AUSTRALIA’S pre-eminent shooters representative organisation has accused Victoria Police’s Firearms Licensing and Regulation Division (LRD) of drastically overstepping its bounds.
The LRD added information to its official website last Friday night saying that deliberate breaches of Chief Health Officer (CHO) directions could result in a situation where someone’s firearms licence “can be suspended, cancelled or may be subject to a reprimand which could harm any future licensing.”
Shooters Union Australia president Graham Park slammed LRD’s reasoning, saying there was no connection whatsoever between people being out after an arbitrary curfew or not social distancing enough and being unsafe with firearms.
“The lockdown and COVID restrictions in Victoria are the harshest in Australia and the harshest in the Western world at the moment, and it is a ridiculously long bow to draw to say that someone travelling a few extra kilometres from their home to go to a park or being outside after 8pm has somehow shown themselves to be unsuitable to have a firearms licence,” he said.
“Will they be taking the driver’s licences off people who breach CHO directions to stop them driving more than 5km from home or fleeing the police state Victoria has become?” he asked.
“Will the Victorian Government be revoking people’s “Working With Children” cards if they breach the CHO regulations? Why not? After all, using the same logic displayed by LRD, someone who can’t be trusted to obey curfew/social distancing/mask wearing directions etc also can’t be trusted not to behave inappropriately around children.
“Since that’s clearly not true, neither is the idea that licensed shooters can’t be trusted with guns because they may have breached draconian CHO directions.”
Mr Park said there are already significant fines in place for breaching CHO directions – and it should apply equally to everyone breaking the law, regardless of who they were and whether or not they had a gun licence.
“Taking someone’s gun licence off them for breaching those directions essentially means a licensed shooter is being punished more severely than a member of the public – or a criminal with unregistered and unlicensed guns - for the same breach,” he said.
“In what universe is that fair or reasonable?”
Mr Park said the attitude of the Victorian Government to law-abiding firearms owners was nothing short of disgusting.
“The evidence is clear that licensed firearms owners are one of the most law-abiding parts of the community in Australia. This idea we’re all looking for reasons to misuse guns is deeply offensive, dangerous, and it needs to stop now,” he said.
“They closed all the gunshops last time around because of utterly made-up concerns about domestic violence and suicide – something we’re still waiting for an official apology and the Police Minister’s resignation over.
“This latest decree is yet another example of the Victorian Government telling shooters it hates them and doesn’t trust them and is actively looking for ways to make their lives harder and less pleasant.
“If any other minority group in Victoria was treated the way law-abiding firearms users are, it would be considered a hate crime.”