Firearms dealer hit with criminal charges over paperwork error

Our collective hopes of getting through an entire week without more anti-firearms nonsense from Western Australia have once again been thwarted, after police there laid criminal charges against a dealer for a paperwork error, unlawfully demanded fingerprints and DNA samples, and then dropped the charges and had to pay legal costs.

The Western Australian Firearms Traders Association (WAFTA) has reported that a mere clerical error landed one of its members in strife with the authorities – with potentially serious consequences.

WAFTA say the un-named dealer assisted the state’s police, WAPOL, with correcting the error in a monthly firearms return, and received a criminal charge relating to the error under the Firearms Act 1974 for their trouble.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, WAPOL demanded fingerprints and DNA samples from the dealer as part of this, because apparently messing up your monthly dealer return paperwork puts someone in the same class as major-league criminals.

WAFTA engaged the services of law firm Mortlock, Ryan & Co to assist, and they were able to establish WAPOL’s request for fingerprints and DNA was not lawful. 

The charges were subsequently dropped and – this is notable – costs were awarded to the dealer, meaning WAPOL has to pay for the dealer’s lawyers, legal expenses and so on.

While this is very much a ‘win’ for the dealer (and rightly so), it’s yet another example of the WA government’s “we hate guns and nearly everyone tangentially associated with them outside defence or police” attitude – and its persistence in pushing that angle at seemingly every opportunity.

It’s also hard not to wonder at the waste of police time and resources, not to mention taxpayer money involved in trying to prosecute someone over what appears to have been an easily fixed paperwork error.

We are very glad this matter seems to have been sorted out, and in favour of the dealer – but we’d be even happier if this sort of thing never happened in the first place.




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Graham Park

Graham is the President of Shooters Union Australia and is also a keen lover of all things that go bang. With over 40  years of experience in the firearms community and industry, Graham is well placed to share information on a wide variety of firearm related issues. He runs a cattle property and is also a well published writer, with an Australian best-selling book (health related) and many, many published articles in Australian and international media.