TO CAP OFF A GREAT YEAR for the NSC, we’ve now received advice from Victoria Police that it has dropped plans to reclassify the C-More Competition M26 Shotgun.
We know that other registries are waiting to see what happens in Victoria on that firearm, so this may be a win in more ways than one!
Intention to reclassify
IN MARCH 2020, Victoria Police wrote to owners of the C-More seeking responses on the proposal to move the C-More from category A to category D, effectively banning it for recreational shooters.
The reason given was that it believed the gun ‘substantially duplicates a military firearm in appearance, design or function’, which you will be aware is the cornerstone of our fight against reclassification.
The advice invited comments by 1 April 2020 and in a letter sent to a Victorian owner, LRD said:
“The C-More Competition M26 was identified by LRD in 2018 as being a firearm designed for military use for breeching purposes. It is marketed in the United States of America as a breeching shotgun for the US Marine Corps and therefore its original manufacture is a military firearm. It is LRD’s opinion that the firearm appears to have been altered to meet the category A firearm definition in the Firearms Act 1996 and the National Firearms Agreement and therefore be marketed to recreational shooters.”
So, it was clear that LRD wanted to ban the Civilian C-More M26 because of its supposed connection to the version used by the US Military.
With the help of another shooter (you know who you are), the NSC complied an extensive submission that:
- Queried its interpretation of what is “a military firearm”, calling in specific attributes of the design patent;
- Queried its judgment of what the apparent “appearance, design or function” was, given the military version was a breeching gun designed with a short barrel and stand-off device and could not be modified in the same way;
- The inability to verify the qualifications of those on the Classification Review Committee;
- That Tasmania Police had recently rejected reclassification of the same gun;
- Accuracy of claims made by the LRD on the development of the civilian M26; and
- Insufficiency of the justification to reclassify the firearm.
Our submission was comprehensive and expertly research and compiled. It included correspondence from the gun’s designer in America who supported our view.
While we represented several shooters, some other owners made their own submissions as well.
Following the submissions, the NSC’s barrister wrote to the LRD in mid-2020 to seek an update on where things were at. The response we received was that:
“The report has been sent to the Office of the Chief Commissioner for actioning”
This was a serious state of affairs, as bureaucracies do not waste the time of senior management if “no decision” is sought. While this will only ever be speculation, we are inclined to think that the fact this went to the Office of the Chief Commissioner meant that there was a recommendation to reclassify the firearm.
In the meantime, the NSC had publicly taken on other reclassifications (notably in WA) and has made it clear that it has the resources, the will, and financial resources to purse bad decisions.
We were ready and keen to test our legal arguments in a court of law, but in this case the proposed reclassification didn’t get that far, because VicPol has now backed down.
No more plans to reclassify
On 28 December, the NSC received this advice after seeking an update from LRD management.
“There are currently no plans to re-categorise [the C-More Competition M26 shotgun] under the provisions of Section 3B of the Firearms Act 1996 to a category D firearm.”
Obviously, the language of that advice provides no guarantees for the future, but in the circumstances, it is a great and important result to have achieved.
Looking to NSW
As you may be aware, the WA Police reclassified the M26 in their recent gun grab, so the fact at least two states have backed down on it will make it easier for us to get the gun back into the hands of cat A owners when we fight the C-More ban there.
On Christmas Eve we learnt that NSW Police have reportedly decided to reclassify Adler and Berika straight-pull shotguns, and again the M26 sets a useful precedent in what will most likely be our next reclassification fight.
The NSC has been busy preparing for that fight and we will have more to say there shortly.
That’s why many shooters like yourself have joined the NSC – to keep our guns back in our hands. Click here to join now if you haven’t already done so. Help us to help you!