No.22 - September 2004


Federal Election and arms collectors

The Guild has always been a non-political organization. We believe that we will obtain the best outcomes for our memnbers if we deal without fear or favour with whichever political party forms the government of the day. It is a principle that has stood us in good stead for many years.

Unfortunately the debate over the registration of antique percussion pistols in Victoria has forced us to adopt measure involving intensive political lobbying to advance the fight on behalf of our members. Your committee is mindful that this activity must be undertaken in a balanced and honest fashion and that if it is mishandled it can result in serious harm to our cause.

As you are aware 3 states, NSW, ACT and WA have adopted legislation which does not require the registration of antique percussion pistols. This victory for common sense was a rebuttal of a clause in the December 2002 Council of Australian Governments (COAG) agreement which required that these antiques be registered. The Guild has been using the action of NSW, ACT and WA as the precedent by which the Victorian Government could reverse its decision to register these pistols.

Accordingly we have been lobbying the Federal Government to advise the Victorian Goverrnment in writing that if they were to take action then their portion of the pistol buyback funding would not be jeopardised. We have been advised by the Victorian Government that if they received this assurance then they would amend the legislation to remove the registration requirement.

In a letter from the Federal Minister for Justice and Customs, Senator Chris Ellison, received by the Guild on the 7th September the Minister has refused to provide this assurance and furthermore has stated that he will bring pressure to bear on the governments of NSW, ACT and WA to amend their legislation so that only antique single-shot percussion pistols are exempt.

It is not the prerogative of the Guild to tell its members for whom they should vote, but in this issue we suggest that you ascertain what each candidate in your electorate feels about the registration of antique pistols and then take this into consideration when you vote. However we must also tell you that two Federal Liberal Party members, Greg Hunt and David Hawker, have persistently lobbied the Minister on our behalf, and that the National Party has also proved sympathetic, while at the state political level a number of ALP politicians have also supported us.

This is a complex issue which appears to transcend established party lines. We suggest that if you feel deeply about the issue then approach the candidates in your electorate and find out how they thing.

Extension of Amnesty until mind-2005

The amnesty applying to the registration of previously exempt pre-1900 percussion pistols and pistols that accept obsolete or commercially unavailable cartridge ammunition, such as pinfire, patent ammunition and rimfire othre than .22 has been extended until mid-2005.

Please take head of this and continue to refrain from registering percussion pistols as the Guild is still fighting to overturn this silly, damaging and unnecessary legislation.

Allocation of Serial Numbers

Some Guild members have received letters from Licensing Services Branch informing them that pistols registered by them which do not have serial numbers (a common feature of many single-shot percussion pistols) have been allocated a serial number by LSB. This letter then says that this number is to be stamped on the pistol or the owner may apply to have a plastic tag bearing that serial number issued to them which is to be attached to the pistol.

LSB is acting according to the law in requiring that if a firearm does not have a serial number they must issue it with one. But, unfortunately, the wording of the letter is such that it implies that stamping of numbers is mandatory unless the pistol is worth more than $5000. The Guild has sought legal advice on this matter and our advice is that you are entitled to seek a plastic tag regardless of the pistol's value.

This is a very important issue. When the legislation to register antique percussion pistols was introduced we recognised that many percussion pistols do not have serial numbers and that this would pose problems in the registration process.

Mindful of what happened many years ago whent he police stamped numbers of valuable antiques the Guild protested in the strongest terms that a reversion to this practice was vandalism, and could results in legal action by people whose property was being damaged, and that better means of serial number allocation must be sought. The Government and Licensing Services Branch assured us that they would seek a palatable solution and plastic tags were offered as the best solution. We accepted this and informed them that it was a happy outcoming.

The Guild has raised the wording of this letter with LSB and we are seeking a clarification. So apply for the plastic tag, and most importantly do not register antique percussion pistols until this issue is resolved in our favour, or until mid-2005. We remain confident that we will win this dispute.

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