Daniel Salmon owns a large property in Quilpie that contains around 20,000 acres of Mulga. The area is rife with feral pigs and wild dogs. A handgun is the only safe way to control these dangerous pests and Salmon, like many of his fellow farmers, has had a handgun licence for many years. It’s common practice for farmers to carry a handgun when mustering stock, as longarms are impractical when riding trail bikes over rough terrain.
The Difficulties of Renewing a Cat H Handgun Licence
Many farmers hold Cat H handgun licences. When these licences expire, they must be renewed with Queensland Police’s Weapons Licencing branch. As Salmon found out, this isn’t an easy process. Although the Weapons Licencing branch has denied it is trying to bring its policies in line with some other States, it seems determined to deny farmers the use of handguns.
Weapons Licencing ‘Pressures’ Farmers
Documents seen by Shooters Union and other groups suggest that Weapons Licencing has been encouraging their staff to pressure some Cat. H applicants into withdrawing their applications. But recent rulings, have set a precedent, such as the in Salmon case, that should encourage Shooters Union members who require handguns for their farm work to contest the ruling with QCAT (Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal). Weapons Licensing Branch will throw up all kinds of arguments, but these can be contested in a QCAT hearing.
As any experienced farmer knows, rifles are not always the appropriate solution when dealing with livestock and pests on Australian farms; in many cases, they are impractical and potentially dangerous, whereas pistols are convenient and safer.
Labour’s Anti Farmer Agenda
Many believe that Queensland Labor Party has an anti-farmer agenda (as witnessed with the introduction of new vegetation management laws). Weapons Licensing is pursuing its policy of making it as difficult as possible for farmers to renew their Cat. H licences in the name of ‘public safety’. The war against handguns is even backed by Police Minister Mark Ryan.
But as this story shows, Queensland farmers don’t need to take this lying down. You can fight back! The judgement in the Salmon case proves that if you have a legitimate need and a well prepared argument you can win!