Another “Gun Control” Success Story…

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Such is the case for *all* such attempts at “citizen control” – not only will it *never* work, it wastes valuable police resources tracking exactly the wrong group of people…

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Police admit WA gun licence system is a shambles

WA Police has lost track of thousands of guns and admitted its firearms licensing system is a shambles.  

It means that many weapons, including high-powered rifles and pistols, are now held by unlicensed owners in the community and police do not have an automated database to trace who keeps them and pinpoint where they are.

In a major embarrassment, the computer system failure has compromised WA’s stringent firearms laws, which require that anyone in possession of a gun must be licensed.

Police don’t believe community safety has been compromised but many unlicensed gun owners may have changed address, making it harder for officers to find them and check their firearms have not entered the black market.

After inquiries this week by The Sunday Times, police admitted the firearms infringement registry, which alerts police to unpaid gun licence renewals, was deactivated in mid-2008 because of technical issues.

Since then, police have been unable to proactively follow up on lapsed licences to recover unlicensed arms or issue fines.

While WA Police could not officially confirm how many gun licences were overdue or had expired, police sources said the numbers were likely to run into thousands.

In WA, there are more than 80,000 firearms licence holders, who own about 360,000 guns.

Licensing Enforcement Division assistant director Trudi Angwin said police were undertaking a six-month $635,000 “stabilisation project” of the firearms registry to resurrect the database. But a “significant number” of overdue and expired licences remained outstanding.

“We haven’t had a system that is automatically triggering police to go and knock on doors and ask if people have got these firearms and why haven’t they renewed,” Ms Angwin said.

“This would normally be an automatic process that trips us to that action. That’s not in place. We estimate that the total number of both overdue and expired firearm licences is significant, however, until the system is rectified firm numbers cannot be supplied.

“It’s significant in numbers, but we are not expecting it to be significant in terms of proportion because a very, very overwhelming majority of people have renewed. These are people who have essentially lapsed in renewing their licence. These are not people who have unlawfully acquired a firearm.”

Ms Angwin said the breakdown was limited to the tracking of unpaid licence renewals and the system that sent out renewal notices worked correctly.

“The Government has been made aware and together we’ve been working on creating long-term solutions and managing any risks,” she said.

Under the Firearms Act, people own a gun must hold a valid licence. If anyone does not renew their licence, they must surrender their gun or face a fine. Licences that have lapsed up to 12 months are deemed overdue and those not paid for more than a year are expired.

The system rebuild is due to be finished next month. Then the deactivated infringement registry will be switched on.

The admission comes 18 months after a review by Auditor General Colin Murphy found WA Police was not adequately monitoring the possession, use and dealing of firearms in the community.

Opposition police spokeswoman Margaret Quirk said: “The dangers associated with having unlicensed firearms on our streets are so obvious that even Police Minister Rob Johnson could understand.”

Mr Johnson said police “have assured me that they are working hard to reactivate the firearms infringement register, which will occur once they have completed the firearms registry stabilisation project”.

Ms Angwin reminded gun-owners it was their responsibility to ensure firearms were licensed.She said an amnesty exists should people want to hand in firearms to a police station to avoid prosecution. More information is available through The police firearms hotline is 1300171011.

Police admit WA gun licence system is a shambles

pn guns

NO RECORD: WA police admit that thousands of guns are in the community without record due to a faulty licensing system. Source: PerthNow

pn guns

NO RECORD: WA police admit that thousands of guns are in the community without record. Source: PerthNow

WA Police has lost track of thousands of guns and admitted its firearms licensing system is a shambles.

It means that many weapons, including high-powered rifles and pistols, are now held by unlicensed owners in the community and police do not have an automated database to trace who keeps them and pinpoint where they are.

In a major embarrassment, the computer system failure has compromised WA’s stringent firearms laws, which require that anyone in possession of a gun must be licensed.

Police don’t believe community safety has been compromised but many unlicensed gun owners may have changed address, making it harder for officers to find them and check their firearms have not entered the black market.

After inquiries this week by

The Sunday Times, police admitted the firearms infringement registry, which alerts police to unpaid gun licence renewals, was deactivated in mid-2008 because of technical issues.


Since then, police have been unable to proactively follow up on lapsed licences to recover unlicensed arms or issue fines.

While WA Police could not officially confirm how many gun licences were overdue or had expired, police sources said the numbers were likely to run into thousands.

In WA, there are more than 80,000 firearms licence holders, who own about 360,000 guns.

Licensing Enforcement Division assistant director Trudi Angwin said police were undertaking a six-month $635,000 “stabilisation project” of the firearms registry to resurrect the database. But a “significant number” of overdue and expired licences remained outstanding.

“We haven’t had a system that is automatically triggering police to go and knock on doors and ask if people have got these firearms and why haven’t they renewed,” Ms Angwin said.

“This would normally be an automatic process that trips us to that action. That’s not in place. We estimate that the total number of both overdue and expired firearm licences is significant, however, until the system is rectified firm numbers cannot be supplied.

“It’s significant in numbers, but we are not expecting it to be significant in terms of proportion because a very, very overwhelming majority of people have renewed. These are people who have essentially lapsed in renewing their licence. These are not people who have unlawfully acquired a firearm.”

Ms Angwin said the breakdown was limited to the tracking of unpaid licence renewals and the system that sent out renewal notices worked correctly.

“The Government has been made aware and together we’ve been working on creating long-term solutions and managing any risks,” she said.

Under the Firearms Act, people own a gun must hold a valid licence. If anyone does not renew their licence, they must surrender their gun or face a fine. Licences that have lapsed up to 12 months are deemed overdue and those not paid for more than a year are expired.

The system rebuild is due to be finished next month. Then the deactivated infringement registry will be switched on.

The admission comes 18 months after a review by Auditor General Colin Murphy found WA Police was not adequately monitoring the possession, use and dealing of firearms in the community.

Opposition police spokeswoman Margaret Quirk said: “The dangers associated with having unlicensed firearms on our streets are so obvious that even Police Minister Rob Johnson could understand.”

Mr Johnson said police “have assured me that they are working hard to reactivate the firearms infringement register, which will occur once they have completed the firearms registry stabilisation project”.

Ms Angwin reminded gun-owners it was their responsibility to ensure firearms were licensed.She said an amnesty exists should people want to hand in firearms to a police station to avoid prosecution. More information is available through The police firearms hotline is 1300171011.



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