New guns laws proposed
THE Victorian Government is trying to change gun laws again, this time with the introduction of the Firearms and Other Acts Amendment Bill 2021 to Parliament last week.
Though the details are not yet known, the Bill proposes a number of amendments to the Firearms Act 1996, including changes that Minister for Police Lisa Neville said “will reduce the incidence of firearm thefts, enhance firearms storage requirements and tighten regulatory standards for when licensed dealers hire, loan, send and dispose of firearms”.
The details of the Bill have not yet been released, however, due to past changes, firearms licensees are wary as they feel they have been burned in the past.
Though firearm theft remains an ongoing concern in rural Victoria, local farmers, hunters and shooters are concerned this move will mean even more responsibility and potential legal punishments given to owners and users, as opposed to focusing on police work and criminals.
Tim Quilty (MLC, Northern Victoria) spoke to the Mansfield Courier last week and said he could understand how locals felt.
“The minister would probably be able to spend time more profitably by reviewing the Licensing and Regulations Division of VicPol, than by making law-abiding firearms owners’ lives more difficult,” he said.
“I have always been the first to speak out when changes to legislation cause problems for law-abiding firearms owners.
“They are easy scapegoats for the government to pick on when they wish to appear to be doing something to tackle crime.
“However, licensed owners are responsible and acutely aware of the responsibilities they have.”BBut he was also quick to point out the contents of the Bill are not even known yet.
“A copy of the Bill hasn’t been released yet, so we’re relying on the minister’s press release, but the Bill has begun its passage through the Lower House and by the time it gets to the Upper House we should have had the opportunity to see what is actually in it.
“I will be examining its contents thoroughly and will definitely raise objections if we think it is unfairly attacking firearms owners.”
The press release said the proposed changes will ‘ensure appropriate regulations are in place to prevent misuse within the community’.
“It’s crucial that our firearm laws safeguard the use of firearms by responsible, law-abiding owners and allow for strict controls and safety measures that reduce risks to the community and minimise harm from deliberate or accidental misuse of guns,” Ms Neville said.
“These changes will ensure Victoria Police have the powers they need to keep the Victorian community safe while ensuring our justice system can continue to respond and adapt during times of emergency.”