By HARRY CLARKE
THE Katter’s Australian Party candidate running in the Callide by-election is calling for improvements to what he describes as “stagnant” systems around the processing of firearm licensing and permit approvals.
KAP candidate Adam Burling, a recreational shooter, said rural Queenslanders were “fed up” with “glacial” waiting periods for license and weapons applications to be approved, hindering efforts to manage pest animals.
“Even though people with a firearms licence have been through all the police background checks, done the safety training, and proven they have a genuine need for a firearm – a process that has already taken at least six months and probably more – it can still take weeks, sometimes months, to get the Permit To Acquire a farmer needs to buy a firearm,” Burling said.
“A firearm is a tool of the trade for farmers, but the unrealistic wait endured after submitting a firearms licence application or PTA for a new firearm, means weeks or months of lost productivity and income, yet it is met with a very nonchalant attitude from Brisbane.
“A tradie can purchase a nailgun or a drop saw on the spot, they can buy a ute and drive it off the lot before the ink has finished drying on the paperwork, but for a licensed farmer needing a firearm for dealing with wild dogs killing their livestock, or pigs rooting up their crops it comes after substantial cost and losses to primary production,” Burling said.
“These Brisbane-based bureaucrats are taking away Queenslanders’ freedoms to hunt recreationally or preserve our natural heritage and biosecurity through humane pest control.”
In a statement to the Caller, police minister Mark Ryan said Queensland police received hundreds of license and renewal applicants every week and that thorough reviews were necessary to ensure community safety.
“The QPS will never put community safety at risk and is continually reviewing processes used to determine the suitability of an individual to possess a weapons licence and firearms,” Ryan said.
“To ensure public and individual safety is appropriately balanced with the rights of current and future licence holders the process is necessarily and absolutely thorough.
“Queensland has a strong legal firearms ownership culture with licence numbers and registered weapons continuing to grow each year.
“The QPS receives approximately 350 new licence applications, 1100 Permit to Acquire applications, and 365 renewal applications on a weekly basis.
“Each application is assessed on an individual basis.”
There about 200,000 licensed gun owners in Queensland.
The Caller reported in April that authorities believed there were about 260,000 illegal firearms circulating in Australia, and that the Western Downs was one of the country’s hotspots for weapon theft and possession of illegal weapons.