Police in desk chairs are taking firearms off farmers who’ve had them for 30 years
A few years ago, a new procedure was proposed in Queensland’s Weapons Licensing Branch to talk primary producers out of keeping their pistol licenses. It is well documented that:
- Weapons Licensing staff in the Brisbane CBD with no experience of your stock, pests or property start by trying to talk you out of your license renewal because they say you don’t need it,
- They raise spurious claims that pistols can’t be used to destroy animals, even though the Police tested their own Glocks for pest destruction and encourage their use by Police in destroying animals on the roadside.
Queensland farmers and pest controllers are working on large, isolated properties which are thickly wooded and difficult to access and traverse. Pistols make sense when you can’t be carrying longarms. Pistols are preferable in a variety of scenarios as a joint State and Commonwealth Committee on pest control has found. Nevertheless, Weapons Licensing has stuck with their War on Farmers.
Qld Shadow Police Minister: Why does Labor deny farmers an essential tool that they have legally held for over 30 years?
The Queensland Labor Government has consistently backed the War on Farmers. Only the LNP’s Shadow Police Minister, Tim Mander, has repeatedly attacked this terrible policy in parliament.
With Labor’s full support behind the National Firearms Agreement 2017, which would limit ammo purchases, remove minors licenses and end pistols for primary producers, Queensland firearms owners can’t afford the Labor government getting re-elected.
We extract Tim Mander’s latest effort’s in Hansard. What is really telling is how utterly indifferent to farmers Mark Ryan has chosen to be. Ryan’s answer boils down to: “if farmers don’t like it they can spend thousands of dollars and a year of their life stuck in a tribunal appeal process.”
Mr MANDER: I refer to page 11 of the SDS regarding weapon licensing. Minister, Gary Smythe
is a 65-year-old farmer from Westbrook and Doug Browne is a 71-year-old farmer from Dalby. They
have both had category H gun licences for over 30 years. They have both had them successfully
renewed every five years. Both these gentlemen are upstanding, law-abiding citizens and pillars of their
community, and they have had their renewal applications rejected with a standardised two-sentence
reason. I seek leave to table that document.
Mr MANDER: Minister, why does this government continue to deny primary producers of an
essential tool of trade that they have legally held for over 30 years?
Mr RYAN: I thank the member for the question. In the first instance, can I say that if any member
of the public is aggrieved by a particular decision made by any government agency, including the
Weapons Licensing Branch, there is a process for them to go through should they seek to appeal that.
Mr MANDER: Many of them are, if not most.
Mr RYAN: I encourage people, if they are aggrieved, to follow those appeal rights. The member
will know full well that there has been no change to the Weapons Regulation in respect of category H.
There have been some QCAT decisions which provide some clarity around definitions in the Weapons
Regulation and some clarity around particular definitions in respect of category H. I have been working
very closely with the weapons community through my Weapons Advisory Forum. This is a topic that we
discuss and it is a topic that the Weapons Licensing Branch is working with key stakeholders about to
ensure that people know the requirements under the Weapons Regulation in respect of holding that
particular category of licence.
In Queensland, we fundamentally follow the National Firearms Agreement. However, in certain
instances, we vary from the National Firearms Agreement and one particular instance is in category H
weapons. We allow primary producers on a case-by-case basis to hold category H weapons. Other
states, like New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania, do not issue this type of licence for primary
producers. Other states which do issue that type of licence have fewer than 100 on issue. The current
number of concealable firearms—which are the category H weapons—licences issued as at May this
year for primary producer use is 2,134 licences for 2,524 concealable firearms.
Historically, these types of licences have been issued to primary producers for use on large
properties to destroy sick and injured animals to prevent prolonged suffering for the animal if the owner
returned to their residence to gain access to a long arm. A number of these licences have recently been
refused on the basis that the applicants do not meet the genuine reasons requirement under the
regulation for the issue of the concealable firearm for a variety of reasons, including failing to meet the
occupational requirement. I support the decision of Weapons Licensing to act independently of any
political interference in respect of these matters. Their job is to work in accordance with the law. The
regulation has not changed. Weapons Licensing will continue to take guidance from the courts about
how to interpret the particular regulation. Weapons Licensing is also happy to work with any
Queenslander, in particular any Queenslander who holds a weapons licence, to ensure that they
understand the Weapons Regulation and the requirements for holding that particular weapon and what
that person might need to demonstrate to satisfy the Weapons Regulation.
In respect of the process that Weapons Licensing goes through, any application to possess a
category H firearm undergoes vigorous scrutiny and a thorough vetting of the applicant. Applicants, as
I said, must demonstrate a genuine reason, supported by documentation, to use a particular class of
firearm. The types of handguns that are available in Queensland are not just available for use by primary
producers; there are people who hold handguns with a category H firearm for sports target shooting at
approved pistol clubs and also security guards.
I support the work that the Weapons Licensing Branch does. They act in accordance with the
law. If anyone is particularly aggrieved about a decision of the Weapons Licensing Branch, there are
appropriate processes for them to follow to appeal those decisions. I emphasise, once again, that the
regulation has not changed during this term of government in respect of category H weapons.