Firearms Lawyer Simon Munslow answers your legal questions.

Q&A: Police want letter


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43 shares, 35 points

Question:

A friend of mine gave me a rifle as a gift after I did him a favour, and we have since fallen out.

I am in Queensland and he is in NSW. The gun is currently held at a local Police station in Queensland. Police are only holding it in storage until the “registered owner” writes a letter advising that he has given me the gun, and the transfer goes through.

I have been told that this is necessary because the firearm is being transferred from a NSW license/registration to Queensland, even though he has already signed the Permit to Acquire (PTA).

 

I am assuming that the former friend will not write the letter. Irrespective of the answer to this, the Police have no need, and indeed no right to request such a letter.

There is nothing in the legislation that requires that the Police investigate the ownership of a firearm. To register it, all they need is the completed PTA.

Firearms Registration is not like a land titles system. The Register does not record ownership, all it does is to seek to link a firearm to a licensed shooter who possesses that firearm, together with its usual place of storage, so that the firearm can be tracked and located throughout its ‘life’.

I suggest you call the Firearms Registry, explain the facts to them, and then get their details so that you can refer the Police concerned to them.

There is one other matter of concern here.

Movement of firearms between states and territories should be handled by a dealer or club armourer in one state to a dealer or club armourer in another.

This process ensures that an appropriate acquittal process takes place with the firearm being taken off the books in one state and being logged onto the books in another state.

If you do not do this, the likely result is that the firearm shall be registered in Queensland, but may not be taken off the books in NSW, with the result that you have created another ‘lost’ firearm on the state books, fueling speculation about ‘lost’ firearms.

I suspect that the majority of registered firearms that are ‘missing’, are paper losses created in this manner.

I understand that following my advice, you contacted the Queensland Registry, and they were able to clarify matters with local Police.

Simon Munslow

ANY FIREARMS LAW QUESTIONS- please write to me. solicitor@bigpond.com


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