The Andrews Government is making more bad changes to Victoria’s gun laws.
The latest changes will allow police down to the rank of inspector to ban shooters from holding firearm licences for at least 10 years – for getting nothing more than a speeding fine.
People hit with a ban will also be subjected to warrantless searches of their homes or cars at any time, and barred from going to any place where guns may be stored or used.
This is a major backward step for shooters – but the good news is that the NSC is well placed to fight this, which is why we need your help.
Who will be able to impose the bans?
The legislation that was introduced into the Victorian State Parliament by the state’s Police Minister, Lisa Neville (pictured above), is called the Firearms and Other Acts Amendment Bill 2021.
As it stands, the bill proposes that the bans will be able to be put in place by officers at inspector level.
This includes inspectors in the firearms registry.
Ban includes warrantless searches and other restrictions
Once a ban is in place, the laws will allow any police officer to search the shooter, their home, their car or any person with the shooter, without a warrant.
How it would work
Imagine if you received a COVID or speeding fine.
From previous experience, Victoria Police has seen these as being sufficient to suspend firearms licences.
The new bans would permit bad ‘behaviour‘ – potentially simply having an argument over the fine or suspension – to be sufficient for an inspector to hit you with a ban.
This would subject you to searches until 2032 – and you have only one right of appeal until 2027.
All for copping a simple fine.
Or for no reason at all.
It also means you can’t go anywhere firearms are used or stored – which may be your local range, gunshop or even a friend’s or relative’s home where firearms are stored.
You also cannot change address without risking a year in jail if you don’t notify the police within 24 hours of moving.
You will also have only one right of appeal for the first five years of the 10 year ban.
Could you get a ban?
The bill before Parliament will allow officers to impose bans for any of the following reasons
- “because of the behaviour of the individual” – the legislation does not define what ‘behaviour’ means, and so comes down to the officer’s personal opinion. What is clear from the legislation is that this behaviour does not need to relate to anything illegal.
- “because of the people with whom the individual associates” – which means people Victoria Police do not like. Again, this does not need to relate to anything illegal.
- “because of the criminal history of the individual” – which sounds ok but again the lack of definition means it could apply to very old history – such as minor offences conducted as a teenager; and
- “because, on the basis of information known to the Chief Commissioner about the individual, the individual may pose a threat or risk to public safety.” – again, this is vague and open to abuse.
It means if an officer of Victoria Police does not like your ‘behaviour’, you could easily find yourself getting one of Lisa Neville’s new bans.
Copping a COVID fine, for instance.
Key questions you might have about this
The NSC has helped many shooters who have had their firearm licences suspended for less.
In fact, we helped one guy who lost his firearms licence after receiving a COVID fine that was issued to him in error. He didn’t do anything wrong (he had a work exemption) but still had to fight to get his licence back.
Why not? We’ve seen shooters who perhaps unwisely flouted COVID laws to attend protests lose their licences, so there is nothing to stop these new laws from being used to stop any form of political activity.
This could include trying to shut down advocacy groups such as the NSC.
However, in our case, we’ve already got our barristers primed and will continue doing what we do regardless of what comes our way. In fact, the more we see laws like this being used against shooters who have done nothing wrong, the more determined the NSC will become to get the law removed😊
Beverley McArthur is an upper house MP for the Liberal Party in the Victorian State Parliament. She’s on our side and we have a lot of time for her.
We understand she will soon ask the government about that in the next few days.
It’s a question the Andrew’s Government will most likely avoid responding to in the same way they refused to answr her questions about the $25m VicPol AR semi-auto rifle purchase.
The new laws were introduced into the Victorian State Parliament last week.
Opposing these new restrictions is essential, because we understand the next round of laws which will be introduced after the next state election if Labor gets re-elected, will be worse.
Here’s what you can do
There are two things you can do to help us fight this, especially with a state election in Victoria due next year.
The first is you can make our voice stronger by becoming a member. In fact if you are a Victorian who wants these laws scrapped, then you really don’t have any other options.
We’ve FOI’d the government about consultation
The NSC has already put a Freedom of Information request into the Government to see which shooting organisations may have supported these laws – or alternatively if there was no consultation at all.
We’ll let you know what the result is.
Extension of recent laws
The bans are an extension of laws the government introduced in 2018 but were limited to being put in place by superintendents. Called Firearm Prohibition Orders, they were originally touted as being aimed at criminals, and bikie gangs.
At the time, Liberties Victoria expressed real concern over how the laws would be applied.
However those concerns were ignored – and the proposal is to delegate the laws further down in VicPol, making it easier for them to be used against almost anyone.
It’s why shooters who supported Labor at the last election need to change their vote.