Farm­ers with firearms tar­geted again

North East & Goulburn Murray Farmer - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

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