Media Release:8 July 2018
Gun Control Australia is calling for a revamp of licensing requirements for shooters involved in family law disputes
Gun Control Australia (GCA) is calling for the implementation of robust new family law firearm safety checks to better protect women and children from gun violence.
The call comes after the recent horrific shooting of two teenagers in West Pennant Hills.
The family law firearm safety checks would be compulsory and required to be undertaken once a custody proceeding has been lodged in the Family Court. The checks would include:
- Firearm Licence Review, and
- Spousal notification for all new applications for a firearm licence and permits to acquire a firearm application
Firearm Licence Review
The Firearm Licence Review (FLR) would require police to check if any party to the family court proceedings has a gun licence and if so, if there is any concern for the safety for the firearm licence holder, their immediate family or the public. The police would have the power to suspend or revoke a licence or not issue a permit.
Spousal notification would require police to notify the spouse/ partner who is a party to family law custody proceedings when the other party has a gun licence or has made an application for a firearm licence or an application to obtain a permit to acquire a licence. The notification would then allow the spouse/partner to object to the continuation of the licence or the application on the grounds of concerns for personal safety to himself, herself or others.
Samantha Lee, Director of GCA states, “Current gun laws fail to adequately to protect women and children from gun violence because the law requires an AVO to be in place or a charge for a criminal offence before a firearm may be revoked or suspend. By then, it may be to late to save a life.”
“What GCA wants to see happen is a more pro-active approach which gives woman a voice in the gun licence continuation, application or acquisition.”
System failed to review Mr Edwards’ gun licence and ownership.
GCA has various concerns about the monitoring of Mr John Edwards’ gun licence and ownership. These concerns include:
- Mr Edwards legally owned several firearms. He would have lodged a separate Permit to Acquire (PTA) for each firearm. He would have needed to specify a legitimate reason for wanting each firearm along with a good reason for acquiring additional firearms. (s. 31 Firearms Act 1996). It is impossible to see he had a good reason.
- He had to declare he could satisfy the safe-keeping of all firearms. Did anyone check his storage requirements?
- For a high-powered handgun he had to obtain a written statement by the relevant shooting club secretary or relevant office holder to obtain the PTA and the licence. He clearly deceived that person.
- A club must suspend or cancel membership if the member fails to meet club requirements.
- Having had two kinds of pistols he was required to participate in a minimum of 8 shooting activities during a compliance period. Did he meet these minimum shooting requirements in order to qualify for a high powered pistol licence?
- The pistol club requires a character reference before allowing membership. Did this occur?