VicPol makes 2nd bid to Shut NSC's legal action down

GUN SHOPS: VicPol makes 2nd bid to shut NSC’s legal action down

21 July 2020|Gun shops, Victoria Police

VICTORIA POLICE are trying to trip the NSC up a second time in the legal action it is taking against them for closing the state’s gun shops.

A bit of history…

The Firearms Appeals Committee is a statutory committee that exists in Victorian legislation that enables it to hear appeals against adverse decisions that Victoria Police makes against licensed firearm owners and dealers.

It is widely known that Victoria Police does not welcome the avenue of appeal and wants it gone: this might partly explain why it is now trying to have our action thrown out.

VicPol’s argument against jurisdiction

In response to Orders made at the previous directions hearing in late June, Victoria Police provided a written submission arguing that the Firearms Appeals Committee (FAC) does not have jurisdiction to hear our appeal against the closures. It claims that because the decision has since been reversed, there is “nothing (for the FAC) to see here”.

This shows the contempt they have for hundreds of gun shop owners and smaller farmers who lost income and in some cases their livelihoods as a direct result of Victoria Police’s actions. It also ignores the real cost for dealers who have had to resubmit applications for permits-to-acquire since they were allowed to re-open.

With the re-imposition of restrictions across the Melbourne and Mitchell Shire area our shooting ranges are closed, and hunters are grounded due to travel restrictions. However Victoria’s gun shops remain open, undoubtedly because of the NSC’s determination to continue our legal fight.

This is VicPol’s second attempt to strike our appeal out: the first was in relation to our right to launch the proceedings.

The NSC and its legal counsel have been working hard on this matter and believe we have a very strong case and look forward to being “back in court” for our next hearing in the FAC on the 5th August.

Where is the domestic violence?

As many of you know and commented on, the Victorian Government claimed that the gun shop closures in Victoria could be justified on the basis of the need to reduce domestic violence during the Corona Virus shutdown.

Gun shops are open nationwide and we are yet to hear of any instances where this has led to domestic violence.

Then there was the claim that the closures were supported by a decision of National Cabinet which the NSC exposed nationally as being untrue. The NSC also exposed that in Victoria they closed the Victorian gun shops down without clearing it through the Victorian Government Solicitor’s Office.

LIKE IT’S HANDLING of the quarantine hotels mess ,the Victorian government and its regulator seems determined to stop itself being held to account.

Last week, we highlighted the case of Geelong Gun Dealer Rod Haugh and his six-year legal fight with the Regulator, VicPol. As one dealer recently said The goodwill of firearm dealers is the only factor which keeps the entire firearms registration system workable in Australia….betray that goodwill and watch the regulatory system fail.”

Coming up

The NSC is not ignoring the rest of the country - but our strongest fight seems to be in Victoria where the Premier, Police Minister and now Chief Commissioner have all tried their best to tread on shooters.

Plus, you will be aware that we now have two new actions in WA on reclassification AND are gearing up to raise the profile of shooting issues in next month’s Northern Territory election.

To add to that is the likely upcoming fight in Victoria on the reclassification of the C-More M26, especially since WA has now put the M26 on its banned list.

In the meantime, our WA action on reclassification has its first directions hearing a few days earlier, on 31 July.

Don’t miss out

The role that the NSC is now playing in our industry is the most important one that it can play – which has only been possible with the support that many shooters, shooting organisations and businesses are now throwing behind us.

We are obviously pleased with the progress we are making but we also know that more needs to be done – especially to win some of these actions.

The most important thing you can do is to help us and yourself and your fellow shooters –is by simply staying up to date on what is happening as the hearings and elections approach, and tell your fellow Shooting mates what’s happening.

All you need to do is to click here to join our email list – which is the best way to make sure you don’t miss anything as these important deadlines approach.

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