Right after a Victoria Police Superintendent being charged with illegal possession of firearms comes this:
“The Age can reveal that an audit of nearly 1000 firearms – conducted by the police’s Licensing and Regulation Division – discovered 81 guns could not be accounted for.
The findings of the audit came to light after firearms dealer Ross Barlow lodged a complaint with Professional Standards Command alleging dozens of his guns had gone missing after they were seized by police in 2014 when his licence was revoked. An internal review of his 911 guns on the registry – conducted last year by Superintendent Paul Millett and obtained under freedom of information laws – found 81 firearms “could not be identified,” the report revealed.
Mr Barlow claims the guns went missing after the police seized them, but Victoria Police say they weren’t found on the firearms registry because Mr Barlow provided wrong or insufficient details to locate them on the database. Problems with the database suggest police may be unable to track the location of seized guns, increasing the risk they could end up on the black market, and could have difficulty tracking registered guns owned privately.
It is not the first time questions have been raised about the way guns are regulated in Victoria, adding to tensions over law-and-order ahead of this year’s state election.
Doubts over the gun registry emerged in February when The Age revealed that Melbourne security business owner Michael Sloan was in possession of 16 high-powered rifles and a double-barrelled shotgun that the database recorded as “seized” and in police possession. Mr Sloan said his guns had been returned by police after being unfairly seized but the database had not been updated, even though he had requested it.
Other security industry sources have also told The Age of separate cases in which the division had recorded wrong or out-of-date information about their guns, leading in some instances to businesses being closed down. “The matters involved in my case are just one example of registry incompetence,” Mr Barlow said.
Police, however, said it was up to registered gun dealers to maintain accurate records, and that Mr Barlow – who lost his licence following the 2014 audit after police charged him with a range of firearm offences – had failed to do so.
So nearly 10% of one individual’s firearms are unaccounted for? Well that’s $9 million a year of tax payer money well spent . It would be very interesting to see what an entire registry audit would turn up. It’s a safe bet that a similar or higher percentage of inaccurate records of the state’s nearly 800,000+ firearms would be the outcome.
And then Loony Lisa chimed in:
Police Minister Lisa Neville rejected the man’s claims and suggested he wanted “to create a story about something” because he failed to comply with his licence.
“There are some licensed dealers who are not doing the right thing, which was the case … back in 2014,” she told reporters on Wednesday.
“Victoria Police have done everything appropriately and there are no guns missing.”
Yeh nah, refer to above. About as believable as crime being down in Victoria.
This is the latest in a string of firearm registry fails in Victoria and indeed, across the country. The infamous DELWP incident where the names of 9000 gun owners was leaked via email being the largest breach in recent years.
It’s incredibly rich of Victoria Police to tell gun dealers to keep accurate records of firearm sales, when it’s abundantly clear they themselves can’t. Let’s not also forget Victoria Police and the missing 200 firearms from several years back.
Canada (although Trudeau is trying to bring it back) and New Zealand both ditched their longarms registries and the sky hasn’t fallen in either of those two countries.
Registration has got to go. It also serves no purpose but to jeopardise the safety of gun owners by creating a centralised database for criminals to take advantage of, and does nothing of any value. If Police can’t run it responsibly then no-one can.
Get rid of it and end this 22-year old public safety charade.