In 2020 the NSC fought back for shooters.

In 2020 the NSC fought back with 11 legal actions supporting shooters.

We did what hadn’t been tried before. Our scorecard is below.

NSC’s legal scorecard: a year of firsts for shooters

12 December 2020|Legal actions, NSC work program

During the year, the NSC started 11 formal legal actions to do the things you and your shooting industry leaders have wanted someone to do for years.

Here is our scorecard on those actions.

The aim

A bit over two years ago, senior leading figures in the shooting industry held a crisis meeting on our dilemma facing shooters that that resulted in the formation of the NSC. Part of this plan was to take legal actions to shut down bad or illegal decisions by our regulators.

It was the first time any shooting organisation has embarked on such an important and untested program.

This has produced the results you see in this article.

Reporting our results

This blog is a scorecard of the legal actions we have taken - which started a bit before mid-year with the gun shop closures.

It has been developed at the suggestion of one of our regular readers (thanks PW!) to help explain to the many shooters who donated to our fights, where the money went and what was achieved.

You will note that we are counting the results as wins of sorts - that’s because they are. While none of the matters proceeded to formal decisions by the courts, all of those matters completed were resolved by the regulators who caused the problem, backing down from their positions when challenged.

In the case of the gun shop closures in Victoria, WA and Queensland, the story is a bit murkier but results we can definitely claim are that we exposed the ‘fake decision of National Cabinet’ which ended up up on the front pages of newspapers in four states, commenced legal actions in the three states affected, and the closures were not repeated during the second waves of the pandemic in those three states.

In each case, we discontinued the proceedings rather than continue pursuing them because if a court is of the view that it has “nothing to rule on” when the other party has backed down, it will award costs against you. The other thing to look forward to is that we’re learning as we’re going, which means the actions we are taking are getting better and faster.

Where it all started

We had hoped to start small and work up – but got hit with the gun shop closure stories which we believe helped avoid more politically motivated action against us, and continued with other actions on reclassifications and COVID related licence suspensions. This, and the results we got, would not have been possible without your support. The actions have been funded by your membership and donations through the year.

We really appreciate your support and owe it to you to report what that support means for the broader shooting community.

The scoreboard

Queensland:

  • 2 actions against gun shop closures - in QCAT: QCAT started to schedule hearings but the gun shops reopened, at which time it ruled that it no longer had jurisdiction, as there was ‘nothing for it to do’. The effect of the result was that the gun shops stayed open during the second wave - which was a clear win.

Victoria:

  • 1 action against gun shop closures - in the Firearm Appeals Committee: The FAC held several directions hearings but then the gun shops reopened. As with Queensland, the gun shops remained open during the second wave. We also had wins on points of law (jurisdiction) which will be of use in future cases.
  • 4 actions against seizures of licences of Michael Sloan - in the FAC and VCAT: These have only just been filed. We’re waiting to see when our first directions hearing will be.
  • 1 action against COVID fine leading to licence suspension - FAC: VicPol gave in and returned the licence. The NSC also assisted other shooters who also had their licences returned, avoiding the need for us to file further actions, so this is another win.

Western Australia:

  • 2 actions against gun shop closures - in the WA State Administrative Tribunal: As with Qld and Victoria, the SAT started hearing the matter then the gun shops reopened, at which time it had ‘nothing further to do’. As happened in Queensland and Victoria, the gun shops stayed open during the second wave which was a further win. We also had wins on points of law.
  • 1 action against reclassification - in the WA State Administrative Tribunal: WAPol changed the classification of the Ruger PC Charger after the first few directions hearings, with our applicants now in the process of obtaining their further licences (equivalent to Permits-to-Acquire). We paved the way for shooters in WA to get the Ruger PC Charger. We are also providing legal support to an action being taken by another shooter on the Desert Technical SRS Rifle and are contemplating filing a further action on that same gun. Again, we not only won this matter, but had important wins on jurisdiction.

That’s 11 legal actions this year since April - and there’s a possibility of a couple more being filed before the end of the year.

In addition, our legal team has helped fight other actions that fall outside the legal system, such as challenging the Victorian registry over its plans to reclassify the C-More M26 Comp shotgun which seems to have run aground.

We also helped numerous other licence holders with difficulties, and referred others to other organisations, including our friends at the SUA.

Want more from the NSC?

We’re obviously happy with these results, and this article shows just how much ground we covered during the year. The results are there for all to see and none of this would have been possible without your valuable support through donations, membership and spreading the word to other shooters. We’re keen to test every reclassification, get our teeth into the WA state election in March and make more of the 1 million or so shooters out there aware that results like this are not impossible to get. They just need the right approach and that’s what we’re bringing to the table.

If you’re not a member of the NSC and want to see us do more of this in 2021, then simply click here to join us today.

Or if you’re not sure about joining but like what we do, you can hop onto our email list by clicking here

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6 Likes

Not to detract from the good work you have done this year, but starting CAT etc actions knowing full well whatever you’re lodging an appeal over will have resolved itself by the time the CAT get around to hearing it is not a “win” and it’s pretty disingenious to claim it is, IMO.

Martini,

When we lodge/commence legal action against a regulators decision it is to challenge their decision.

If the regulator changes their decision, withdraws it , i.e. “backs down” because it is challenged how is that NOT a win?

WAPOL decided NO shooter in WA could have a Ruger PC9 charger then backed down when challenged in the SAT as an example. You are entitled to your opinion but your logic is beyond my understanding?

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And why do you state we lodge an appeal knowing whatever we lodge an appeal about will be over before the matter comes up for appeal?

Do we have “crystal balls” and know at what point or when a regulator is going to change their mind? Or know when governments were going to re open our gunshops in 3 states for example or that WAPOL were going to change their mind on the Ruger PC9 Charger ban?

Your comments are insulting to be honest!

Because in the case of the gun shop closures, the closure orders would expire with the end of the Public Health Emergency - something which had a specific and publicly available ‘end time’ so starting CAT actions was a waste of time and money, as it was obvious the CAT wouldn’t hear the issue before then.

This was pointed out at the time, too - so it was clear even then that CAT actions regarding the gunshop closures were not going to achieve anything because the state of emergency would lift before CAT could (or would) hear the case.

I didn’t make any reference to the Ruger thing - you bought that up.

Open debate, transparency and objectivity… How members’ membership fees are utilised should always be discussed and challenged. And so are the strategic direction and goals.

…but let keep it objective and civil though, pretty please.

2 Likes

Your constant sniping and derision of the NSC’s work is an insult to the executive and all the hard work that is put in… and just how did the NSC know when the public health emergency orders would end when we lodged legal action?

In Victoria we are still under a “state of emergency” officially yet our gun shops were opened and remained so during the second wave.

We all have our opinions, but if we can’t find a common ground or agree to disagree, what hope do we have… brothers in arms…

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Agree but its sad when someone posts their “opinions” that constantly derides others for the hard work they put in that benefits all shooters.

I think there are solid points in both, the post and the question. I would just prefer that we discuss this without yelling at each other or personal jabs.

2 Likes

Martini has constantly attacked the NSC by posting his “opinions”…when challenged he claims “personal attack”.

As a moderator if this behaviour is tolerated then the NSC has NO interest in continuing to post on this site.

Sad…

Like I said, debate is more than welcome, but personal insults should be kept out of it. That’s all I am saying.

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WA is still under a state of emergency by the way, they’ve been renewing it every fortnight. I doubt they will let this power tool go easily.

I’m confident it was the legal pressure and media that made them open gun shops again, not just time and level of lock down.

3 Likes

I think overarching threat of legal challenge is generally a good motivator not to be a bully. Often, demonstrating the willingness to fight is a much better signal than to fight. It really curates scummy virtue signallers, when they know that there are real consequences to their actions.

4 Likes