New NSC Legal Action to stop VicPol Reclassification

RECLASSIFICATION: NSC flags legal action in new fight

3 June 2020|appearance laws, Victoria Police

EARLIER THIS YEAR Victoria police announced its intention to reclassify another firearm, putting it outside the reach of ordinary shooters.

Now they’ve gone quiet - which is why we’re looking at legal action to stop what they started.

Owners of the C-More Competition M26 straight pull shotgun were given until April 1st 2020 to provide a written submission to VicPol as to why their rifle shouldn’t be reclassified and in doing so have it prohibited from purchase and ownership by most Shooters.

As many of you will be aware, the NSC has been leading the fight against this. We made a comprehensive written submission and helped other owners put their own submissions in.

The M26

The NSC is representing several owners of the civilian M26 (pictured right) and made a very detailed submission covering a range of matters including:

  • which firearm the gun is being compared with;
  • the fact the M26 does not ‘substantially duplicate’ whatever firearm it is being compared with
  • the fact that this decision is being made by persons who are not qualified or experienced to do so; and
  • factual errors in VicPol’s argument

Tasmanian decision

Of growing importance is a decision made by Tasmania Police on the same firearm in August 2018.

We liaised with the Tasmanian Firearms registry and got documents under Tasmanian Freedom of Information laws that reveal that their Firearms Categorisation Assessment Committee formed the view that:

  • “the subject firearm does not substantially duplicate in appearance the reference firearm”

and that

  • “Members of the panel were not able to identify at this time a firearm which … substantially duplicates in appearance the C-More M26 Sporting Shotgun”

The documents also show that the decision by the Committee was unanimous. With such strong evidence that refutes what Victoria Police was proposing, the argument we’re putting forward to beat this is quite strong.

As neither the NSC or owners of the rifle had heard anything from VicPol since the April 1 deadline they set, we wrote to the Superintendent in charge of the Licensing & Regulation Division for an update, which he did not respond do. Then we asked the officer in charge of Firearms for his response by COB last Friday.

Again, no response was received. That’s two deadlines they missed, which is discourteous and may be an attempt to ‘sweep it under the carpet’.

We’re unimpressed. Shooters deserve better.

The NSC does not like uncertainty or the way shooters get treated. Reclassification in particular needs to be challenged and beaten - which is why we’re now handing the matter over to our legal team. Our barrister has written to Victoria Police giving them one last opportunity to respond before we turn our mind to taking legal action to get a response out of them.

If we let VicPol get away with this, then no gun is safe . VicPol can decide they don’t like any gun you own for any reason they like and you lose it.

Not even the shotgun you’ve owned for years and years and securely stored is safe from their reach.

VicPol’s choices

From our perspective Victoria Police’s options appear to be:

  1. Write to the NSC and owners of the M26 withdrawing the proposal AND proposing the establishment of clear and consultative criteria for its administration of the Victorian Firearms Act;
  2. Proceed with the reclassification - and get ready for a legal fight;
  3. Do nothing - and get ready for a legal fight anyway.

We’ve given VicPol until next Wednesday to respond. If you want to stop the spread of “appearance laws” and protect your freedom to own the guns you already have then that’s why you need to join the NSC .

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Great work, all states are taking the appearance laws and using them to suit their own agenda.

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Absolutely, appearance laws are a blunt catch all instrument, that must be disposed off.

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Queensland isn’t, and even if they wanted to reclassify the C-More they can’t because our “appearance law” legislation only applies to centrefire rifles, not rimfire rifles or shotguns.

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