Civilian staff to work alongside police in efforts to solve backlog of Queensland firearm permits

Qualified civilian staff and non-commissioned police officers will soon be able to function as Authorised Officers at Queensland’s Weapons Licensing Branch (WLB), hopefully reducing the lengthy processing times for gun licences and PTAs in the state.

Following a legislation change supported by Shooters Union, the Firearms Dealers Association of Queensland (FDAQ), SSAA Queensland and Katter’s Australian Party, the Weapons Act 1990 has been amended to allow a wider range of WLB staff to exercise Authorised Officer decision-making powers, in particular for deciding licence applications and permits to acquire.

Despite about approximately 40 extra staff joining Weapons Licensing Branch in recent months, as well as staff working additional shifts, licence and PTA processing times were still quite lengthy – averaging six months for licences and 42 days for PTAs, partly due to a bottleneck at the approval stage.

Under the Weapons Act 1990, only the Queensland Police Commissioner, a Queensland Police Service executive officer or commissioned Queensland Police officer could be an Authorised Officer, with the power to approve licence or PTA applications and the like.

The delays were causing significant issues, not just for recreational shooters and hunters, but also gun dealers, with FDAQ representatives stating their members had literally millions of dollars in stock filling up their storerooms waiting for purchasers to be issued their PTAs.

Shooters Union, the FDAQ and SSAA Queensland all made a number of representations to WLB and Government about getting the situation rectified, while Katter’s Australian Party MPs Shane Knuth and Robbie Katter even raised the matter officially in parliament at least twice.

The legislative changes now mean appropriately qualified civilian personnel and rank-and-file police officers can be given Authorised Officer powers under the Act, which should hopefully reduce the processing bottlenecks and backlogs.

Police Minister Mark Ryan has confirmed there are currently 10 civilian or non-commissioned police staff at Weapons Licensing Branch who have the necessary skills and/or experience to be empowered as Authorised Officers under the amended legislation.

The Bill is currently awaiting Royal Assent (which is a formality, but can take up to two weeks) before it can be enacted as law; we hope a reduction in processing times follows very shortly afterwards.




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Royce Wilson

Royce is something rare in Australia: A journalist who really likes guns. He has been interested in firearms as long as he can remember, and is particularly interested in military and police firearms from the 19th Century to the present. In addition to historical and collectible firearms, he is also a keen video gamer and has written for several major newspapers and websites on that subject.