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No.27 - September 2005

AMENDMENTS TO THE FIREARMS ACT

In June the Government released the Firearms Discussion Paper to which the Guild sbumitted a response arguing for specific changes to the Act to correct the many problems inflicted on collectors when the Act was hastily amended following the Monash University shooting incident in 2002.

What We Wanted

1. Removal of the requirement to register antique percussion pistols with the police and replaced by a system of collector maintained registers as was the case before the Act was amended in 1984.

2. Removal of the requirement for back-to-base monitored alarms.

3. A complete revision of the current Permit to Acquire (PTA) process.

4. Revision of the current situation where Category 1 and Category 2 Collectors' Licences are subject to seperate fees unlike the situation with A and B Shooters' Licences.


What We Have Got

1. The requirement for back-to-base monitored alarms has been removed entirely, and replaced with a requirement for an 'effective' alarm.

2. All single-shot antique percussion pistols have been exempted from registration.

3. Antique percussion multi-shot pistols and revolvers will still require to be licensed. But a new licence is to be created called the Antique Handgun Collectors Licence. This, we are advised, is to have relaxed conditions attached encompassing acquisition, disposal and no need for display permits, no requirement for fingerprinting and no "effective" alarm requirement unless 15 or more pistols are owned unlike the old requirement which required the back-to-base monitored alarm if 6 or more firearms were on the premises even if only 1 was held on a collectors licence. The exact nature of the conditions is undecided at present and will be decided in the regulatory review.

4. Permits to Acquire are being re-examined across the spectrum, especially in regard to cost, conditions and need. This also is a matter to be referred to the regulatory review.

5. The matter of seperate costs etc. for Category 1 and Category 2 Collectors Licences is also to be examined as part of the regulatory review.

6. Investment has been reinstated as a condition on a Collectors Licence.

Matters that will need clarification

There are areas in the changes that will need clarification, but there are part of the regulatory rather than the legislative stage of the process. The Guild will be closely monitoring these and we will keep you informed.

1. As the Category 1 Collectors Licence originally covered percussion pistols manufactured prior to 1900 which are now covered by the new Antique Handgun Collectors Licence; this licence should be issued free of charge to people who already hold a Category 1 licence because it has already been paid for. There is no need for police checks, so charging people again would be unacceptable.

Do not apply for this licnece yet as the required bureacratic process are still not defined. The Guild will advise you when and how once we know.

2. People applying for the Antique Handgun Collectors Licence who have not previously held any Collectors Licence should be charged a reduced fee. Police checks will be minimal and fingerprinting is not required.

3. Records pertaining to all previously registered pre-1900 single-shot antique pistols should be deleted from the Registry database as no legal reason exists for their registration. Either the Registry should cull its records unprompted or collectors will be able to directly request this be done.

The Guild will advise you of the procedure once we know.

4. In the Firearms Discussion Paper we were informed that the Government would seek ways by which the acquisition and disposal of antiques would be made simpler but there is no mention of this int he amendments. We suggest that this be done by removing the PTA requirement and that Registry rely upon the Dealer's Monthly Return to acquire this data.

SUMMARY

The removal of the requirement for back-to-base monitored alarms is a major success. The exemption of single-shot antique percussion pistols is also welcome. The new Antique Handgun Collectors Licence for multi-shot antique percussion pistols and revolvers, while not a perfect solution, is a big step forward especially if the regulations covering acquisition and disposal are relaxed.

Of further importance is that there will be consultation during the drafting of the new regulations and this is the time when matters like the unnecessary complexity of PTAs and the seperate charges for Category 1 and Category 2 Licences can be addressed.

PLEASE REMEMBER THAT WE WILL KEEP YOU INFORMED

Editor for Caps & Flints still needed

We are still asking for expressions of interest from people interested in taking on the job of editor of Caps & Flints. Currently we have appointed a sub-committee to examine the matters of format and cost so that when we resume publication it will be as informative and interested as ever - but we need an editor.

Replies have been a bit thing so again we ask if there is one of our members who would like to take on this challenging job.

Please send you expressions of interest to the Secretary PO BOx 2976, Cheltenham, 3192.

Change of Address

Just a gentle reminder that the Guild's new postal address is PO BOX 2976, Cheltenham, 3192 and the phone number is 9584 2907.

We would like to close down the old PO Box and stop paying onforwarding charges - money which is better spent on other things.


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