The glorious state of NSSRW delivers again. Not content with being
probably the second worst state after WA for firearms laws, comes this
latest exercise in collective punishment:
“Shooters who fail to declare serious mental health issues will be weeded out and family law court proceedings taken into account when ruling on gun licence applications under the biggest-ever overhaul of NSW firearm regulations.
In a bid to stop potential “red flags” going unheeded, doctors will also be encouraged to be more proactive about reporting patients who own guns and show signs of risky behaviour.
“The changes are part of historic reforms being introduced by Superintendent Anthony Bell, who became the new boss of the NSW Firearms Registry late last year.
In his first interview in his new job, Supt Bell declared: “It’s about making sure people who shouldn’t have access to firearms don’t.”
Same old shit. Kinda like these guys who illegally imported an AR last week?
“Supt Bell, who took over the politically charged role after 25 years as an operational cop, has wasted no time addressing systemic issues around the registry, which is responsible for regulating 238,000 gun licence holders in NSW and the one million firearms they own.
Among his reforms is appointing senior adjudicators to deal with “grey area” firearm licence applications or renewals. That includes determining if a person’s mental health or family law court matters makes them unfit to own a gun.
In the past, such applications have not been treated differently to more straightforward decisions, such as mandatory refusals for those who have been subject to an AVO in the previous decade. Now they will be triaged.”
A summary of what is being proposed:
“Mental health assessment: The registry can ask for a psychological assessment from an applicant’s doctor. A senior adjudicator will then decide if the illness, be it anything from mild depression to bipolar disorder, rules a person unfit to have a gun.
The Commissioner’s Permit: Where a person’s background automatically rules them out for firearms training, the registry can grant an exception. The permit has been renamed after it was used by John Edwards to start handgun training after he was knocked back from several gun clubs. The old title gave the illusion the permit was signed off by the police commissioner himself, rather than registry staff.
Doctors reporting: While doctors can already report patients’ risky behaviour, police claim they rarely do. Supt Bell said: “What you were when you presented as a new gun customer and had no issues can change, as lives and circumstances do.”
Database: The registry is considering a database so gun clubs can report people trying to get licences for the wrong reasons. Supt Bell said: “If we had a system that said ‘Tony Bell went here, here and here and was turned away’, wouldn’t we want that?”
Family law: National working groups of firearm experts, law enforcement and legal minds are seeking ways to make sure police know about Family Court orders.”
The usual paid for propaganda by the Daily Telegraph, who have been running interference for NSW Police on the John Edwards incident since day one.
Firstly, no plan as to how any of this is to be implemented or costed. We know how state governments all roll when it comes to projected finances.
One only has to look at the MyHealth Record fiasco to know how much of a disaster the mental health proposal is. How are Police going to obtain private medical records from a number of private health care providers and keep that information safe, when their own registry can’t do that already? The answer is they can’t, particularly when they were mailing out licences to the wrong addresses.
Further, “mental health” is a vague term in itself. There’s a difference between a fully functioning adult with a mild bout of managed anxiety or depression, which would also realistically rule out a lot of serving Police, to a full-blown schizophrenic who likely should be institutionalised. Who defines what is a precluding condition?
The issue of domestic violence is also a grey area. It already is the law that an IVO subjects you to a 10-year exclusion period on firearms. Given that knives are clearly the choice of weapon in domestic violence incidents, it’s easy to argue that this really makes little difference. There’s also plenty of vexatious domestic violence claims made by ex-partners to have their firearms taken away – how will this be addressed?
The recent audit of the NSWFAR displayed how much of a calamity Australia’s firearm registries really are. It’s also not much of a stretch to suggest that this incident was deliberately cherry picked by NSW Police in order to advance long proposed firearm laws.
One only has to look at the AMA’s website to see the similarities in what is being proposed. It’s not hard to suggest that these laws have also long been in the works and they have been waiting for an excuse – the Edwards case provides them with that.
Just another example to show that there’s no such thing as “knee jerk” gun laws. What is being proposed, as per the red flag laws in the US, is teetering on the edge of Minority Report.
Finally, enhanced reporting means very little if no Police action is going to be taken. This is exactly what happened with the John Edwards case and then NSW Police overrode that and gave him a licence anyway.
NSW’s gun laws don’t need to get tighter. NSW Police need to change their attitude as to how they deal with firearm owners and the registry needs to go completely, as it’s a proven ineffective waste of tax payer money.
Cases in point: David Dunstan, Brad Towner, Gel Blasters and the rest.