SSAA members may find themselves caught up in the fallout from an administrative mishap that could see more than 80 Victorian shooters lose their firearms licences. In the February, we shared the news that some Victorian shooters may lose their firearms licence due to a 19-year-old ‘administrative error’. A second warning letter from Victoria Police has now been issued to more than 80 Victorian Category C licence holders regarding this issue.
As reported by the Weekly Times in Melbourne, a red-tape blunder made during the federal government’s 1996 firearms buy-back came to light after a police audit. The lapse may have allowed some Category C licences to be issued to owners of semi-automatic firearms or pump-action shotguns who may not have been eligible to possess such firearms.
Despite having their licences renewed over the intervening years, shooters have received letters from the police asking for further proof before licences are approved again. The shooters, thought to be mainly farmers or clay target enthusiasts, have to give extra reasons by June 19 in order to keep their licences.
The plight of the shooters has earned sympathy from Shooters & Fishers Party MP Jeff Bourman as well as Field and Game chief executive Rod Drew.
“It’s not fair, it’s just not these people’s fault,” said Mr Bourman.
“There is no logic in going after these people now,” said Mr Drew.
A Victoria Police spokesperson told the SSAA, “No decision has been made to cancel any licences at this stage. Until the process is completed, Victoria Police won’t know the outcomes so won’t be making further comment.”
If you’re a Victorian member and feel you have been affected by this issue, please contact the SSAA Victoria Branch.