The NSW Police Minister might start focusing on criminals rather than law-abiding firearms owners after this alleged indiscretion.
The Australian broke the story that NSW Police Minister David Elliott is facing the prospect of criminal charges after photographs surfaced of him allegedly shooting two prohibited weapons at a shooting range without an appropriate licence.
The NSW Police Force said on Monday it had reviewed images of Mr Elliott firing a semi-automatic pistol and a Heckler & Koch submachine gun at the John Morony Correctional Centre in Sydney’s northwest, and an investigation would occur to determine whether he and the range had broken the law.
A NSW police spokesman said images of Mr Elliott handling the two firearms would be referred for investigation, adding that Police Commissioner Mick Fuller had been contacted on Monday by Mr Elliott because of his concerns about the conduct of the shooting range.
In NSW, it is legal for an unlicensed person to handle a firearm at a shooting range, provided they fill out a declaration answering several questions, including whether they have previously been prohibited from holding a firearms licence, been the subject of a Firearms Prohibition Order, or committed a serious offence in the past 10 years.
The declaration does not permit them to handle prohibited weapons, including those Mr Elliott was photographed holding.
He later posted the photographs to his Facebook page.
Mr Elliott declined to answer questions on Monday, referring questions to Corrective Services NSW, which said in a statement it was seeking advice from the NSW Firearms Registry.
“Corrective Services NSW is taking steps to correct a possible administrative error at its Mark Simmons weapons range near Windsor,” a spokesman said. “The matter has been referred to the Firearms Registry for advice.”
In August last year, Mr Elliott told a budget estimates hearing: “Nobody has a more personal interest in making sure firearms are used appropriately … than me.” The photos were originally uploaded to Mr Elliott’s Facebook page in September 2018 after he attended the ceremonial opening of the range.
Shooters MP Robert Borsak said the revelations further compromised Mr Elliott’s credibility. and “just because he’s the minister does not mean he should be exempted from prosecution”.
Watch this space.