GCA have hit full panic mode in relation to the Will Hodgman government’s proposed changes to the Firearm Act in Tasmania. From the Mercury:
“ANTI-firearms campaigners are taking Premier Will Hodgman to court in a bid to make public legal advice over planned changes to gun laws.
Gun Control Australia today announced it had launched proceedings in the Supreme Court to review the State Government’s refusal to release the legal advice on the grounds it was not in the public interest. Spokesman Roland Browne said the case listed the Supreme Court on June 18.
“In late February 2018, the Government released a firearms policy which proposed to move Tasmania away from the 1996 National Firearms Agreement,” he said.
“The Premier said at the time he had advice from his Police Minister that the policy did not contravene the National Firearms Agreement. Under the Right to Information Act, Gun Control Australia Inc. sought release of the advice referred to by the Premier.
“The Premier by his delegate refused release of the information. He concluded that ‘it would be contrary to the public interest to release’ the information sought.”
It was revealed shortly before the March state election that the Government was considering changes to gun laws that would give farmers greater access to Category C firearms such as semiautomatic rifles, self-loading rifles and pump-action shotguns, and increase the duration of some licences to 10 years.
Premier Will Hodgman said the Government would not introduce changes to the law that were outside the National Firearms Agreement and the legal advice indicated the plans did not breach the deal.
“Changes to our firearms laws have occurred in the past including as recently as last year when we strengthened them, so they can be changed. It needs to happen within the context of the NFA,” he said.
“Our aim and our objective here is to ensure that people who lawfully use firearms — they might be a farmer needing to protect their crops, it could be a recreational shooter — are able to do so safely and not in endanger any Tasmanians but able to use their firearms in a way that is contemporary under laws that are very strong and retain the integrity of the National Firearms Agreement.”
If this isn’t the definition of vexatious litigation then I really don’t know what is? How can you launch legal proceedings against an agreement that is non-legally binding in the first place?
Where is the money coming from for this challenge? I highly suspect Browne is doing this pro bono and it’s highly likely a phone call to Rebecca Peters’ financiers have wired funds his way.
Rene Hidding notified relevant stakeholders about the proposed changes on 9 February 2018 – the changes were already in the public domain:
It’s not much of a stretch to have acquired one of these letters or be informed about the existence thereof, considering the state’s approximately 40,000 gun owners and larger rural and farming community.
Even more embarrassing to Gun Control Australia’s position is this from Roland Browne. Back in 2013 he “had considered joining the committee until he found out about confidentiality agreements. I wasn’t prepared to tie myself in to confidentiality clauses as an advocate for gun control, it would be a conflict of interest.”
That’s right, Browne was fully aware of and considered joining the Tasmanian Firearms Consultative Committee, which advised none other than Police Minister Rene Hidding about the current proposals.
Fast forward to 2018 and Browne claims he “had not been aware the state had a firearms consultation group before the letter surfaced. He said the group was not mentioned in the state’s gun laws.”
Some of the people, some of the time Roland.