No.23 - December 2004

Stamping of Serial Numbers on Unnumbered Pistols

When the issue of requiring the registration of antique pistols was introduced, the Guild was particularly concerned that we would see a return to the dark days of half a century ago when the police routinely disfigured fine antiques with stamped serial numbers.

Accordingly we sought assurances from the authorities that this destructive practice would not be resurrected. We were assured at Federal and State Government level, and by Registry, that stamping of antiques would not occur and that plastic serial number tags would be issued where required. Registry in particular was adamant that this would be the procedure.

What do we find is happening? Plastic tags will still be issued but Registry has hedged their issue with so many conditions that many people may consider that disfiguring an antique is an easier solution that going through all the red tape to obtain a tag.

The simple unvarnished truth is that we were promised plastic tags for antique pistols and that is what we will accept. Ridiculous arguments advanced by Registry that stamped serial numbers are required for 'forensic purposes' is nonsense as so far Registry, despite repeated requests, has failed to produce any evidence that antique percussion muzzle-loading pistols manufactured before 1900 are being used for criminal purposes. If they are not used by criminals then there is no need for 'forensic purposes'.

We must once more stress that if you have an antique percussion muzzle-loading pistol that does not have a serial number, or for that matter any unnumbered pistol in your collection that stamping of a number will damage or disfigure, then apply for the tag.

In the meantime the Guild is fighting to make sure that the authorities will actually abide by the promises they made regarding serial numbers and the issue of plastic tags.

Shooting Licences and Approved Organisations

Several members have received renewal forms for their A and B shooting licences in which there is a request for endorsement by an approved sporting club or organisation, or a copy of a current membership card. Some members have used their membership of the Guild as meeting the requirement.

Please be aware that the Guild is not a shooting organisation - our approval is as a collecting organisation.

We contacted Licensing Services Division asking them to correct the wording of this request so that the Guild is excluded from endorsement of licensing requirements for shooting. They replied:

You are correct in your assertion that there is no provision in the Firearms Act 1996 for a nominated officer of an approved firearm collector club to endorse applications for a Longarm Licence...endorsement from an approved shooting club or organisation is only required for the reason of target shooting.

They also noted that a close reading of the official guidelines provided made this point clear. So please read all forms carefully.

© Copyright 2005 The Antique and Historical Arms Collectors Guild of Victoria. All rights reserved.