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Tag Archives: 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: Licence Update

We continue our fight to restore the rights of Queensland farmers, who face being treated like criminals just for doing their jobs.

Earlier this year Shooters Union became aware of a change in the treatment of farmers applying for renewals to their Category H (handgun) licences, which are used in primary industry. These are mostly for the humane destruction of feral animals or stock, particularly where carrying a rifle is not practical or safe. We were told at the time there had been no changes in the treatment of these applications but then, in May, the Police Minister let the cat out of the bag: the state government are opposed to farmers using handguns to do their job.

Why does this matter?

Shooters Union supports sensible laws for the licensing, storage and usage of firearms, and an effective ban on handguns for farmers is far from sensible. Most farmers need a firearm to do their job, and many of those need a handgun to address specific physical, environmental or safety factors. If the government wishes to change the rules, they should take it to Parliament for debate, not sneak it in through the back door.

Let’s look at the Minister’s arguments:

“A rifle is the preferred weapon to be used for the destruction of sick or injured beast.

Common sense tells us the calibre of firearm is the most important factor, not its length. Indeed, at close range a low velocity large calibre is far safer, and this is best done with a hand gun. In many cases, it is impractical or unsafe to carry a rifle (e.g. climbing into a stock truck).

“Since 2000, in excess of 800 handguns have either been lost or stolen in Queensland.

Less than 20 handguns are stolen each year, according to the government’s own statistics. Agricultural properties account for less than 10 per cent of all victims. There is no evidence theft from farms is the source of many stolen handguns, if any at all.

“There are many applications out there which are dubious or have question marks about them.”

There is no evidence to suggest there have been applications that have not met the regulatory requirements, and the suggestion otherwise is a slur on hardworking farmers. If farmers need guidance jumping through the many hoops of the licensing system, the government should be helping them, not labeling them as criminals.

“There are states such as New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania who have quite sophisticated grazing enterprises and there are no such licences in any of those jurisdictions.”

False. Farmers in other states do have access to handguns where required. More importantly, Queensland farmers have been operating responsibly, safely and effectively under rules unchanged for the past 20 years. Now, after decades without issue, these rules have been changed without consultation.

It is disappointing that decisions that affect the working conditions of Queensland farmers have been made without consulting farmers or their representatives. It is even more galling these changes are based on ‘concerns’, not facts.

Show the government you support a fair go for farmers. Contact your local member to tell them farmers should not be tied up in red tape, just to do their job.

You can find their contact details on our website here.

We will keep you updated on this important issue.