Queensland Police: COAG says NO to pistols for farmers

At a Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal hearing this week, we listened with interest as Police solicitors tabled a copy of the new National Firearms Agreement.  They were trying to take pistols off a man who has safely used pistols to destroy feral pests for a very long time.

Those Police solicitors bravely indicated that the Queensland Government had signed up to the new NFA. They indicated the Queensland Government intended to eliminate pistols for animal destruction in Queensland.  The Queensland Parliament hasn’t changed the law, but that doesn’t stop Police solicitors in crumpled suits from breathlessly huffing about COAG.

The decision is reserved.

 We’re the Police, we’d never be loose with the facts

Queensland has a long history of licensing farmers and pest controllers to use pistols to humanely destroy animals.  Pistols are light, compact and ready take advantage of what is sometimes a narrow window of opportunity or a dangerous, confined space where it’s hard to move a rifle.

Around 2013, Queensland Police Weapons Licensing Branch started to end this practice.  There was no change to the law.  There was a simple written plan to verbally pressure farmers and pest controllers into withdrawing perfectly legitimate license renewals, even though those people had been safely using pistols for decades.

We’ve previously described:

  • How Police frequently use pistols to destroy animals and Police tests confirm that pistols are highly suitable for the purpose,
  • How WLB has spoken and written to applicants, telling them that it is “impossible to justify the use of concealable firearms to kills animals” merely because some older CSIRO reports about pest destruction use the world ‘rifle’ and not ‘pistol’.

Nowadays, the CSIRO and Commonwealth and State Departments of Agriculture work together to write guidelines for humane pest destruction.  Last year, the modern version of those documents were revised to replace ‘rifle’ with ‘firearm’.

The National Wild Dog Action Plan Implementation Committee, which includes academics and State and Territory representatives, receives federal funding to plan and advise on the elimination of wild dogs.  They wrote to the Queensland Police Minister in November 2016 and pointed out that, far from being “impossible to justify”, pistols could be quite useful in pest destruction:

“Firstly, the changes justify the preference for pistols over rifles when land managers seek to improve motor bike riding safety and where the location or position of a trapped animal requires the improved site picture of a pistol for a more humane kill.  Secondly, the changes justify a larger calibre firearm for a more humane kill where the location or position of a trapped animal prohibits a clear headshot.”

Please hold.  Your call is important to us.

We asked the Queensland Police Minister about the ‘rifle’ to ‘firearm’ change on 12 November 2016 and then formally applied to Queensland Police for a copy of the letter from the Wild Dog Committee.  Here’s what happened next.

When What
5 January 2017 Minister Ryan writes back and outlines the increase in rejections of pistol applications for humane pest destruction.

Year Rejections
2016 56
2015 62
2014 44
2013 30

The Minister invites us to contact Inspector Smith at Weapons Branch for further information.

6 January 2017 We write to Inspector WLB and ask:

Have you or your officers received a copy of correspondence to the Minister from the Wild Dog Action Plan Implementation Committee (Invasive Species Ltd) dated on or about 3 November concerning the occupational use of pistols in animal destruction?

18 January 2017 Inspector WLB writes back:

I do recall receiving some material regarding the ‘wild dog action plan’.  However, whether that was from you or another person, I do not recall.

18 January 2017 We write back:

The correspondence wouldn’t have been from me. Given the correspondence was only issued last November, it can’t be too long lost in the mists of time.  I would find it informative to know whether your branch received it and any notice you gave it.

24 January 2017 Inspector WLB writes back:

I wish to advise that on reviewing your request, regarding the ‘wild dog action plan’ and my previous correspondence in which I acknowledged receiving some material on this topic, as it turns out it was your ‘Right to Information’ request for information on this topic.

From a quick google search of ‘wild dog action plan’ this information is readily available.

The below link should assist.

http://www.pestsmart.org.au/national-wild-dog-action-plan/

15 February 2017 The QPS release documents showing Inspector WLB and other uniformed members of the Weapons Branch were involved in preparing a response by the Police Minister to the Invasive Species correspondence in November 2016.

 

 

The Weapons Licensing Branch had knowledge of the correspondence to the Police Minister in November.  The correspondence seriously undermines their extreme position against the use of pistols by primary producers.  We received a response on this issue that appears to be misleading – almost like the Weapons Licensing Branch are going to lengths to pretend that the codes of practice agreed by Commonwealth and State representatives haven’t been updated to say that pistols are suitable.

Given that the National Firearms Agreement was recently updated with a view to ripping pistols off all farmers and primary producers, we have to ask ourselves: if the Police haven’t been completely upfront with us, would they have been upfront with politicians and policy-advisers who drafted the new NFA?  Given the recent comments of the Queensland Police Commissioner on Twitter, is the Queensland Police Service an anti-firearms lobby?

Ignoring the pest problem

The scale of the feral pest problem is huge and you need only take a couple of days a few hundred kilometres outside the major capital cities to find more dogs, deer, pigs, goats, camels than you can count.  Pests are destroying rural industries.  Particularly the sheep industry, where dogs are viciously calculating in the torment the impose on countless sheep:

“He was one horrible piece of work. He was a big, strong, wild dog capable of getting the bigger sheep down and surgically removing their kidneys, only their kidneys and then letting them go and the sheep would run off and eventually bleed to death,” Mr Ali said.

“But it took hours for the sheep to die. This is not normally how dogs kill and attack sheep.”

The Police and Policy-making class are utterly indifferent to the real needs of farmers.  They’re coming to take everything off you (one pistol or lever-action shotgun a time).

So is the Queensland Labour Government.  Email the Minister today and to let them know this is unacceptable and then let them know in 2018 at the ballot box.

Written by A. Stanway

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