Shocked Gympie farmer told 8-month wait for gun licence
STATE Government “manufactured delays and excuses” have made dealing with Weapons Licensing a nightmare for law abiding gun owners, Gympie MP Tony Perrett says.
His comment came after finding out one Gympie region farmer trying to get licence was looking at an eight-month wait.
Kanigan primary producer Clint Schulz and his wife applied in April and recently rang Weapons Licensing to check on the progress of their application.
“I was on hold for almost an hour,” Mr Schulz said.
“The lady I spoke to informed me that my application was received but it would be between 15 and 20 weeks before it would be processed.
“I was shocked and angry to the fact that I’ve paid my fees in good faith and completed the appropriate applications and one of which was rejected as a permit to acquire. To complete the permit all categories must be completed and payment made at the end.”
Mr Schulz said he did not want his licence for fun, but to enable him to work his property.
“We require them for our farming operation to aid in the control of vermin and to euthanise sick or injured livestock,” he said.
Mr Perrett said the Government had been hiding behind COVID-19 as an excuse for delays in routine applications.
Police Minister Mark Ryan said community safety was, and continued to be, “the number one priority of this Government and the Queensland Police Service”.
“I’m advised that Weapons Licensing is operating under modified business practices during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Mr Ryan said.
“Police say a graduated return to work is in the best interests of staff safety. This is to ensure that staff can work safely and comply with social distancing requirements. I’m advised the timeframes for processing applications are expected to return to normal over the coming months as more staff return to the workplace.
“Our police have been on the frontline of community safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.
I back the decision of police to protect staff as they work day-in-and day-out to keep us all safe.”
Mr Perrett said applicants were being “done over by a bureaucracy that doesn’t want to make things easy”.
“COVID-19 is the excuse to go slow on processing applications, for restricted contact times, and weapons licensing staff working from home,” he said.
“Last week I asked the Police Minister when Weapons Licensing will resume full busines hours for phone contact and staff return to work from the office.
“I regularly deal with a stream of complaints about the lack of progress and amount of time it’s taking on what should be a relatively straightforward process.
“They can’t handle applications in a timely manner.
“You pay a fee for the service which presumably was to cover the cost, so it should be adequately resourced”
Mr Perrett said it did not matter if you were already a gun owner or had a licence, the delays on getting a licence, renewing a licence, or obtaining a Permit to Acquire were ‘ridiculous’.
“This week an applicant was told to wait 15 to 20 weeks, four or five months, before his application is dealt with. That’s from now,” he said.
““He applied for a Permit to Acquire and a new licence 12 weeks ago on 30 April.
I made representations on his behalf to the Police Minister on 19 May who responded on 26
May that they needed further information, that it had already been provided, and that the application was being processed.
“When he contacted Weapons Licensing (Thursday) he was told he’d have to wait another 15 to 20 weeks.
“That makes it somewhere between a 27 and 32 week, or eight-month turnaround.
“Even a 15 to 20-week turnaround to process paperwork is unacceptable.
“COVID -19 is not a legitimate reason to make decent, hardworking, law-abiding gun owners wait four or five months to deal with their application.
“If you apply today, you’ll be lucky if it’s dealt with before 2021 let alone Christmas.
“What does the Government think is a reasonable service within a reasonable time frame?
“This problem is not new, they cannot keep blaming COVID-19. Law abiding gunowners are increasingly frustrated.”
Primary producers use guns as tools of trade, to deal with pests such as wild dogs and pigs, for protecting crops, and to humanely euthanise animals.
“The Government is doing everything it can to demonise gun owners and the industry,” Mr Perrett said.
“The Police Minister and Agriculture Minister couldn’t close gun shops quick enough in March. They used the cloak of COVID-19 to unilaterally close licensed dealers and armourers with no notice to farmers, primary producers or affected businesses and no explanation to the industry.
“The Ministers didn’t seem to know that people in the agriculture and pest control industries need guns to manage their properties and operate their own business.”