You do not have to be paranoid, sometimes they are out to get you - Loose Cannon
Sometimes, when I read a rejection letter from one of the firearms registries, there is a smell about it that is not quite right, in that the facts set out in the decision do not seem to justify the outcome reached.
This may be laziness on the part of the drafter, or a training issue for the Registry, sometimes though, there is more to it than that, and the Registry staff have been acting on intelligence that they do not want to disclose.
People who work in intelligence, like to try and project a degree of importance upon the activity, in much the same manner as I suppose a witch doctor or Druid would about their work. However, as is often the case when activities are closely scrutinised, there is little scientific about it.
To the uninitiated, Intelligence is just information in its rawest, and least tested form, that is often little better than rumour and innuendo, that is stored in a database, and when an Intelligence Officer is looking at a possible piece of law breaking it can be considered in association with other chunks of information.
Sometimes the bits fit together like a jigsaw puzzle, in other situations, a pattern can only be seen by someone straining for a result, and in other situations, the pattern detected is no more accurate than the gypsy at the fair can see when reading your tea leaves.
Of course, the knock back letter never refers to the intelligence, nor will they communicate it to even a lawyer. This is a fundamental abuse of rights, as a person in our society is to be afforded ‘Natural Justice’ to enable them to meet their accuser.
If I am getting a bit of a feel that this may be the case, I ask the client if Police have issued a search warrant upon them and for what? Often the item that they are purportedly searching for is something the individual would give up upon request, and in going to the trouble of searching, Police are obviously looking for something else.
This is pretty much immediately obvious if the warrant is from a well known task force that undertakes work unrelated to the items listed on the warrant, rather than from Const Plod at your local Nick.
It may also reveal the nub of the association. I once acted for a chap who swore to me that he was a Saint, the problem was he had the same name (a common one) and date of birth as one of the least saintly soles ever to bless the shores of this great land. My client swore he had never been to Queensland, the namesake had spent a lot of time there doing things that he should not have been.
Some quick finger prints that were taken for identification purposes only and then destroyed, clarified the issue.
Sometimes, to deal with this I have to ask people questions along the lines of ‘do you have any dealings with people who might be into something of interest to Police. Sometimes it can take as little as a photo of you exiting a pub, or MacDonalds or having your car parked outside a watched property to ‘put you in the frame’ so to speak.
The most blatant ‘no no’ is associations with people who are under surveillance.
A lot of Muslim’s shoot, and many are from countries where there were oppressive regimes, and they know that to raise one’s head can lead to its loss. They therefore need little reminding that a Muslim who shoots, needs to fly under the radar, and stay away from a Mosque when a radical cleric is speaking, and they generally know who to avoid in their local community.
However, I have acted for a number of Muslim’s who has had difficulty because of radicalised relatives.
I was once at a gun club meeting shortly after 1996, where a Policeman was explaining ‘if you are in a pub and a scuffle breaks out. Walk out. As a shooter you cannot afford to be in there’.
The net is much wider than this. If you shoot, and want to continue doing so without difficulty, you need to avoid anyone who may be a target of one of the crime squads – avoid motor cycle gang members (at least the so called 1% clubs, the old farts trying to get old disgracefully in Ulysses jackets are OK), radicalised Muslim speakers, organised crime activities and anything involving illegal or unlicensed firearms and illicit drugs.
Even avoid political rallies where there is a risk of fists flying or arrests.
Even avoid locations where people who are into those activities go to associate.
Simon Munslow is a solicitor located on the ACT/ NSW border. He has a lifelong interest in shooting, having acquired his first firearm at the age of nine, and has had an active interest in firearms law since writing a thesis on the topic over thirty years ago at University
Simon Munslow practices extensively in Firearms Law matters throughout Australia.
He is a regular contributor to the Australian Sporting Shooter magazine’s website on Firearms law matters, has published articles on firearms reviews and firearms law, and occasionally is asked to comment in the broader media on firearms matters.
He either appears in person, or ‘stage manages’ the conduct of matters that he arranges to be handled by local lawyers who often are not familiar with firearms law and procedure.
This article is written for general information only and does not constitute advice.
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