Queensland Police Weapons Licensing Branch processing delays

PTA blow-out a “disaster” with no fix in sight

Delays in processing permits to acquire (PTAs) in Queensland have now blown out so badly it is frustrating thousands of shooters and throwing the state’s multi-million dollar firearms industry into jeopardy.

The state’s embattled Weapons Licensing Branch is now taking longer than a month to process PTAs for licensed shooters, up from a few days this time last year.

Dealers across the state are now finding their storage areas packed full of sold guns waiting for PTAs, and their demands that Weapons Licensing or Police Minister Mark Ryan fix the problem are falling on deaf ears.

Anthony Pagan, owner of Pagan Firearms in Townsville, said PTA approvals had dropped by about 85% in recent months, even though firearm sales were up, and it was causing serious issues.

“At present we are acquiring 10 times more firearms from wholesalers each month than we can release to customers, which puts increased pressure on secure storage space,” he said.

“Customers are also reluctant to finalise lay-bys or purchase ammunition and accessories until their PTA has been approved, which means firearm dealers must now float the cost of all stock well past standard 30-day credit limit terms, putting added pressure on small business cash flow, growth and diversification.”

Shooting Industry Foundation of Australia (SIFA) executive officer James Walsh described the situation as a “disaster” for the industry, saying he was being contacted daily by concerned dealers who were seeing the impact of WLB’s heel-dragging on their bottom line in a significant way.

“Every day we get phone calls from licensed firearms dealers across Queensland who are now desperate and worried they are going to go broke,” he said.

“It’s a disaster for business and for the community. One dealer we inspected personally has well over $1m worth of firearms in storage awaiting permits so the sales can be completed.” 

Shooters Union Australia and the Firearms Dealers Association of Queensland have jointly written to both Police Minister Mark Ryan and Small Business Minister Di Farmer demanding action be taken to clear the backlog and fix the situation immediately, including via the establishment of a Customer Service Charter with 7-10 day turnarounds on PTAs and the automatic issuance of Category A PTAs.

“This isn’t just a ‘gun owners being mistreated’ issue, it’s a ‘small business is being actively harmed by the Government’ issue,” Shooters Union Australia president Graham Park said.

“For the sake of dealers and shooters alike, it needs to be sorted out, it needs to be sorted out now, and it needs to stay sorted out.”




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Royce Wilson

Royce is something rare in Australia: A journalist who really likes guns. He has been interested in firearms as long as he can remember, and is particularly interested in military and police firearms from the 19th Century to the present. In addition to historical and collectible firearms, he is also a keen video gamer and has written for several major newspapers and websites on that subject.