THE NSW POLICE FIREARMS REGISTRY continues as Australia’s worst registry, after telling a licence applicant to wait ‘several months’ for an internal review process that should take only three weeks.
The registry’s ranking comes after it:
- Cancelled a shooters’ licence for no reason and without telling him why;
- Told a disabled shooter that he cannot keep his gun at his home like able bodied shooters;
- Famously suspended the firearms licence of a NSW farmer who used an unloaded 22 to apprehend a guy trying to break into his home, handing the offender to police;
- Let its police minister get off scott free after firing a fire sub-machine without a licence
The NSC already has legal actions in NCAT on the first two matters, and has now helped a shooter who was denied a fair internal review, a third one.
Right of internal review by NSW Police
NSW Police must provide a right of internal review for people who might be adversely affected by a decision of the registry.
It’s called ‘fair process’ and there is an expectation within our legal system that they will apply this properly.
Normally the registry will take at least 28 days to finish an internal review, although they are required to finish it within 21 days.
If they fail to provide an internal review within 21 days then the applicant has the right to appeal the matter to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT).
21 days? Try several months...
On 27 August, the NSC helped “ J “ lodge a request for an internal review of a decision to deny him a firearms licence for old and incorrectly reported reasons we felt were worth objecting to.
40 days later, we followed this up with an email enquiry.
That’s when we got this extraordinary reply which said nothing had been done – several footy grand finals and a new NSW Premier later.
In the same period of time, several states held footy grand finals and NSW found itself a new NSW Premier. Yet NSW Police couldn’t start an internal review.
Tardiness will force more appeals to NCAT
J would have been able to wait a bit longer if the NCAT need a bit more time. However, being told to stay in the queue for several months before the registry will even begin to look at this is far from good enough.
It’s far from fair. This response puts anyone seeking a licence or some other outcome who can seek an internal review, in limbo until well into next year.
It leaves people like J with no real option other than to launch a new action with NCAT, which will most likely deal with the matter a lot sooner.
We feel for shooters in NSW – it looks like your registry is struggling to do its job.
For the NSC, it means filing another action in NSW, which we’ve done.
In fact, we’re hoping that NCAT will have something to say about this atrocious way of managing internal reviews processes and force some kind of re-think about how NSW Police priorities its responsibilities under the NSW Firearms Act.
This is another example of why being an NSC member is a must. The NSC supports its members and our sport all day, every day, day in day out.