yes – 93.4%
No – 3.2%
Undecided – 3.4%

Qu19. Should ‘air-soft’ firearms be legalised and subject to a licence similar to that of
paintball firearms, with the creation of a genuine reason being that of air-soft sport?
Yes – 51%
No – 31.2%
Undecided – 17.7%

Qu20. Should crossbows be categorised as a prohibited weapon under the Weapons
Regulations 1999?
Yes – 31.9%
No – 58%
Undecided – 10%




                                                                                      40
Qu20A. Should there be a licensing regime created in respect to the possession of a
crossbow/s under the Weapons Act 1999?
Yes – 49.1%
No – 41%
Undecided – 9.9%

Qu21. Should limits be imposed on the amount of ammunition that can be purchased
by a firearm licence holder?
Yes – 9.1%
No – 86.7%
Undecided – 4.2%

Qu22. Should there be an express restriction of Category C firearms to one rifle or one
shotgun?
Yes – 3.5%
No – 90.1%
Undecided – 5.6%

Qu23. Should Category H of Schedule 3 be amended to allow only persons in a
security related occupation to possess handguns?
Yes – 9.5%
No – 83.5%
Undecided – 7%

Qu24. Should there be a limit on the number of firearms a holder of a “firearms
licence” can have (excluding holders of a corporate, collectors, dealers, repairers,
manufacturers and shooting gallery licences)?
Yes – 7.8%
No – 90%
Undecided – 2.2%

Qu25. Should magazines be limited to a 10 load capacity, with any number after this
being illegal for sale and or possession?
Yes – 26.2%
No – 65.5%
Undecided – 8.3%

Qu26. Should the storage requirements be affected by the number of firearms held?
Yes – 17.5%
No – 76.9%
Undecided – 5.6%

Qu27. Should infringements for non-renewal of licenses apply to all licence holders?
Yes – 72.6%
No – 19.2%
Undecided – 8.2%



                                                                                    41
Qu28. Should it be mandatory for all shooting associations to have qualified range
officers and trainers on site during all operational hours, particularly those
associations that are involved in practical shooting disciplines?
Yes – 20.5%
No – 72.2%
Undecided – 7.3%

Qu29. Should the regulations prescribe in detail what training is required?
Yes – 46.7%
No – 44.5%
Undecided – 8.8%

Qu30. Should Western Australia adopt a nationally consistent definition of replica
firearms and imitation firearms, which would mean adopting national standards of
banning all imitation firearms?
Yes – 26.8%
No – 60.6%
Undecided – 12.6%

Qu31. Should specifications for rendering firearms innocuous be included in the
Firearms Regulations?
Yes – 62.5%
No – 26.7%
Undecided – 10.7%

Qu32. Additional Comments
Yes – 52.5%
No – 47.5%




                                                                               42
                                                                              Annexure B

                  Australasian Police Commissioner's Resolutions
                  Australasian Police Ministers' Council (APMC)
                                  10th May 1996
Australasian Police Ministers' Council Special Firearms Meeting Resolutions

1. Bans on Specific Types of Firearms
RESOLUTION

Council resolved:

    o      that all jurisdictions ban the sale, resale, transfer, ownership, possession,
           manufacture and use of those firearms banned or proposed to be banned from
           import other than in the exceptional circumstances listed in paragraph 1.2 of the
           Commonwealth proposal (see below).

para 1.2

The only need for the use of an automatic or semi-automatic longarm would be:

   i.      military,
  ii.      police or other government purposes, and
 iii.      occupational categories of shooters who have been licensed for a specified
           purpose (e.g. extermination of feral animals).

    o      that all jurisdictions ban competitive shooting involving those firearms banned or
           proposed to be banned from import.

Council agreed to implement its resolution via the following action plan:

1. All jurisdictions to ban the sale, resale, transfer, ownership, possession, manufacture
   and use of those firearms banned or to be banned from import other than in the
   following exceptional circumstances:

          i.   military use,
         ii.   police or other government purposes, and
        iii.   occupational categories of shooters who have been licensed for a specified
               purpose (e.g. extermination of feral animals).

2. All jurisdictions to ban competitive shooting involving those firearms banned or
   proposed to be banned from import.




                                                                                          43
3. The Commonwealth to ban the importation of all semi-automatic self-loading and
   pump action longarms, and all parts, including magazines, for such firearms, included
   in Licence Category D, and control the importation of those firearms included in
   Licence Category C.

2. Effective Nationwide Registration of All Firearms
RESOLUTION

Council resolved:

   o that New South Wales, Queensland and Tasmania immediately establish an
     integrated licence and firearms registration system and that all other jurisdictions
     review their existing registration systems to ensure that all systems are
     compatible.
   o that these databases be linked through the National Exchange of Police
     Information (NEPI) to ensure effective nationwide registration of all firearms.

Council noted that there is an urgent need for funds to upgrade NEPI and for additional
recurrent funding

Council resolved to implement its resolution via the following action plan:

1. New South Wales, Queensland and Tasmania to immediately establish a
   registration system for all firearms in consultation with NEPI.

2. Victoria, ACT, South Australia, Western Australia and Northern Territory to
   work with NEPI in reviewing existing systems to ensure compatibility.

3. All jurisdictions to link their registration systems to NEPI.

4. New South Wales, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia to immediately
   place the names of all firearms licence holders in their States on NEPI's Police
   Reference System.

3. Genuine Reason for Owning, Possessing or Using a Firearm
RESOLUTION

Council resolved:

   o that personal protection not be regarded as a genuine reason for owning,
     possessing or using a firearm.
   o that the following classifications be used to define the "genuine reason" an
     applicant must show for owning, possessing or using a firearm:



                                                                                      44
  i.   sporting shooters with valid membership of an approved club (defined as
       participants in shooting sports recognised in the charters of such major sporting
       events as the Commonwealth Games, Olympic Games or World Championships),
 ii.   recreational shooters/hunters who produce proof of permission from a landowner,
iii.   persons with an occupational requirement, eg primary producers, other rural
       purposes, security employees and professional shooters for nominated purposes,
 iv.   Bona fide collectors of lawful firearms, and
  v.   persons having other limited purposes authorised by legislation or Ministerial
       approval in writing (for example, firearms used in film production).

   o   that over and above satisfaction of the "genuine reason" test, an applicant for a
       licence for the categories B, C, D and H must demonstrate a genuine need for the
       particular type of firearm.

For Licence Category C:

  i.   application will be limited to primary producers,
 ii.   the applicant must satisfy the licensing authority that there is a genuine need for
       the use of the firearm that pertains to the applicant's occupation, which cannot be
       achieved by some other means, and that the need cannot be satisfied by a firearm
       under Category A or B,
iii.   a Category C licence holder will be limited to the maximum of one rifle and one
       shotgun of the types covered by Category C,
 iv.   the application is to be approved by the Commissioner of the Police, who may
       impose conditions as to the use of the firearm, including as to the geographical
       location of its use, and
 v.    licensing authorities will develop uniform guidelines to be approved by Council.

   o   that firearms collectors should be regulated by means of a licence and permit
       system designed to test their bona fides. The licensing process should include a
       provision for an initial inspection of storage facilities and for subsequent mutually
       arranged inspections. All such inspections will be subject to the recognition of the
       individual's right to privacy. The onus of defining "bona fide firearms collector"
       rests with each State and Territory. However, the following principles should
       underpin the regulation of bona fide firearms collectors:

  i.   the firearms which are the subject of the collection should be of or above a
       defined age,
 ii.   firearms in a collection which have been manufactured after 1 January 1946 must
       be rendered inoperable,
iii.   collectors may not possess ammunition for a collection firearm,
iv.    no prohibited firearm may be included in a collection,
 v.    any attempt to restore firearms in the collection to usable condition should be
       regarded as a serious offence and subject to severe penalties, and
 vi.   all operating firearms which are owned by the collector should be subject to the
       same level of regulation as any other operating firearm.



                                                                                         45
Council agreed to implement its resolution via the following action plan:

All jurisdictions confirm that personal protection is not a genuine reason for owning,
possessing or using a firearm.

All jurisdictions to immediately implement a uniform system of testing applicants for
firearms licences such that each applicant must establish, to the satisfaction of the
licensing authority in the relevant jurisdiction, that he or she has a "genuine reason" for
owning, possessing or using a firearm. The classifications used to define "genuine
reason" are as follows:

   o   sporting shooters with valid membership of an approved club (defined as
       participants in shooting sports recognised in the charters of such major sporting
       events as the Commonwealth Games, Olympic Games or World Championships),
   o   recreational shooters/hunters who produce proof of permission from a landowner,
   o   persons with an occupational requirement, eg primary producers, their licensed
       employees, other rural purposes, security employees and professional shooters for
       nominated purposes,
   o   bona fide collectors of lawful firearms, and
   o   persons having other limited purposes authorised by legislation or Ministerial
       approval in writing (for example, firearms used in film production).

All jurisdictions to immediately implement a uniform system of testing applicants for
firearms licences of categories B, C, D and H such that each applicant must establish, to
the satisfaction of the licensing authority in the relevant jurisdiction, that he or she has a
"genuine need" for owning, possessing or using a firearm of the nominated type. For
Licence Category C:

   o application will be limited to primary producer,
   o the applicant must satisfy the licensing authority that there is a genuine need for
     the use of the firearm that pertains to the applicant's occupation, which cannot be
     achieved by some other means, and that the need cannot be satisfied by a firearm
     under Category A or B,
   o a Category C licence holder will be limited to the maximum of one rifle and one
     shotgun of the types covered by Category C,
   o the application is to be approved by the Commissioner of the Police, who may
     impose conditions as to the use of the firearm, including as to the geographical
     location of its use, and
   o licensing authorities will develop uniform guidelines to be approved by Council.

All jurisdictions to immediately implement a uniform system for regulating firearms
collectors by means of the licence and permit system as follows:

   o   the firearms which are the subject of the collection should be of or above a
       defined age,



                                                                                           46
    o   firearms in a collection which have been manufactured after 1 January 1946 must
        be rendered inoperable,
    o   collectors may not possess ammunition for a collection firearm,
    o   no prohibited firearm may be included in a collection,
    o   any attempt to restore firearms in the collection to usable condition should be
        regarded as a serious offence and subject to severe penalties, and
    o   all operating firearms which are owned by the collector (i.e. those not forming
        part of the collection) should be subject to the same level of regulation as any
        other operating firearm.

4. Basic Licence Requirements
RESOLUTION

Council resolved:

(a) that in addition to the demonstration of "genuine reason", a licence applicant should
be required to:

    o be aged 18 years or over,
    o be a fit and proper person,
    o be able to prove identity through a system similar to that required to open a bank
      account, that is, a 100 point system requiring a passport or multiple types of
      identification, and
    o undertake adequate safety training.

(b) that the licence:

    o bear a photograph of the licensee,
    o be endorsed with the category of the firearm,
    o be endorsed with the holder's address,
    o be issued after a waiting period of not less than 28 days,
    o be issued for a period of no more than 5 years,
    o contain a reminder of safe storage responsibilities,
    o be issued subject to undertakings to comply with storage requirements, to provide
      details of proposed storage provisions at the time of licensing, and submit to a
      mutually arranged (with due recognition of privacy) inspection by licensing
      authorities of storage facilities,
    o be subject to immediate withdrawal of licence and confiscation of firearms in
      certain circumstances. (Jurisdictions may wish to consider appropriate penalties -
      additional to withdrawal or confiscation - for the failure to comply with security
      and storage conditions.)

(c) that, within a regime of uniform firearms legislation, all States and Territories
recognise, for visiting gun owners, licences issued in other Australian jurisdictions in
order to facilitate the lawful pursuit of sporting and other purposes.


                                                                                      47
(d) that jurisdictions recognise, for a period of no longer than 3 months, a category A or
B firearm licence issued in another jurisdiction to an individual who moves permanently
to a new jurisdiction for such an individual with a licence categories C, D and H, a period
of recognition will not exceed 7 days.

(e) that the following categories be used in the licensing of firearms:

Licence Category A:

   o   air rifles,
   o   rimfire rifles (excluding self-loading),
   o   single and double barrel shotguns.

Licence Category B:

   o   muzzle-loading firearms,
   o   single shot, double barrel and repeating centre fire rifles,
   o   break action shotguns/rifle combinations,

Licence Category C (prohibited except for occupational purposes)

   o   semi automatic rimfire rifles with a magazine capacity no greater than 10 rounds,
   o   semi automatic shotguns with a magazine capacity no greater than 5 rounds,
   o   pump action shotguns with a magazine capacity no greater than 5 rounds.

Licence Category D (Prohibited, except for official purposes)

   o self-loading centre fire rifles designed or adapted for military purposes or a
     firearm which substantially duplicates those rifles in design, function or
     appearance.
   o non-military style self-loading centre fire rifles with either an integral or
     detachable magazine,
   o self-loading shotguns with either an integral or detachable magazine and pump
     action shotguns with a capacity of more than 5 rounds,
   o self-loading rim-fire rifles with a magazine capacity greater than 10 rounds.

Licence Category H: (Restricted)

   o   all handguns, including air pistols

Council agreed to implement its resolution via the following action plan:

1. All jurisdictions to establish the following licensing requirements:




                                                                                        48
(a) that in addition to the demonstration of "genuine reason", a licence applicant should
be required to:

    o be aged 18 years or over,
    o be a fit and proper person,
    o be able to prove identity through a system similar to that required to open a bank
      account, that is, a 100 point system requiring a passport or multiple types of
      identification, and
    o undertake adequate safety training, and

(b) that the licence:

    o bear a photograph of the licensee,
    o be endorsed with the category of the firearm,
    o be endorsed with the holder's address,
    o be issued after a waiting period of not less than 28 days,
    o be issued for a period of no more than 5 years,
    o contain a reminder of safe storage responsibilities,
    o be issued subject to undertakings to comply with storage requirements, to provide
      details of proposed storage provisions at the time of licensing, and submit to a
      mutually arranged (with due recognition of privacy) inspection by licensing
      authorities of storage facilities,
    o be subject to immediate withdrawal of licence and confiscation of firearms in
      certain circumstances. (Jurisdictions may wish to consider appropriate penalties -
      additional to withdrawal or confiscation - for the failure to comply with security
      and storage conditions.)

2. All jurisdictions to consider appropriate penalties - additional to withdrawal of licence
or confiscation of firearms - for failing to comply with security and storage conditions.

3. All jurisdictions to recognise visiting licensees for sporting purposes and (other than
licence categories C, D and H and for a limited period) for individuals moving
permanently to a new jurisdiction, as outlined in the following:

(a) that, within a regime of uniform firearms legislation, all States and Territories
recognise, for visiting gun owners, licences issued in other Australian jurisdictions in
order to facilitate the lawful pursuit of sporting and other purposes.

(b) that jurisdictions recognise, for a period of no longer than 3 months, a category A or
B firearm licence issued in another jurisdiction to an individual who moves permanently
to a new jurisdiction for such an individual with a licence categories C, D and H, a period
of recognition will not exceed 7 days.

4. All jurisdictions to adopt the categories proposed by Council for the licensing of
   firearms as follows:




                                                                                         49
Licence Category A:

   o   air rifles,
   o   rimfire rifles (excluding self-loading),
   o   single and double barrel shotguns.

Licence Category B:

   o   muzzle-loading firearms,
   o   single shot, double barrel and repeating centre fire rifles,
   o   break action shotguns/rifle combinations.

Licence Category C (prohibited except for occupational purposes):

   o   semi automatic rimfire rifles with a magazine capacity no greater than 10 rounds,
   o   semi automatic shotguns with a magazine capacity no greater than 5 rounds,
   o   pump action shotguns with a magazine capacity no greater than 5 rounds.

Licence Category D (Prohibited, except for official purposes):

   o self-loading centre fire rifles designed or adapted for military purposes or a
     firearm which substantially duplicates those rifles in design, function or
     appearance,
   o non-military style self-loading centre fire rifles with either an integral or
     detachable magazine,
   o self-loading shotguns with either an integral or detachable magazine and pump
     action shotguns with a capacity of more than 5 rounds,
   o self-loading rim-fire rifles with a magazine capacity greater than 10 rounds.

Licence Category H (Restricted):

   o   all handguns, including air pistols.

5. Training as a Prerequisite for Licensing

RESOLUTION

Council resolved:

(a) that all jurisdictions require the completion of an accredited course in safety training
for firearms for all first time licence applicants. The course should be:

   o   comprehensive and standardised across Australia for all licence categories,
   o   subject to accreditation of the course syllabus, by an appropriate authority, and a
       system of accredited instructors to bring prospective licensees to the required
       standard with a focus on firearms law, firearms safety and firearms competency,


                                                                                         50
   o outlined in a Firearms Safety Code which emphasises both safety and storage
     issues and is distributed to all new licence applicants prior to attending the course
     of instruction,
   o monitored as to content of courses and the skills of instructors by firearms
     regulatory authorities,

(b) that a specialised course should be established for training of persons employed in the
security industry.

Council agreed to implement its resolution via the following action plan:

   1. The Commonwealth to chair a Working Party, to include representatives of
      firearms interest groups, to develop an accredited course for safety training in
      firearms.
   2. All jurisdictions to introduce a requirement for the completion of an accredited
      course in safety training for firearms for all new licence applicants.
   3. All jurisdictions to establish a specialised course for training of persons
      employed in the security that jurisdictions will establish an appeal from a refusal
      of a licence application and the cancellation of a licence.

6. Grounds for Licence Refusal or Cancellation and Seizure of Firearms
RESOLUTION

Council resolved:

(a) that jurisdictions set out in legislation circumstances in which licence applications are
to be refused or licences are to be cancelled. The following minimum standards are
proposed:

   o general reasons - not of good character; conviction for an offence involving
     violence within the past five years, contravene firearm law; unsafe storage; no
     longer genuine reason; not in public interest due to (defined) circumstances; not
     notifying of change of address; licence obtained by deception,
   o specific reasons - where applicant/licence holder has been the subject of an
     Apprehended Violence Order, Domestic Violence Order, restraining order or
     conviction for assault with a weapon/aggravated assault within the past five years,
   o mental or physical fitness - reliable evidence of a mental or physical condition
     which would render the applicant unsuitable for owning, possessing or using a
     firearm.

(b) that in regard to the latter point, a balance needs to be struck between the rights of the
individual to privacy and fair treatment, and the responsibility of authorities, on behalf of
the community, to prevent danger to the individual and the wider community.




                                                                                           51
(c) that a Commonwealth/State working party, including health officials, police and
medical representation, be established to examine possible criteria and systems for
determining mental and physical fitness to own, possess or use a firearm. The working
party should report to the second APMC meeting for 1996, but jurisdictions should not
delay the introduction of necessary legislative changes while awaiting its report.

(d) that jurisdictions will establish an appeal from a refusal of a licence application and
the cancellation of a licence.

Council agreed to implement its resolution via the following action plan:

1. All jurisdictions to immediately implement a uniform minimum standard of
circumstances, to be set out in legislation, in which applications are to be refused or
licences cancelled.

2. All jurisdictions to undertake a review of their legislation to ensure that it is consistent
with the uniform, minimum standards as follows:

   o general reasons - not of good character; conviction for an offence involving
     violence within the past five years; contravene firearm law; unsafe storage; no
     longer genuine reason; not in public interest due to (defined) circumstances; not
     notifying of change of address; licence obtained by deception,
   o specific reasons - where applicant/licence holder has been the subject of an
     Apprehended Violence Order, Domestic Violence Order, restraining order or
     conviction for assault with a weapon/aggravated assault within the past five years,
   o mental or physical fitness - reliable evidence of a mental or physical condition
     which would render the applicant unsuitable for owning, possessing or using a
     firearm.

3. All jurisdictions to establish a working party, including health officials, police and
medical representation, to examine possible criteria and systems for determining mental
and physical fitness to own, possess or use a firearm. The working party should report to
APMC's November 1996 meeting.

4. That jurisdictions will establish an appeal from a refusal of a licence application and
the cancellation of a licence.

7. Permit to Acquire

RESOLUTION

Council resolved:

(a) that a separate permit be required for the acquisition of every firearm.




                                                                                            52
(b) that the issue of a permit should be subject to a waiting period of at least 28 days to
enable appropriate checks to be made on licensees in order to ascertain whether
circumstances have occurred since the issuing of the original licence which would render
the licensee unsuitable to possess the firearm or which would render the licensee
ineligible for that type of firearm.

Council agreed to implement its resolution via the following action plan:

   1. New South Wales, Queensland, Tasmania, the ACT and the Northern
      Territory to require a separate permit to be required for the purchase of every
      firearm.
   2. All jurisdictions to require a separate permit for any other method of acquisition
      of every firearm.
   3. All jurisdictions to establish a 28-day waiting period prior to the issuing of all
      firearms permits.

8. Uniform Standard for the Security and Storage of Firearms

RESOLUTION

Council resolved that all firearms and ammunition be stored in secure conditions as
follows:

   o it should be a precondition to the issuing of a new firearms licence (and on each
     renewal of licence in respect of existing licence holders) that the licensing
     authority be satisfied as to the proposed storage and security arrangements,
   o legislation should have the effect of making failure to store firearms in the manner
     required an offence as well as a matter that will lead to the cancellation of the
     licence and the confiscation of all firearms,
   o measures should be indicated in legislation for the storage of firearms which are
     specific and clear so that firearm owners and possessors know their obligations
     and the following minimum basic standards should apply:

        i.   Licence Category A and B: storage in a locked receptacle constructed of either
             hard wood or steel with a thickness to ensure it is not easily penetrable. If the
             weight is less than 150 kilograms the receptacle shall be fixed to the frame of
             the floor or wall so as to prevent easy removal. The locks fitted to these
             receptacles shall be of sturdy construction,
       ii.   Licence Category C, D and H: storage in a locked, steel safe with a thickness
             to ensure it is not easily penetrable, bolted to the structure of a building; and
    iii.     all ammunition must be stored in locked containers separate from any
             firearms.

   o     should a firearms owner or possessor wish to store firearms through measures
         other than those indicated in legislation, he or she would have the burden of




                                                                                           53
       persuading the firearms regulatory authority that he or she can provide the level of
       security not less than that required by the relevant approved practices,
   o   in order to govern safekeeping when firearms are temporarily away from their
       usual place of storage, legislation could provide a statement indicating reasonable
       precautions to take to ensure the safekeeping taking into consideration situations
       most likely to be encountered. A basic standard that should be included in the
       statement is that the holder of the licence "must take reasonable care to ensure
       that the firearm is not lost or stolen and must take reasonable care to ensure that
       the firearm does not fall into the hands of an unauthorised person",
   o   the firearms safety booklet to be distributed to all new licence applicants prior to
       attending for a course of instruction should also feature clear and precise
       information on the obligations as regards storage of firearms,
   o   a reminder of safe storage responsibilities should be on the licence itself,
   o   security at gun dealer premises will require the dealer meeting such additional
       requirements as the firearms regulatory authority deems appropriate having regard
       to the type of activity of the dealer,
   o   where approval has been given for the possession or use of a firearm for a limited
       purpose such as film production (see 3.3), the person authorised must meet such
       requirements as the firearms regulatory authority deems appropriate having regard
       to the type of activity for which possession has been authorised.

Council agreed to implement its resolution via the following action plan:

All jurisdictions to develop a standard approach to the storage of firearms and
ammunition.

9. Recording of Sales

RESOLUTION

Council resolved:

(a) that firearms sales be conducted only by or through licensed firearms dealers.

(b) that the following principles should underpin firearms dealer recording of firearms
transactions:

   o firearms dealers should continue to be obliged under penalty to ensure that
     purchasers are appropriately licensed for the firearm to be purchased,
   o firearms dealers should be required to record and maintain details (type, make,
     calibre and serial number) of each weapon purchased or sold against the identity
     (name, address and licence number) of the seller or the purchaser,
   o firearms dealers should be required to provide records to the National Register of
     Firearms through the State/Territory licensing authority,




                                                                                        54
   o police personnel investigating a crime or checking the compliance of licensed gun
     dealers with recording responsibilities should have the right to inspect the records
     of licensed gun dealers without the need to give notice to the licensee, and
   o special provisions may have to be put in place in those jurisdictions which have
     remote locations where licensed gun dealers may not be readily available (it may
     be possible, for instance, to authorise local police officers to certify
     sales/purchases in such circumstances).

(c) that jurisdictions legislate to allow the sale of ammunition only for those firearms for
which the purchaser is licensed and that there be limits on the quantity of ammunition
that may be purchased in a given period.

(d) on the purchase of ammunition, the relevant licence must be produced.

Council agreed to implement its resolution via the following action plan:

All jurisdictions to legislate to ensure that firearms sales be conducted only by or
through licensed firearms dealers.
All jurisdictions to adopt the following principles to underpin firearms dealer recording
of firearms transactions:

   o   firearms dealers should continue to be obliged under penalty to ensure that
       purchasers are appropriately licensed for the firearm to be purchased,
   o   firearms dealers should be required to record and maintain details (type, make,
       calibre and serial number) of each weapon purchased or sold against the identity
       (name, address and licence number) of the seller or the purchaser,
   o   firearms dealers should be required to provide records to the National Register of
       Firearms through the State/Territory licensing authority,
   o   police personnel investigating a crime or checking the compliance of licensed gun
       dealers with recording responsibilities should have the right to inspect the records
       of licensed gun dealers without the need to give notice to the licensee, and
   o   special provisions may have to be put in place in those jurisdictions which have
       remote locations where licensed gun dealers may not be readily available (it may
       be possible, for instance, to authorise local police officers to certify
       sales/purchases in such circumstances).

All jurisdictions to legislate to allow the sale of ammunition only for those firearms for
which the purchaser is licensed and to place limits on the quantity of ammunition that
may be purchased in a given period.

On the purchase of ammunition, the relevant licence must be produced.

10. Mail Order Sales Control
RESOLUTION




                                                                                         55
Council resolved:

(a) to adopt the following principles in relation to mail order firearms sales:

- mail order arrangements will apply strictly on a licensed gun dealer to licensed gun
dealer basis;
- advertisement of firearms for sale will be prohibited unless the sale is to be conducted
by or through a licensed gun dealer;
- the movement of firearms covered by Licence Categories C, D and H must be in
accordance with prescribed safety requirements;
- the commercial transport of ammunition with firearms will be prohibited; and

(b) that each jurisdiction pass the necessary legislation to enforce these principles within
their borders.

Council agreed to implement its resolution via the following action plan:

All jurisdictions to develop and introduce legislation to ensure that, within their own
borders, -

   o mail order arrangements will apply strictly on a licensed gun dealer to licensed
     gun dealer basis,
   o advertisement of firearms for sale will be prohibited unless the sale is to be
     conducted by or through a licensed gun dealer,
   o the movement of firearms covered by Licence Categories C, D and H will be in
     accordance with prescribed safety requirements, and
   o the commercial transport of ammunition with firearms will be prohibited.

All jurisdictions to consider whether they wish to put in place measures to provide for
individuals living in remote locations where gun dealers are not readily available.

11. Compensation/Incentive Issues

RESOLUTION

Council resolved:

(a) that a common basis for fair and proper compensation, based on the value of each
firearm as at March 1996, be agreed between jurisdictions to prevent gun owners from
offering their firearms to the State/Territory which offers the 'best price'.

(b) that there be a public education campaign to highlight the firearms amnesty and
compensation program.

(c) to note that the Commonwealth will make a financial contribution to the public
education campaign.


                                                                                         56
(d) that a 12 month national amnesty be established, during which the public education
campaign would persuade firearm owners to comply, and warn of severe penalties where
firearms are not voluntarily surrendered.

(e) that, after the amnesty has concluded, each jurisdiction have severe penalties, which
to the extent practicable should be uniform, for breaches of the firearms control laws.




                                                                                      57
                                                                         Annexure C

                      Australasian Police Ministers’ Council
                 Firearms (Handguns) Resolutions November 2002

There was broad agreement to progress further measures to restrict the availability and
use of handguns. Specifically, APMC agreed to:

Prohibition/Buyback
1. Restrict the classes of legal handguns that can be imported or possessed for sporting
   purposes to those meeting recognised sporting shooter classifications in the Olympic
   and Commonwealth Games and other accredited events.

   Specifically States and Territories agreed to consult on Options 2, 3 and 4a. NSW,
   Queensland and SA also reserve the right to consult on Option 1 based on the new
   access regime.

Approved Sporting Shooters Handguns
Subject to decision on the preferred option APMC agreed that on the issue of access by
sporting shooters to handguns:

   a. the Commonwealth prohibit the importation of handguns for sporting shooting
      purposes in accordance with the preferred option; and

   b. jurisdictions prohibit the sale, ownership, possession, manufacture and use of
      handguns for sporting shooting purposes other than those permitted by the
      preferred option.

Description of handguns and handgun parts which will be prohibited
imports
APMC recommends the following approach to implementing the above recommendation:

   a. The Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations1956 be amended to prohibit the
      importation of all handguns for sporting shooting purposes other than those which
      meet the prescribed physical characteristics, including barrel length, calibre and
      shot capacity.

   b. It is not appropriate to describe the handguns to be banned by a list which uses
      make and model numbers as this can be readily subverted by manufacturers. A
      list of prohibited handguns based on physical characteristics will be prepared for
      administrative and communication purposes.

   c. The Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations be amended to prohibit the
      importation of handgun parts for sporting shooting purposes (for example slides,




                                                                                     58
       barrels, receivers and frames) which could be used to assemble a prohibited
       handgun or convert a permitted handgun to a prohibited handgun.

Recovery and Disposal
2. Pursuant to Clause 1 notes the need to develop a recovery and disposal process for
   handguns, and will explore options which include consideration of a handgun
   buyback scheme. APMC agreed to note:

   a. that at this stage none of the buyback options have been able to be costed;

   b. the Commonwealth offer to apply $15M from the 1996 buyback and that there be
      a 50/50 sharing of costs between the Commonwealth and the States and
      Territories in each jurisdiction; and

   c. the States’ and Territories’ position that the Commonwealth should fund in toto
      any buyback.

   APMC has agreed to note the information paper and forward it for consideration by
   COAG.

Historical Collectors
3. APMC agreed that collectors may acquire all handguns but all newly prohibited
   handguns under resolution 1 will need to be temporarily deactivated:

   a. the Commonwealth absolutely prohibit the importation of handguns in accordance
      with this resolution; and

   b. jurisdictions absolutely prohibit the sale, ownership, possession, manufacture and
      use of handguns for historical collection purposes other than those permitted
      under this resolution.

4. APMC agrees that:

   a. States/Territories will accredit historical societies;

   b. historical societies be required to notify police of a member’s expulsion and the
      reasons for expulsion; and

   c. accredited historical societies be indemnified from civil or legal liability where
   they notify police in good faith of their belief that a person is unfit to hold a
   collector’s licence.

5. APMC agrees that a genuine historical collector:
   a. be a member of a State/Territory accredited historical firearm collectors’ society;




                                                                                       59
   b. have his/her licence application endorsed by an accredited historical firearms
      collectors’ society;

   c. comply with strict storage requirements; and

   d. to collect or retain post 1946 handguns, must display a commitment as a student
      of arms .

6. APMC agrees that all handguns other than pre-percussion handguns be registered.

Registration of Firearms
7. Accelerate uniform national standards for registering and tracking firearms through
   CrimTrac’s development of the National Firearms Licensing and Registration
   System.

Licensing Requirements
8. Develop a system for graduated access to handguns for legitimate sporting shooters
   based on training, experience and event participation.

   Specifically introduce a system of graduated access over a period of 12 months be
   introduced by jurisdictions under the following conditions:

   a. a person is required to obtain a police check and submit this with their application
      to join a shooting club (NSW agreed that police checks are required but reserved
      the right to determine the process);

   b. during the first six months a person will not be permitted to own a handgun, must
      satisfactorily complete a firearm safety training course and meet minimum
      participation rates; and

   c. If a club certifies that a person has satisfactorily complied with the conditions
      attached to the first six months probation, then during the second six months a
      person will only be permitted to own one .22” calibre pistol and .177” air pistol or
      one centrefire pistol and .177” calibre air pistol.

After the initial period of 12 months acquisition of additional handguns is subject to
demonstration of genuine need and confirmation that the licensee has adequate storage
arrangements in place and specification of the competition shooting discipline for which
the handgun is required (in accordance with resolution 8 of the APMC meeting on 5
November 2002).

9. Confirm that a sporting shooter must be a member of a club in order to obtain a
   licence and provide clubs with the power to request a police check on a person prior
   to accepting them as a member of a club.




                                                                                       60
10. To prevent “club shopping” introduce requirements that a person wishing to join a
    club provide details to the club of any other shooting clubs to which they belong and
    firearms they own. In addition, clubs to be empowered to request information from
    the licensing authorities on a member’s or applicant’s ownership of handguns and
    membership of other clubs.

11. Develop a requirement that a person applying to join a shooting club must provide the
    club with two character references from people they have known for at least 2 years.

12. Require that clubs endorse a member’s application to acquire a handgun. In
    endorsing the application clubs should confirm that the licensee has adequate storage
    arrangements in place and specify for which competition shooting discipline the
    handgun is required.

Revocation of Licence
13. National adoption of laws allowing the Commissioner of Police to refuse and revoke
    handgun licenses and applications on the basis of criminal intelligence or any other
    relevant information with consideration to appropriate safeguards including expert
    advice.

14. Require that members of approved shooting clubs be required to attend a minimum
    number of shooting events offered by the club. Failure to meet the minimum
    participation level will make a person liable to have their licence revoked.

   Specifically jurisdictions require sporting shooters to meet minimum participation
   rates annually:

   a. a sports shooter must participate in a minimum number of six club organised
      competitive shooting matches; and

   b. for each different type of handgun owned for different events the sporting shooter
      must undertake at least four club organised shoots.

15. Require clubs to notify licensing authorities of concerns about club members
    suitability to hold a licence. Indemnify clubs for providing such information to
    licensing authorities about the suitability of club members to hold a license.

   In particular jurisdictions will:

   a. require sporting shooting clubs to report to police their concerns that a person
      may pose a danger if in possession of a handgun (firearm);

   b. require sporting shooting clubs to notify police of a member’s expulsion and the
      reasons for expulsion;




                                                                                      61
   c. indemnify sporting shooting clubs from civil or legal liability if they notify police
      in good faith of matters identified in (a) and (b) above; and

   d. require sporting shooting clubs to ensure that a person whose licence has been
       revoked or suspended does not use a handgun (firearms) at the sporting club.

16. Support the operation of the fit and proper person test throughout the life of the
    licence allowing for the licensing authorities’ revocation of a person’s licence and
    seizure of handguns on grounds of not being a fit and proper person at any time.

17. Require suspension/cancellation of licences and seizure of firearms immediately upon
    the issue of a DVO or AVO to a firearm licence holder.

18. Jurisdictions should cancel a licence where it can be shown that the loss or theft of a
    firearm was due to negligence or fraud on the part of the licensee.

Medical authorities reporting model
19. Reporting provisions for medical authorities be improved by:

   a. indemnifying medical authorities from civil or criminal liability for reporting in
      good faith to police their concerns that a person may pose a danger if in
      possession of a firearm or applying for a firearm licence; and

   b. providing that “medical authorities” include medical practitioners, nurses, social
      workers, psychologists and professional counselors.

Firearms Safety Training
20. Develop a national firearms safety training program in consultation with key
    stakeholders as a matter of priority.

Reporting Requirements
21. Require that shooting clubs provide licensing authorities with an audited annual
    report providing member details, firearms owned, and participation rates.

Secure Storage Requirements
22. Jurisdictions will review the adequacy of their compliance audit arrangements for
    safe storage of firearms.

23. Jurisdictions will consider the adequacy of their educational literature on storage to
    ensure that it emphasises the risk of firearms theft, the legislated requirements for safe
    storage, and highlights compliance monitoring activities and the jurisdictions rigorous
    prosecution policy for non-compliance.

24. APMC noted the report on the progress of the review of firearms storage and security
    requirements and procedures and resolved that:




                                                                                           62
   a. jurisdictions should complete the firearms storage and security questionnaire and
      provide the additional data for the AIC research as a matter of priority;

   b. the FPWG should submit its report on firearms storage and security, with
      recommendations, to Council at its first meeting in 2003.

Security Industry
25. APMC resolved that the FPWG consult with security industry regulatory authorities
    and industry representatives:

   a. to develop recommendations on industry firearms allocation and storage practices
      for consideration by Council at its first meeting in 2003; and

   b. report to Council at its first meeting in 2003 on the progress of development of
      national standards for industry training, competency and licensing particularly in
      those security industry sectors where firearms are regularly carried.

Penalties for Illegal Possession
26. Having regard to the National Firearms Trafficking Policy Agreement of July 2002,
    jurisdictions agree, as a matter of priority, to establish substantial penalties for the
    illegal possession of a firearm.

Education
27. The need for general education and an awareness campaign to implement agreed
    changes, and specifically to develop suitable education and awareness programs for
    medical authorities and licensed sporting shooting clubs.

Reporting
28. APMC requests a final report from SOG with recommendations for further action to
    be presented to APMC at its first meeting in 2003.

The determination of Victoria’s position on all of the above is constrained by the
caretaker regime.




                                                                                         63
                                                                          Annexure D

             Council of Australian Government (COAG)
                            Communiqué
                          6 December 2002
The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) held its 12th meeting on 6 December
2002 in Canberra. The COAG comprises the Prime Minister, Premiers and Chief
Ministers and the President of the Australian Local Government Association.

Handguns
COAG agreed on a national approach to restrict the availability and use of handguns,
particularly concealable weapons. The agreement will result in a major reduction in the
number of handguns in the community and will significantly strengthen controls over
access to handguns.

COAG endorsed the 28 resolutions made by the Australasian Police Ministers Council
(APMC) and agreed that legislative and administrative measures to implement the
resolutions should be in place by 30 June 2003. The resolutions include:

   •   a system of graduated access to handguns for legitimate sporting shooters, based
       on training, experience and event participation;
   •   giving shooting clubs greater access to information by requiring a prospective
       member to produce a police clearance prior to acceptance as a member,
       information on other shooting clubs a person belongs to, and their current
       ownership of firearms;
   •   more stringent requirements to prevent club shopping by potential members of
       gun clubs, including better access for clubs to information from licensing
       authorities; and
   •   allowing the Commissioner of Police in each jurisdiction, subject to appropriate
       safeguards, to refuse and revoke firearms licences and applications on the basis of
       criminal intelligence and other relevant information.

COAG agreed to restrict the classes of legal handguns that can be imported or possessed
for sporting purposes to those meeting recognised sporting shooter classifications in the
Olympic and Commonwealth Games and other accredited events.

COAG noted the proposals of the APMC but agreed that handguns will be limited to a
maximum of .38" calibre (except for specially accredited sporting events where handguns
up to .45" calibre will be permitted - details will be considered by Commonwealth, State
and Territory authorities as a matter of urgency, with final arrangements to be agreed by
COAG).




                                                                                       64
COAG noted the importance of removing easily concealable handguns from the
community. As a result, COAG agreed that semi-automatic handguns with a barrel
length of less than 120mm and revolvers and single shot handguns with a barrel length of
less than 100mm will be prohibited. Highly specialised target pistols, some of which will
have a barrel length of less than 120mm will be allowed. These types of pistols are large,
visually distinctive and not readily concealable due to their overall size.

COAG also agreed that reducing the number of handguns held legally in the community
should be accompanied by a compensation scheme for licensees who are compelled to
hand in handguns, operating from 1 July 2003 until 1 January 2004. The cost of funding
the compensation scheme will be funded firstly from $15 million remaining from the
1996 firearms buy-back funds and then shared on a two-thirds: one-third basis between
the Commonwealth and the States and Territories, for the handguns prohibited and
returned in each jurisdiction.

COAG agreed that an amnesty will be in force from 1 July 2003 until 1 January 2004,
during which time owners of illegally held handguns can surrender those weapons to
authorities without incurring a criminal penalty for possession of that weapon.
Commonwealth, State and Territory authorities are to ensure that the buy-back
arrangements are not able to be exploited.

COAG agreed that the States and Territories would introduce necessary legislation as a
priority and there will be ongoing consultation between Police Ministers on arrangements
for the buy-back and amnesty. COAG will agree the final arrangements for the national
approach. Progress on both legislation and arrangements will be reported at the next
meeting of COAG.




                                                                                       65

				
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