What’s Weapons Licensing’s position on overall length of pistols?
Some weeks ago, a Brisbane man was charged with having a Ruger Charger pistol coverted to another category. This was announced in one of the most confusing Police press conferences of recent times, recorded here. As Firearms Owners United later reported on Facebook:
The firearm was a Ruger Charger on a Cat H license that the shooter had placed into a stock.
We have been following the case and it turns out that the shooter had also placed a bipod on the gun, with the bipod in the forward position it apparently measured over 75 cm.
To summarise then there would seem to be no change of position by Qld Weapons licensing towards pistols in chassis or stocks. However they count anything attached to the gun for the purposes of measuring OAL, so that bipod does count!
Given there are potential charges facing shooters who place their pistols into a chassis or frame or change some element to improve their use of the pistol, it seems pretty reasonable to ask Weapons Licensing their view on the matter.
What is ‘overall length’?
This raises the question of how overall length of a firearm should be measured. If a bipod that is folded up can add length to a firearm, then what about when the slide is back? A slide to the rear can add a few millimetres to a Glock (as the headline image illustrates). But that doesn’t seem to be how the manufacturer measures overall length:
Let’s ask Weapons Licensing
Pistols shooters are perfectly entitled to have a view from the regulator so that they know what they can and can’t do. They should not be in the position of having to guess whether products that they can purchase off the shelf from any number of firearms dealers are going to land them in hot water.
Someone did ask Weapons Licensing. After chasing it up over 28 days later, Weapons Licensing wrote back:
Weapons Licensing does not provide legal advice and it is recommended you seek independent legal advice in relation to your inquiry.
This is an unacceptable position for a regulator to take. So good on the person who asked for advice for writing back:
The letter concerns the comments of Detective Senior Sergeant Hindmarsh on 18 May 2017. The letter is not a request for legal advice, but is a request for an explanation for those comments, given that there does not appear to be any basis at law or otherwise for them.
The letter requires a response because:
QPS, through DSS Hindmarsh, has positively represented that Category H weapons that are contained within modified frames are Category C, D or R weapons;
this has serious implications for licensed shooters, especially because despite the representation and the admissions that such frames are not illegal in any sense, QPS appears to have prosecuted persons for allegedly offending those provisions (in fact that was the basis for calling the press conference);
in any event, QPS’ position must be clarified and is divorced from “legal advice” – if the position cannot be explained, how can QPS positively allege that the modified frames offend the Weapons legislation?
In summary, the letter does not deserve a generic response that QPS does not offer legal advice. No request for legal advice was ever made. The request is for QPS’ position, given the obviously inconsistent approach.