Do you want a Police state? Because this is how you get one.
Great work from the Combined Firearms Council of Victoria has shone the light on Victoria Police stepping way outside of their job description with new firearm law proposals.
Victoria Police, specifically through Deputy Commissioner Shane Patton, appear to have taken it upon themselves to be the gatekeepers of changes to the Firearms Act, advising the changes to Daniel Andrews and Police Minister Lisa Neville who have accepted them in-principle until after the next Victorian election. This is after we were previously told that all that was changing was “no addresses on licences.”
As usual, firearm owners and groups were not at all consulted throughout the process and Victoria Police and Labor have kept the changes secret. Neville has continued the trend and gone out of her way since the Adler reclassification to not consult with firearm groups. All this from a Victorian Labor government that is all about “human rights, diversity and tolerance” of minority groups except when it comes to firearm owners. Hypocrisy.
It also highlights that the social engineers at the Department of Justice were involved again – another group of unaccountable bureaucrats who have a proven track record of being anti-firearm. The same Department who are quite frankly, a laughing stock, in terms of Victoria’s soft response to it’s current violent crime wave.
The synopsis of the changes:
The recommendations are listed below. They were agreed by Cabinet, which decided to defer them until after the 2018 Victorian State Election, “so as not to alienate shooters”. The recommendations are to:
- Disarm most cash-in-transit security guards– Cabinet has agreed to remove firearms from plain clothed security guards carrying cash and other valuables, who make up 80-90 percent of the cash-in transit industry. This will threaten the safety of those guards, and the viability of the businesses who supply the equipment they use. (If relevant industry bodies want to stop this from happening, then they need to get political. They can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how);
- Greater search and seizure powers– (in addition to the Firearm Prohibition Orders which we already know about), these powers will extend to allowing police to check your firearm storage at any time of day or night, without any warning or a warrant;
- The right to reclassify any firearm – Cabinet agreed with police that they – not parliament – should be able to reclassify any firearm, for any reason, and without the right of appeal.
- The abolition of the Firearms Appeal Committee –this will remove the ability of shooters to appeal decisions made by Victoria Police (for example, something relating to licence applications) to the Firearms Appeals Committee. This means shooters will need to take the more expensive option of hiring lawyers to take their matters to VCAT or court; and
- Increased penalties for firearm offences and changing what constitutes trafficking firearms.The issue of what constitutes trafficking has already appeared in the Firearms Amendment Bill (currently before parliament), but not the ‘increased penalties’. Cabinet agreed to increase the penalties for minor transgressions of the law, such as leaving a couple of 22s rolling around the floor of the ute.”
To sum up, it’s essentially warrantless searches, dictatorial reclassification powers, while removing the right to appeal. If that doesn’t say police state, then I don’t know what does. It seems to be an increasing theme in the state of Victoria in recent months, with Daniel Andrews’ recent statements regarding freedoms and indefinite detention legislation being passed among other things.
Disarming the security industry is insane. Sure, there are plenty of bad eggs in the security industry but the time-honoured principle of collectivist punishment in Australian law-making holds again here – punish the entire industry for the actions of one bad operator. This has come about from the direct result of Victoria Police Licencing and Regulation Division not doing their due diligence over the Toni “Two Guns” scandal.
This move will put many cash-in-transit operators out of work by driving up their overheads and insurance premiums and put the guards at increased risk by making them a soft target. In a state where violent crime is getting worse, this is nuts. Ask the jewellery industry.
Further, this behaviour is on par with WA Police attempting to exempt themselves from the recent transportation saga, where they lost their own firearms and then used it as an excuse to implement back door gun control methods on every firearm owner in WA by strangling transportation. Fortunately, it appears WA Police have recently come back to common sense.
While opinions differ on the Firearms Appeals Committee, removing basic access to the right to appeal and force firearm owners to go to court to overturn a decision is a sneaky move, designed to price out most gun owners from having to hire a lawyer to defend a cancellation action by Victoria Police. But who needs rights, right?
And as for reclassification, the Chief Commissioner already unnecessarily has these powers and has repeatedly made decisions that baffle the mind, with the Riverman OAF the latest casualty. God forbid Assistant Commissioner Steve Fontana ever gets that sole responsibility.
And then there are the proposed Firearm Prohibition Orders which is a whole different story.
If Labor and Victoria Police are going to be belligerent and unreasonable towards firearm owners while shutting them out then to be honest, there’s no obligation on firearm owners to take their opinions seriously or comply with legislation that is blatantly authoritarian in nature. If Shane Patton and Lisa Neville had a sense of professionalism, they would have put Victoria Police’s firearm proposals up for public debate instead of being quite frankly, gutless, and doing deals behind the community’s back.
Police don’t make the law – their job is to enforce it, otherwise, simply put your positions up for public vote. VicPol, who aren’t helped at all by a weak Victorian judiciary, recently did some good work stopping another attempted mass casualty attack last week, but they’ve undone themselves with this move.
Furthermore, all this kind of authoritarian attitude towards the 250,000 and growing firearm owners in the state of Victoria does is foster more distrust of the Police and encourage non-compliance. If VicPol and Labor can’t get the crime wave under control then there’s little hope of them being able to enforce these changes and are indeed, making things worse.
And as for Labor, we hope they saw what happened in Queensland, where they hung on by the skin of their teeth with the lowest primary vote for major parties since 1907 and Victorian Labor were recently defeated by the Greens in Northcote for the first time since the 1920’s.
There’s a long time between now and November 2018.