Historical firearms would be destroyed and dealerships closed under draft firearm regulations that have caused uproar in NSW.
The new rules would also have imposed costs and risks on security guards, and all of this is on top of the many other impacts they would have had on the shooting sports.
In this part of our special report on the draft regulations, we look at some of the details in relation to museums, dealerships and security companies.
Our final story, coming tomorrow, will look at where the regulations are now and where they will go from here.
Destruction of historical firearms
The proposed regulations would have forced the effective destruction of museum pieces, something that cannot be allowed to happen.Licensed museums would be required to make all Category C and D firearms, as well as all pistols, permanently inoperable. In other words, very valuable artefacts would be rendered almost worthless. This short-sighted clause is enforced vandalism.
Until these proposed regulations were put up, there was no regulatory mandate for how dealerships were to secure firearms. However, the Firearms Registry – that is, the police – had a set of guidelines. As guidelines, they offered some flexibility, whereby a set-up that did not follow the wording, but was clearly at least as secure as is required, could be approved.
The proposed regulations took those guidelines and, with some alterations, made them rules. They also gave dealerships a maximum of 12 months to comply, unless their licence expired earlier, in which case it wouldn’t be renewed until the new security was in place. Some dealers would probably not have been able to comply in time.
This would conceivably put many small dealers out of business, as changing their currently legal set-up to meet the new regulations could mean moving to new premises or erecting a new building. The costs would be prohibitive – and pointless if their security is excellent yet, on paper, non-compliant.
One good thing about the regulations was that they acknowledged a different level of security is required for dealers who handle only Category A and B firearms, compared with Cat C, D and H.
Among a number of changes relating to security companies, extra impositions would add costs by requiring them to have all firearms inspected by a licensed firearm dealer every three months. Currently, a competent person must do the inspections.
The regulations would also ban security guards from having more than one firearm at any time, a potential safety issue for guards who would, for example, have to offload their sidearm if carrying a shotgun in the very few situations where they’re permitted to possess one.