Home - Tag Archives: Category H Handguns

Tag Archives: Category H Handguns

Freedom of Disinformation: Queensland Police Service Weapons Licencing Branch Strike Again

A few days ago, we described how the Queensland Police Service Weapons Licensing Branch appears to frown on the occupational use of pistols by primary producers while the Queensland Police regularly euthanise animals with Glocks.

It isn’t just the Police that frown.  The Police Minister has described farmers using pistols to deal with pests and stock as cowboys.  How did we get here?

Fortunately, we can get some idea from documents obtained under Queensland’s Right To Information Act.

“if their proposed use isn’t supported then the applications are very unlikely to be successful”

At some point in the recent past, this document was prepared:

“I propose that all staff assessing or following up on new applications and renewals for Concealable Firearms be encouraged to speak to applicants to let them know that Cat H applications will be looked at on a case by case basis and if their proposed use isn’t supported then the applications are very unlikely to be successful.”

After assessment by the Licencing Coordinator, if the application is not supported, applicants will be offered the opportunity to withdraw prior to being rejected.

Some applications get very special attention.  The document goes on:

“There cannot be a blanket NO answer for any type of licence, each one must be judged on its merits, however some of the standards points that have been referred to are listed below.

Why would each case need a special phone call where Branch staff members ‘speak to applicants’?  Is it because some special attention is going to be delivered?

“Enjoy our new, improved, special attention

In documents that appear to be scripts for the Branch members making the ‘special attention’ phone calls, we find these gems:

“The CSIRO and other Commonwealth and State agencies, including the Queensland Government, have produced a number of ‘Model Codes of Practice’ for the destruction of livestock and feral animals.  These documents indicate that in most cases the use of rifles of sufficient calibres should be used for humane destruction of injured or sick beasts.

Publications on humane destruction of feral pest animals are not supportive of the use of handguns due to the smaller calibres used and the lack of accuracy over distance both of which can contribute to the suffering of an animal.”

It is hard to understand why pistol calibres are said to be smaller than rifle calibres.  There are plenty of pistol calibres in common use which are larger than many common rifle calibres.  Despite that, the Branch seem keen to give you the impression that there is absolutely no scientific support for using pistols to euthanise animals.  There is no mention of the joint Queensland Police and Department of Primary Industries study at Warwick 16 years ago.  That study endorsed the Police Service Glock and its .40 calibre projectile for euthanising cattle.  There is even a Police procedure for euthanising animals with Glocks.

Undeterred by these difficult facts, the apparent script continues with its helpful suggestions:

“Other methods of carrying long arm rifles have been developed in recent years for both motorbike and horseback, including scabbards, gun racks and break down ‘survival’ type rifles of smaller size. This counters an argument that on rural properties it is not practical to travel distances with long arms.”

“Any rejection will need to be declared in future dealings with Weapons Licensing”

The most telling part of this apparent script is the implied consequence for the farmer or occupational shooter receiving the special attention:

“Please keep in mind that any rejection will need to be declared in future dealings with Weapons Licensing is it [sic: it is] a question on most forms used by Weapons Licensing.”

You sent the Queensland Police a form and some money.  You’re trying to work livestock or dispatch pests in pretty difficult conditions.  A policeman phones you and says “Thanks for your time today.”  And after some waffle he indicates they won’t be “supporting” the renewal of your existing license.  Then he tells you that you can withdraw your application and dispose of your pistol(s).  Or you continue your application for renewal and very likely face formal refusal.  He tells you to keep in mind that you’ll have to deal with us again.  It sounds like they’re saying: we’re in a position of power over you and we will remember this.

Why no public release?

When documents like the apparent proposal and script above are released, they are normally put on the online Disclosure Log for anyone to access.  They don’t seem to contain anything confidential or personal.  At the time of publication, they weren’t available online in the Disclosure Log (see application RTI/18362).

Police comment invited

On Monday we invited the Queensland Police Service to comment on a draft of this post by close of business Thursday 13 October 2016.  We have received none.

Article Written by A. Stanway – www.Firearmownersunited.com

Category H, Farmers & the Humane Euthanization of Animals

Working livestock on a large property can be a hard way to make a living.  Thick scrub, rough terrain, long distances and wandering animals (wanted and unwanted) are a reality of life.  Often enough, farmers, pest controllers and animal handlers need a compact, light, reliable repeating firearm to deal with the challenges of sick livestock and packs of feral pests.

You’re quickly dismounting from a quad, a bike or a horse.  Drawing a pistol will be quick during the narrow window of opportunity to act.  This beats trying to ready a long arm, which would take crucial additional seconds or minutes, by which time the opportunity for action has passed.

Recent reports indicate that the Queensland Police Service Weapons Licensing Branch (the Branch) has decided to refuse a number of applications and renewals for primary producers to use pistols to do their job.

This has been disruptive to law-abiding shooters who already owned pistols for destroying livestock or pest animals in what are often challenging circumstances.  The Queensland Tribunal that hears appeals against Branch decisions has found pistols to be perfectly suitable where the circumstances of the farm require them (see Harm v Queensland Police Service [2010] QCAT 518).

What the ‘Firearm Police’ say

In recent correspondence, the Branch has claimed that a CSIRO-published report and recommendations on feral pest destruction does not support the use of pistols in pest destruction.  Appendix 2 to the CSIRO report lists various rifle ammunition and does not mention pistols or pistol ammunition.

Relying on the little that the CSIRO report had to say, one member of the Branch recently wrote:“[this] make[s] it virtually impossible to justify the use of concealable firearms to kill animals.”

This same claim was also made by the Branch a couple of years ago in a Tribunal appeal.  Tribunal Member Howard considered this and wrote (in Shaxson v Queensland Police Service, Weapons Licensing Branch [2014] QCAT 309):

“Another document [offered by the Branch] entitled Model Practice for the “Welfare of Animals Feral Livestock Animals” published by the Standing Committee on Agriculture, Animal and Health Committee, SCARM Report 34, provides some potentially inconsistent information about humane destruction. It variously describes shooting as the most humane method of killing and refers to use of a pistol (although it seems only for recumbent animals), but later, sets out a schedule for firearms apparently recommended for various types of feral animals (these appear to be mainly, if not all, rifles and shotguns) …

The information provided in … Report 34 is general and untested. Therefore, I am wary of placing undue weight on it. […] although it appears to have some internal inconsistency does not deal with feral dogs particularly, and generally seems to support use of rifles and shotguns in management of feral animals.”

The Report claims that “The following schedule of firearms and ammunition has been prepared after consultation with State/Territory officers experienced in feral animal control”.  It then lists ammunitions for rifles and shotguns.

On 7 July, I wrote to a long standing, PhD-qualified member of the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI), who I understand was involved in the preparation of these recommendations.  I asked him what this consultation involved.  I’ve received no response.

On 8 August, the CSIRO wrote back to me about my Freedom of Information (FOI) request for all documents relevant to the consultation.  They advised: “Despite an extensive search, CSIRO has been unable to locate any document relevant to your request.”

“Impossible to justify the use of concealable firearms to kills animals”

On 19 December 2015, the police from the Stanthorpe Station and the local RSPCA attended a wallaby who’d been hit by a car and had a smashed leg.  They weren’t taking statement from the wallaby.  The policeman, a firearms instructor, fired six times to euthanise the macropod.

Senior Sergeant Mark Ireland said “it was fairly common for police to be called out to assist wildlife carers.”

The Police are well prepared.  Documents obtained under the Queensland Right To Information (RTI) Act reveal that in October 2000, the Police and the Queensland DPI tested the Police service pistol at“distances ranging from 2 to 7 meters” against “actual cattle heads obtained from a local abattoir”.  The documents tell us:

Inevitably police officers encounter situations where livestock are injured or maimed to the extent that they humanely destroyed. […]

The trial is to provide QPS with informed and tested technical information regarding humane destruction of livestock using the standard issue Glock 22 .40 Calibre. […]

You can imagine the expert heads nodding in unison at this paragraph:

“This projectile has mushroomed exceptionally well with the metal jacket peeling back to the gullet base resulting in increased diameter of the projectile on exit. This is a very desirable characteristic for a projectile for humane destruction purposes.”

It turns out that pistols are convenient tools in humanely destroying animals.  So useful, in fact, that the Queensland Police sanction the use of pistols by their members for this purpose.

Three questions for the Firearm Police

  1. Is it possible that the codes of animal welfare are really more concerned with a humane destruction of an animal than with the barrel length of the firearm used to do it?
  2. If codes of animal welfare mean it is “virtually impossible” to justify using pistols to humane destroy animals: why do the Police do it so frequently given they have modern 5.56mm rifles at their disposal?
  3. Is it possible that pistols can be very convenient and that quick, multiple shots are OK to ensure suffering animals are humanely destroyed?
Article Written by A Stanway. Article first appeared on www.firearmownersunited.com. Click here to see original article.