NSC launches legal actions against latest WA gun grab
29 June 2020|Reclassification, Western Australia Police
THE NSC HAS FILED TWO NEW LEGAL ACTIONS in Western Australia after WAPol banned seven firearms, putting them outside the reach of ordinary shooters.
This is a fight of national importance to shooters, because it challenges a loophole in the National Firearms Agreement that the regulators are using to their advantage – allowing them to take any guns off us simply because of the way they look.
It’s a legal fight shooters have to win.
IN EARLY JUNE, WA Police released a list of seven firearms that are now prohibited.
Prohibition – or ‘reclassification’ in other states – is a loophole in the National Firearms Agreement that allows police to change the boundaries of what is supposed to fall in categories A, B and H (longarms and handguns) which most shooters can access for hunting and target shooting.
In other words, prohibition means making previously legal firearms, illegal with the stroke of a bureaucrat’s pen.
The firearm that these actions relate to is the Ruger PC Charger handgun. The advice that WA Police gave to one of our applicants as to why the gun is now prohibited was:
“With the PC Charger it’s manufactured so that it can be easily converted to a long arm or semi/fully auto, which is why its prohibited. Generally if a handgun complies with the Firearms Regulations and the National Firearms Agreement, it won’t be prohibited.”
The WA legislation does not use the same wording as the National Firearms Agreement. Instead it talks about whether a firearm ‘ resembles ’ a category D rather than “substantially duplicates those rifles in design, function or appearance” which are the words used in the NFA.
In other words, WA has not stuck to the NFA, so for WA Police to talk about compliance with the NFA does not make sense – and we think creates a legal problem for them.
In the case of the Ruger PC Charger, WA Police have given a further reason for banning it, saying that it is not “desirable in the interests of public safety” to issue a licence for the gun. However, the same provision talks about “a person”, not every shooter, which we think creates another legal problem for them.
The NSC has now filed two actions in the WA State Administrative Tribunal – both on the Ruger PC Charger.
Obviously, we’ll let you know what happens, but we are after a complete reversal of the decisions on the basis that the decisions were unlawful.
We have invited the SSAA WA and WA Firearm Traders Association to help us with these actions, but it looks like we’ll be on our own. Again.
Belligerent, unskilled - and still making the decisions
While we appreciate the demeanour of the police officer who responded, our dealings with other, more senior officers in the registry have shown the WA registry as being uncooperative and belligerent. It follows their recently failed attempt to hit the NSC with their legal costs in our gun shop action.
When asked to specifically identify his authority to prohibit the firearms, the officer involved avoided the question, implying that he had the same authority as the Chief Commissioner of Police to do anything he wanted under WA legislation. That is the organisation we are dealing with.
They are also woefully unskilled. Last year the NSC wrote to every registry to assess what skills and qualifications they had to reclassify firearms. WA came in with the worst score – 0/10.
The zero rating is not trying to be melodramatic, but a reflection of the information they offered in response to the question we put to them.
Importance of this matter nationally
This is an EXTREMELY important matter for shooters nationally, as it is the first serious legal challenge against our reclassification laws.
This is because reclassification is a deliberate blurring of the boundaries for what we can own.
If left unchecked, we could find ourselves fighting to save larger calibre firearms, handguns, scopes and magazines – all because something “resembles” some other gun. IPSC, you are in trouble. Hunters, you are in trouble. Collectors – you could lose half of what have if you don’t pay attention.
It is like what happened in 1996 – but a lot slower and without any limitation on how far it will go.
RECLASSIFICATION HAS TO STOP – and the NSC is facing that challenge head on.
The NSC has also been pursuing the proposed reclassification of the C-MORE Competition M26. This gun is on the WA banned list and we understand Victoria police will shortly reclassify that firearm, banning it in Victoria. We have our legal team ready to roll on that one as well when needed.
We appreciate the efforts of others to fight reclassification – as we saw happen with the Savage A22R in the Northern Territory – but our interest is in putting a permanent end to these attacks on what we do.
That’s why we’re fighting this through legal channels – and why we’ll be raising this as our number 1 issue at the WA State Election coming up in a few months’ time, as we need the law changed.
Want to keep your guns, scopes and magazines?
IF YOU HATE RECLASSIFICATION, and want to see the NSC take more actions like this, then you need to join us now.
Becoming a member helps us become stronger in the fight against bad laws.
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