Why did TasPol ban an Aussie-made rifle?

Last month, we wrote to ask Tasmanian Police why they banned an Australian-made Warwick WFA-1 rifle. They wrote back with a galling answer: flatly refusing to give any reasons. We took it a step further and now the Tasmanian Police Minister, Rene Hidding writes back to us.  We had explained to the Minister that detailed written reasons for administrative decisions are normal practice, just in case he didn’t know:

The Tasmanian Police recently prohibited an Australian-made sporting rifle. It is not a semi-automatic rifle. It has a bolt that the user has to pull back to reload the rifle – just like thousands of other rifles in use across your State and mainland Australia.

In Australia, administrative decision-makers who are banning something are usually obliged to offer written reasons for their decision. This is generally expected of administrative decision-makers in English-speaking countries.

An adequate set of written reasons would carefully evaluate the WFA-1 against a fully-automatic firearm. Which parts do and do not duplicate the appearance of a real world full auto.  We weren’t prepared for what we got back instead.

The Minister admits: we don’t know what full auto the WFA-1 duplicates

Whilst I am not aware of the specific firearm(s) the WFA-1 ‘substantially duplicated’ you may wish to view the Warwick Firearms website and compare the WFA-1 with the WFM4, which Warwick Firearms openly states is based on the M4 rifle.

Can we have some adequate reasons that explain how the various physical properties of the WFA-1 ‘substantially duplciates’ an M4 (also, which M4)?  What about an explanation of the correct legal test?  ‘Duplicates’ is a pretty precise word.  Instead, the Minister points us to the Guidelines, which AREN’T a set of detailed reasons for this decision:

The Guidelines for categorisation … are available at http://www.police.tas.gov.au.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/Firearms-Categorisation-Guidelines-Interpretation-of-Schedule-1-6-Fi….pdf

Can the Tasmanian Gun Police please do their job?

As a rule, the Police do a terrific job under really difficult circumstances. Why are we having to beg the Tasmanian firearms registry to do the basic of their job and explain a serious administrative decision that has a real economic impact and adversely affects law-abiding shooters? Why doesn’t the Minister expect an agency is his portfolio to offer detailed reasons?

You’d be forgiven for thinking this isn’t Australia.  Write to the Tasmanian Premier today and tell him this is unacceptable.


Dear Premier Hodgman,

I refer you to the recent Tasmanian Police ban of Australian-made straight-pull rifles like the Warwick WFA-1. This is a terrible policy with a real economic impact and it’s poorly implemented when Tasmanian Police won’t give reasons for their decision (see lafo.com.au).  This is unacceptable and your government can do better.