The Shooting Industry Foundation of Australia has called on the Victorian Police Minister and Victorian Premier to immediately investigate an alarming blowout in the time taken to process routine permits by the Victoria Police Licensing and Regulation Division (LRD).
Victorian shooting industry businesses were hoping this Christmas season would allow them to claw back the losses experienced over the last few years due to the negative effects the COVID pandemic, however, this is now looking less likely with significant concern rising amongst the State’s gun dealers, who are predicting that the current delays in issuing permits, will only get worse before they get better.
James Walsh, SIFA CEO said “it is unacceptable that businesses are being stifled by their regulator as a result of poor administration and a lack of resources. A regulator’s job is to regulate efficiently and effectively, not make life harder for legitimate businesses”.
Several licensed firearms dealers are reporting their queries have been ignored by LRD with phone calls going unanswered, and those who do get through have reported they have not been given a timeframe when they can expect to see their permits approved.
As these permits are necessary for firearms dealers to trade in restricted products, the processing delays are causing businesses major cash flow issues, with some businesses reporting they are holding over $200,000 worth of stock they cannot complete the sale on until a permit is received.
Many dealers are also concerned as they are running out of room in their secure storage facilities. This means that they will be unable to store products for future trade, which will potentially bring the Victorian shooting industry to a standstill.
“There is also a public safety consideration here. Victoria’s licensed firearms dealer network is crucial to the National Firearms Amnesty initiative. As dealers do not have space available to store firearms, they will have to turn away those who are looking to surrender illegal and illicit firearms, which could see them stay in the community or diverted the criminal element”. Mr Walsh said.
As the shooting industry regulator, the Victoria Police LRD and Minister Carbines play a crucial role in ensuring the viability of the Victorian shooting industry. The Minister must investigate the matter promptly and act immediately to address the backlog in permit processing before the livelihoods of many small businesses are destroyed.
The Victorian shooting industry deserves better!