Minister Has Power To Reduce Licence Backlog
The Council of Licenced Firearms Owners (COLFO) has released correspondence to the Minister of Police that shows she has the power to reduce the backlog of firearms licence applications under the Arms Amendment Act.
In December 2020 there was a backlog of over 10,000 new applications and renewals of firearms licences outstanding. Delays to licence applications will mean firearms owners miss out on this year’s duck hunting season.
COLFO Chairman Michael Dowling says:
“Some of our members have waited more than six months to have their licence approved. Police have backdated some of these licences to the date of renewal, even though the applicant was considered unlicensed during that time.
“Licence delays are frustrating our community, and resulting in further paperwork and administrative delays for poorly-resourced Police.
“This issue can be fixed using the Minister’s power to regulate for the issue, renewal and replacement of permits and licences.”
Dowling says that the Covid-19 lockdowns set a precedent that should be revisited to get on top of the backlog.
“In March last year the government recognised that lockdown would delay firearm applications. It made sure that existing licence-holders would not be penalised if their licence lapsed during that time.
“The Arms Amendment Act grants the Minister of Police the unilateral power to regulate for the issue, renewal and replacement of permits and licences. She has the power to let Police catch up on the backlog and grant the firearms owning community certainty ahead of the hunting season.”
“The solution could be a short-term measure to enable firearms to be stored safely or a longer-term solution to give licenced firearm owners relief from administrative shortcomings.”
“Poto Williams must act now for the sake of her own officers on the frontline and the law-abiding licenced firearm-owning community.”
Correspondence from COLFO to Minister Williams that outlines the legal route to alleviate the licence backlog is available here.