Queensland: Weakest link in national firearm register
7 April 2023
In recent months, the State Labor Government has supported and advocated for the national firearm register following the tragic Wieambilla shooting yet they have continuously defended the unsatisfactory state of Queensland’s own Weapons Licensing system according to Hinchinbrook MP and Katter’s Australian Party (KAP) Deputy Leader, Nick Dametto.
“Despite a national firearm register already existing, we are being told a new national register will provide ‘real-time’ and ‘across-border’ information about firearms and firearm licence holders,” Mr Dametto said.
“There would be merit in a national firearm register if it was supported by the most up to date and accurate data but the system will only be as effective as the information the authorities plug into it and currently, Queensland is set to let the team down when it comes to timely and accurate data collection.
“Queensland’s Weapons Licensing Branch has been outdated and flawed for years and the Police Minister continuously guises those failures as the result of careful police measures being taken in the interest of community safety.”
The Queensland Weapons Licensing Branch has been backlogged for years with processing times currently sitting at over 21 weeks for new licence applications and 42 days for permits to acquire. Wait times fluctuate and as bad as the current figures are, they are lower than the wait times in March, which back then were 35 weeks for licences and 46 days for permits to acquire.
The drawn-out processing delays have caused financial havoc for licensed gun dealers, with several recently announcing that they will be, or are considering, closing their doors due to the length of time they are forced to store weapons while purchasers wait for permits to be approved, an unsustainable exercise for small business owners.
Mr Dametto said that not only are the significant processing times a concern, but gun owners are also reporting serious flaws and inaccuracies with Queensland Weapons Licensing records.
“There are reports recently that firearm owners have had several firearms mysteriously removed from the Weapons Licensing register.
“The Weapons Licensing Branch has proven time and time again that it is incapable of not only processing timely applications and compiling up to date data, but now it has also shown the branch is unable to accurately maintain records.
“I can’t see how incorrect information from Queensland’s Weapons Licensing branch, replicated in the form of a national firearm register, will prevent any future tragedies from occurring.”