We are continually seeing the registry abusing its power, and this case is about as ridiculous as it gets.
Cancellations appear to happen instantly; however, issuing a licence can take many months.
The NSW Police have backed the cancellation and offered zero evidence to support their decision.
The National Shooting Council have taken up the fight and will initiate legal action with NCAT to see that this abuse of powers cannot hold up in court.
The article titled “NSW Police set new low for licence cancellation”,published on the National Shooting Council’s website, describes how in April this year, Peter Martin went to his local Norco store, which is a dairy co-op, to buy some mice bait to help deal with the plague that affected so many areas in the state.
While there, 70 year-old Glenn Innes local Peter got chatting with a friendly employee who was interested in his hobby of pistol shooting, even showing the employee his licence.
Another employee overhead the conversation. This second employee complained to Norco’s head office and then police about the interaction – even though he wasn’t actually part of the conversation.
The police interviewed the second employee – but not Peter or the employee he spoke with – before hitting him with a licence suspension notice and seizing his firearms.
The reason stated on Peter’s notice was that his having a licence was “not in the public interest due to not fit and proper”.
Peter was later told that the police had also heard there had been a complaint about him by his pistol club – but neither he nor his club know anything about that.
No other information was provided, but the notice indicated that NSW Police would consider revoking his licence.
On 1 June, the NSC raised this matter with the Minister for Police, Mr David Elliott, and copied an inspector from NSW Police in. This resulted in a call from Assistant Commissioner Scott Cook about two hours later.
Scott told us that there was more to this story than we’ve been told, and that Peter was not getting his licence back.
Police supplied the following reasoning
“concerns were raised by members of the public in relation to comments made by you involving the possession and use of firearms”
“Further concerns have also been raised in relation to your mental health ..”
“… and it has been reported that you may have alcohol abuse issues”
None of the claims were supported with any detail. We don’t know who raised the concerns, what their qualifications in relation to mental health or ‘abuse issues’ may be, or what they allege Peter did.
At no stage prior to suspension or cancellation, did NSW Police offer Peter the opportunity to respond to the allegations.
This story is why shooters need a strong NSC. Being a member of the NSC not only gives shooters a voice, but your membership helps fund legal fights – such as the one we’re about to support for Peter.
Make a stand.
The entire article and a bio of Peter can be found at the National Shooting Council Website.