Thursday, 25 March 2021

Police Minister must grant short term license extensions

“The Police Minister should use powers available to her under the Arms Act to protect many of the 10,000 firearms users caught up in a relicensing backlog from falling foul of the law,” says ACT Firearms Reform spokesperson Nicole McKee.

“During the initial COVID-19 lockdown, when firearms license issuance and renewal couldn’t take place, the Government invoked powers under section 74 of the Arms Act to allow for license holders to have temporary extensions to licenses.

“Now, just as we’re approaching the busiest gamebird and deer hunting period in the calendar, Police have allowed a backlog of 10,000 license applications and renewals to build up.

“No one wants to be in a position where they’re tempted to break the law, but a broken system where people are waiting over six months for standard license renewals puts that at risk.

“The Government has the ability to ensure responsible firearms owners don’t break the law – they can issue special exemptions like they did last year.

“These protective measures don’t require Parliament’s time, the Minister can recommend regulation changes around the renewal and replacement of permits and licenses under Section 74 of the Arms Act.

“Everyone knows the backlog exists and the Police Commissioner has recently reprioritised resources to start trying to clear it, but that will take time.

“Short term measures are needed to let these law abiding citizens go hunting in the months ahead.”