Back in August we contacted the NSW Firearms Registry (FAR) regarding our concerns over how DVA and disability pension cardholders applying for gun licences were being flagged for further action, typically involving mental health reports which would be expensive and/or difficult (if not effectively impossible) to provide.
NSW FAR Commander Superintendent Cameron Lindsay has replied to our letter and explained the reasoning behind this process, shedding some light on the issue.
“All applicants for a firearms licence are subject to the same checks and conditions, including a series of health-related ‘personal history’ questions that are asked as part of the application process,” the letter says.
“If the Registry receives information via these questions or in any other form, that the applicant may be suffering from a relevant health condition, the standard practice applied to all applications is for the Firearms Registry to request information from a health professional, evidencing the applicant’s fitness to hold a firearms licence.
“In circumstances, for example, where a healthcare card has been issued for permanent impairment, incapacity, or disablement clearly indicating the card holder is receiving compensation or treatment for a health condition, it is necessary and appropriate for the Firearms Registry to seek further information to ascertain the nature of the disability or health condition.”
In practical terms:
If you apply for a gun licence fee concession in NSW using a DVA or other disability pension card, you will almost certainly be required to provide further information from a medical professional.
To NSW FAR’s credit, they are very open about their decision-making process, which is available online here: https://www.police.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0009/647028/Firearms_Registry_Decision_Making_Resources_Guidelines_interactive.pdf
We appreciate Superintendent Lindsay taking the time to addressing our concerns, even if it wasn’t the outcome we were hoping for.