Confusion over gun law mess as Labor blames LNP
POLICE Minister Bill Byrne yesterday appeared to distort a successful Opposition move to improve the workability of Queensland gun laws.
That was one legal interpretation of a confusing news release in which Mr Byrne seemed to blame the LNP for a law supported by the Government and which might have compelled police effectively to rob the dead, confiscating all the firearms held in stock by a deceased gun dealer.
Gympie's LNP representative Tony Perrett said the Opposition had overturned a regulation which called for the automatic suspension of licences for gun dealer businesses, "when the representative on the licence dies or loses their authority to represent it.”
He said the licence would now be attached to a business, rather than a person, and it would be possible to nominate a secondary licensee.
This would eliminate a needless problem and would mean police would no longer feel forced to confiscate stock from a dead person.
But in a statement issued at 12.30am yesterday, Mr Byrne argued the opposite.
He said the LNP had disallowed a change which would have allowed a business to transition smoothly to a new licensed operator.
Now police would be compelled to confiscate sometimes thousands of guns from a dealer's premises, in the event of the dealer's death, Mr Byrne claimed.
Not true, said Gympie gun dealer, Ron Owen.
"The minister is in fairyland, except that he is not confused about it. He knows the facts and his release is not accurate.”
Mr Owen said the provision the Government supported had created a situation some years ago, in which police "turned up with trucks to confiscate all the stock of a gun dealer who had died.”
His views were backed by leading Brisbane gun law solicitor Peter Kuske, who said government's preferred outcome would have had "catastrophic consequences for the licensed gun dealers who co-operate with the police to make the gun laws work. "This is nothing to do with gun ownership, only to do with gun dealers.
"It would strike a blow at their ability to conduct their business. What the minister says is false,” Mr Kuske said.
Mr Byrne's release "condemned the LNP for sabotaging successful gun laws implemented by its own party in the wake of the Port Arthur massacre”.
"Now, (in the event of a gun dealer retiring or dying) a dealer's licence will be cancelled and the Queensland Police Service will be legally required to ensure possibly thousands of guns are locked up securely for months while new dealers' licences are issued,” he said.