Farmers with firearms targeted again
THOUSANDS of firearm licence holders may have been charged incorrectly over two decades, an internal review by Victoria Police has found.
Northern Victoria MLC Daniel Young from the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party says it shows yet again the futility of a gun registry.
“They have shown several times now that they are incapable of keeping tight security over the information they hold,” he said.
“We would be very unhappy if anyone that overpaid was not reimbursed, or if extra costs were extracted due to their error.”
This, in the same week that the NSW Police Force Firearms Registry sent 104 gun licences to the wrong people, and only months after the Victorian game registry was accidently breached.
“They have leaked very sensitive information several times,” said Mr Young.
“This is very concerning as a firearms owner that others may have my information; including my address, storage and its contents. “All this for something that is not needed. “There is no need for registration; it does nothing for public safety or crime.”
Mansfield Hunting and Fishing’s Nick Kirley said that, “more than likely, dozens of farmers in the area would be affected” by the errors.
Victoria Police is currently attempting to contact some 2500 firearm licence holders following the audit which found it may have overcharged or undercharged gun owners a fee when they applied for, or renewed a second firearm licence.
Category C longarm licence holders are those potentially affected.
Category C licences often include firearms for farmers and clay target shooters involving semi-automatic rifles and semi-automatic and pump-action shotguns.
Superintendent Paul Millett from the Victoria Police’s Licensing and Regulation Division said the error has not resulted in anyone securing a firearm licence that they shouldn’t have.
This mistake, he said, dates back to a complicated fee structure set out in the legislation 20 years ago.
“This is a human error that has gone unnoticed for a long period of time,” Superintendent Millett said.
“It was not recognised through regular internal and external audits.
“We know that some people will absolutely be entitled to refunds.
“We will be working through this process of contacting people to notify them of the error and to determine their individual situation as quickly as possible.”
Superintendent Millett said Victoria Police would not be taking any further action with licence holders who have been undercharged.
“Victoria Police will be engaging the services of an independent forensic accountant to examine the records of affected licence holders to identify who has been undercharged, who has been overcharged and what refunds affected licence holders may be entitled to,” said a statement by Victoria Police.