The NSC has worked hard to expose the shocking way NSWPOL and its FAR treat LAFO’s over mental health. Now its revealed they treat their own offices just as bad. The story below appeared on line today in the Sydney Daily Telegraph and Melbourne Herald Sun.
NSW Firearms Registry tells cops they can’t have a personal gun licence because of PTSD
Experienced police officers have slammed a move to strip them of their gun licences - a move they say is linked to a double murder.
3 min read
March 3, 2023 - 7:03AM
News Corp Australia Network
Some state and federal cops authorised to carry guns at work to protect the public, have bizarrely been deemed unfit to hold a firearm once they clock off.
In what has been described as “bureaucracy gone mad”, police officers and also military veterans and a corrective services officer have suddenly had their personal gun licences revoked and their own firearms seized.
But it is not because they have done anything wrong or been a threat to anyone.
They have been targeted by the NSW Firearms Registry because they once had PTSD – even though they have been medically cleared and in many cases returned to work carrying their firearm.
Michael Baldock said he still has the utmost respect for those in his former workplace, but he has no faith in the Firearms Registry.
Michael Baldock is a former NSW Police firearms instructor.
The group of more than a dozen officers are now thousands of dollars out of pocket as they fight to get their licences back.
They claim the crackdown came after the State Coroner’s criticisms of the registry failing to recognise the pattern of domestic violence in the case of John Edwards who murdered his two children and then killed himself.
“This is just an arse-covering exercise,” said Michael Baldock, a former police officer of 25 years who was a weapons trainer as well as a Glock and taser instructor and has only just got his gun licence back.
“It is demeaning and demoralising. The firearms registry did not even know I was a cop.”
Jennifer and Jack Edwards were killed by their father.
Mr Baldock had written medical advice – sought by the registry – that he was not a danger, but that advice was ignored.
He took his case to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT). It never made it to a hearing with Mr Baldock being advised to just reapply for his licence.
In a separate case, a hero AFP police officer who recovered from PTSD, triggered after being “harpooned with a spear” in the Solomon Islands, also took his case to the NCAT and won.
Justin Heaney had his licence reinstated in a judgment last month which included statements from colleagues that Mr Heaney had shown great strength and courage by allowing his circumstances to be used as a case study for others who suffer from mental health issues at work.
An extract from the health questionnaire completed by Michael Baldock’s psychologist couldn’t be more clear that he was not a threat. Picture: Supplied
A spokeswoman for the Firearms Registry said if they become aware any licence holder (including police) suffers a mental health condition requiring treatment, the licence will be suspended, the firearms will be seized until a medical professional they are “virtually no risk” to public safety or self-harm.
“The Commissioner’s Directive is aimed at reducing the risk of self harm due to mental health conditions until there is a risk assessment undertaken – and subsequent assurance by a medical professional,” she said.
But it is not just police suddenly being targeted. Veterans claim they have been entrapped by the Firearms Registry offering to waive their licence fees.
Veterans were asked to fill in a form and a tick a box if they had ever suffered PTSD. When they did, they said the registry revoked their licence.
Ian Stewart, a Vietnam War veteran and a rural fire service volunteer lost his gun licence after responding to application to have his fees waived because he was a veteran.
Vice president of the National Shooting Council Peter Zabrdac said the position and attitude taken by the firearms registry is a regression on the treatment of mental health and reverts back to the dark ages.
“They consider every licensed firearms owner, including their own police, and military veterans as a potential mass killer trained to use firearms and a threat to community safety and that is just not the reality,” he said.
Peter Zabrdac, Vice President of the National Shooting Council said the Firearms Registry has regressed to the dark ages. Picture: Supplied
Ian Stewart wishes he had never applied for am licence fee waiver.
Mr Zabrdac said the way veterans had been treated was particularly disgraceful.
Ian Stewart, a Vietnam War veteran who spent 50 years serving the community in the army and the rural fire service said people won’t get help if they think they will lose their gun licences.
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Mr Stewart wishes he never applied to have his licence fees waived. Despite letters from three doctors saying he was not a danger to anyone his licence was revoked and his guns seized.
“I am annoyed, if I had just paid the licence fee none of this would have happened.”
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