NSC on track to win another reclassification fight in WA
16 December 2020|Legal actions, Reclassification, Western Australia Police
IF YOU EVER WANTED TO KNOW why it is a great idea to be a member of the NSC, then here it is: the NSC looks set to win another reclassification fight in WA.
Technically it isn’t our action. It was launched by another individual, however the NSC is providing full legal help, including through its barrister.
If this matter goes our way, it will be the second time we have beaten reclassification in WA, and the NSC is willing to go much further.
What is reclassification?
Reclassification - or prohibition in WA - is a loophole in the National Firearms Agreement that allows bureaucrats to change the classification of a firearm to a more restricted category, based on as little as its look.
This allows people with no qualifications or experience in shooting decide what we can have.
Most states have reclassification laws but as the NSC gathers more knowledge about the processes of our regulators, it is exposing more and more legal problems in what they are doing.
The independent action
Earlier this year, the WA Police went for a huge gun-grab, reclassifying eight firearms. The NSC filed and recently won two cases against the reclassification of one of those firearms, the Ruger PC Charger, when it started to work with “M” who had already initiated his own legal action in relation to another firearm on the list.
M owned his Desert Technical SRS rifle when he was advised by WA Pol that he needed to surrender it after the reclassification.
With the NSC’s help, M won against the police on a point of law around whether the SAT had jurisdiction to hear the matter, with the next directions hearing scheduled to December.
The December hearing
On Friday 11 December, the SAT considered an extensive submission prepared by the NSC’s barrister which flagged a number of legal arguments that we will be fighting the matter on.
The SAT Member hearing the matter asked if the parties could negotiate a settlement. However, given that WAPOL’s position is one of seizure, that seems highly unlikely.
The Member has set a date for arbitration for 5 January with a further directions hearing scheduled for 15 January.
Not only does this mean that the matter is “still in play”, but we a number of legal arguments which will challenge the reclassification laws, including the expertise of the police on various technical matter such as their knowledge of pistol grips and shrouds.
Perhaps the most important one though, is whether matters of this type should only be made by the Chief Commissioner, and not some junior officer buried in the registry. Readers may recall we mentioned this in a previous NSC blog. It is called the Carltona Principle, which, if we are successful, could have implications for any reclassification decision made by our registries.
Overall, we’re happy with the way this has gone, and the inevitability that we will eventually get the proper judicial scrutiny that these laws need.
In addition to M, the NSC is working with another shooter, E, who is also looking to purchase a Desert Technical SRS – so we’ll be having a lot more to say about reclassification in the west soon.
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