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National Firearms Trafficking Policy Agreement.



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Media Release

SENATOR THE HON. CHRISTOPHER ELLISON

Minister for Justice and Customs Senator for Western Australia

17 April 2002

National Firearms Trafficking Policy Agreement Justice Minister, Senator Chris Ellison, has written to all State Police Ministers seeking their support for the development of a National Firearms Trafficking Policy Agreement.

The Federal Government is sponsoring a submission to the next meeting of Police Commissioners and Senior Officers of the Australasian Police Ministers Council in Darwin in May, which includes the proposed draft Agreement.

"Given the high priority of firearms trafficking at the recent Leaders’ Summit on Terrorism and Multi-Jurisdictional Crime and the spate of gun-related incidents in recent weeks, I believe that consideration and endorsement of the Agreement by all States and Territories is a major priority," Senator Ellison said.

The National Firearms Trafficking Policy Agreement would deal with a range of matters including:

a commitment by the Commonwealth, States and Territories to ensure that substantial penalties are in place for the illegal possession of a handgun; ●

the introduction of consistent regulation of firearms manufacturing; ● the introduction of serious offences for the illegal manufacture of firearms; ● increased recording, reporting and inspection of firearm part transactions; and ● the introduction of laws designed to restrict the illegal supply of firearms, and making it an offence to

conspire to commit an interstate firearm offence. ●

The Agreement would also contain an action plan to address the use of firearms in crime, to be implemented by all States and Territories and the Commonwealth.

"Accordingly, I have requested the speedy consideration of the agreement by State Police Ministers, and suggested that all Ministers consider endorsing the Agreement prior to the scheduled meeting of the APMC in July," Senator Ellison said.

"A number of historical agreements strengthening our law enforcement agencies access to consistent regulations across Australia came out of the Leaders Summit earlier this month. I would welcome a further strengthening of these landmark agreements and the strong sense of uniform commitment between the Commonwealth, States and Territories.

Early endorsement of this proposed Agreement will enable State and Territories to commence work on standardising firearms trafficking regulations and help to overcome the spread of dangerous illegal weapons through our community.

The Firearms Policy Working Group was established by the Australasian Police Ministers’ Council in 2001 to provide advice on firearms policy matters. The development of this proposed National Firearms Trafficking Policy Agreement is based on a report from that working group.

Draft APMC Firearms Policy Working Group, National Firearm Trafficking Policy Agreement

Media inquiries: Louise Patroni 02 6277 7260 or 0418 420 917

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D R A F T

APMC Firearms Policy Working Group

National Firearm Trafficking Policy Agreement

Proposed Resolutions

And Action Plan

Resolutions:

Council resolved that all jurisdictions make further provision for the control of the illegal trade in firearms in Australia by:

Ensuring substantial penalties for the illegal possession of a handgun; ● Introducing nationally consistent regulation of the manufacture of firearms; ● Introducing offences relating to defacing serial numbers; ● Introducing an offence of illegal manufacture which attracts substantial penalties; ●

Extending the definition of possession of a firearm; ● Introducing close associate provisions for firearms dealers ● Proscribing certain persons from employment in firearms dealerships; ● Providing for increased recording, reporting and inspection of firearm part transactions; ●

Introducing laws designed to restrict the illegal supply of firearms; ● Making it an offence to conspire to commit an interstate firearm offence; and ● Introducing tough penalties for firearm record falsification. ●

Action plan:

Penalty for the illegal possession of a handgun 1. All jurisdictions to ensure that the offence of illegal possession of a prohibited firearm or a pistol attracts a substantial imprisonment penalty. 

Nationally Consistent Regulation of the Manufacture of Firearm

2. All jurisdictions to ensure that consistent provisions regulating the manufacture of firearms are in place. These provisions should encompass:

The commercial manufacture of whole firearms; ● Small volume whole firearm manufacture; and ● The manufacture of firearm parts. ● 3. All jurisdictions to establish an offence of illegal manufacture which attracts substantial penalties.

Serial Numbers 4. All jurisdictions to ensure that provisions are in place which:

Make it an offence to possess a firearm on which the serial number has been defaced or removed; and ●

Make it an offence to remove or deface a serial number. ●

Extending the Definition of Possession 5. All jurisdictions to extend the meaning of possession of a firearm such that a firearm is taken to be in the possession of a person so long as it is in or on any premises owned, leased or occupied by, or in the care, control or management of, the person, unless a court is satisfied that:

(a) the firearm was placed in or on, or brought into or on to, the premises by or on behalf of a person who was lawfully authorised to possess the firearm, or

(b) the person did not know and could not reasonably be expected to have known that the firearm was in or on the premises, or

(c) on the evidence before it, the person was not in possession of the firearm.

Introducing Close Associate Provisions for Firearms Dealers 6. All jurisdictions to provide for the mandatory refusal of a firearms dealer licence where:

(a) a person who is or will be a close associate of the applicant for the licence is not considered by the licensing authority to be a fit and proper person to be a close associate of the holder of a firearms dealer licence; or

(b) the applicant is not the person primarily responsible for the management of the business to be carried on under the authority of the licence.

6.1 With a person considered to be a close associate of an applicant for a firearms dealer licence if he/she:

 

(i) holds or will hold any relevant financial interest, or is or will be entitled to exercise any relevant power (whether in his or her own right or on behalf of any other person), in the business of the licence applicant or licence holder, and by virtue of that interest or power is or will be able to exercise a significant influence over or with respect to the conduct of that business, or

(ii) holds or will hold any relevant position, whether in his or her own right or on behalf of any other person, in the business of the licence applicant or licence holder.

6.2 With a relevant financial interest in the dealership defined as:

(i) any interest in the capital or assets of the business, or

(ii) any entitlement to receive any income derived from the business, whether the entitlement arises at law or in equity or otherwise.

6.3 With a relevant position in the dealership defined as a position whose holder participates in the management of the business (whether in the capacity of a director, manager or secretary or in any other capacity).

6.4 With a relevant power defined as any power, whether exercisable by voting or otherwise and whether exercisable alone or in association with others:

(i) to participate in any managerial or executive decision, or

(ii) to elect or appoint any person to any relevant position.

New Firearm Dealers

7. All jurisdictions to require new firearms dealer licence applicants to provide the name and address of each person who is a close associate of the applicant and particulars of the nature of each such person’s association with the applicant.

8. All jurisdictions to require new firearms dealers to notify of changes to close associates within 7 days of the dealer becoming aware of any such change.

Current Firearm Dealers 9. All jurisdictions to require currently licensed firearms dealers to, upon a request by the licensing authority, submit:

(a) a declaration that:

(i) the firearms dealer (and no other person) is the person primarily responsible for the management of the firearms dealing business that is carried on under the licence; or

(ii) another person or other persons (whether instead of or in addition to the licensed firearms dealer) are primarily responsible for the management of that business;

and

(b) either:

(i) a declaration that the close associates of the firearms dealer (if any) have not changed since the most recent application for a licence or declaration was submitted; or

(ii) the name and address of each person who is a close associate of the firearms dealer and particulars of the nature of each such person’s association with the firearms dealer.

Prescribed Persons 10. That all jurisdictions prohibit a firearms dealer from employing a person in a position with access to firearms if that a person:

(a) has, within the preceding 10 years, had a firearms dealer licence revoked; or  (b) has, within the preceding 10 years, had an application for a firearm licence or permit refused or revoked, on the grounds of being not fit and proper and not to be trusted to have possession of firearms without danger to public safety or to the peace; or that issue of the licence or permit to the person would be contrary to the public interest; or (c) is subject to an apprehended violence order; or (d) is the subject of a good behaviour bond relating to an offence of violence; or (e) is subject to a firearm prohibition order. 11. That all jurisdictions create an offence such that, if a licensed firearms dealer:

(a) employs a prescribed person in the business that is authorised by the licence, or

(b) permits a prescribed person to act as an agent for, or participate in the management of, that business,

the firearms dealer and the prescribed person are each guilty of an offence, and liable to a substantial penalty.

12. That all jurisdictions render it a defence for a licensed firearms dealer prosecuted for an offence under point 8, if the firearms dealer proves that he or she did not know, and could not reasonably be

expected to have known, that the person employed or permitted to act as an agent for, or to participate in the management of, the firearms dealer’s business was in fact a prescribed person.

Recording, reporting and inspection of major component firearm part transactions

13. That all jurisdictions require firearm dealers to ensure that all transactions and dealings concerning major component firearm parts are recorded and each record relating to a transaction or dealing is sent to a licensing authority.

14. That all jurisdictions require that dealers must, on demand by a police officer at any time:

(a) produce those records to the officer and permit inspection and copies of the record to be taken;

(b) produce to the officer all major component firearm parts in possession; and

(c) furnish to the officer any information in possession in relation to any major component firearm part that has been manufactured, purchased or received under the authority of the person’s firearm dealer licence, or that the persons has in his/her possession or has sold or otherwise transferred or repaired under the authority of the licence.

Targeting the Illegal Supply of Firearms 15. That all jurisdictions include in the definition of sell a firearm:

(a) sell by wholesale, retail, auction or tender;

(b) dispose by barter or exchange;

(c) sell for profit;

(d) offer for sale, receive for sale, have in possession for sale or expose or exhibit for sale;

(e) conduct negotiations for sale;

(f) consign or deliver for sale; and

(g) cause or allow anything referred to above.

17. That all jurisdictions include in the definition of purchase a firearm:

(a) purchase by wholesale, retail, auction or tender;

(b) obtain by barter or exchange; and

(c) cause or allow anything referred to above.

18. That all jurisdictions establish an offence of selling, or knowingly taking part in the sale of, a firearm to another person unless:

(a) the purchaser is authorised to possess the firearm by a licence or permit, and

(b) the following documents have been produced to, and inspected by, the seller:

(i) the purchaser’s licence or permit, and

(ii) if the purchaser is not a licensed firearms dealer—the purchaser’s permit to acquire the firearm.

18. That all jurisdictions establish an offence of a person other than a licensed firearms dealer selling, or knowingly taking part in the sale of, a firearm to a person who is not a licensed firearms dealer unless:

(a) the sale has been arranged through a licensed firearms dealer; or

(b) in any case where a licensed firearms dealer is not reasonably available - the sale is witnessed by a police officer.

19. That all jurisdictions agree that a person be defined as taking part in the sale of a firearm (as described in points 14 and 15) if:

(a) the person takes, or participates in, any step, or causes any step to be taken, in the process of that sale, or

(b) the person provides or arranges finance for any step in that process, or

(c) the person provides the premises in which any step in that process is taken, or suffers or permits any step in that process to be taken in premises of which the person is the owner, lessee or occupier or of which the person has the care, control or management.

Illegal Purchase 20. That all jurisdictions establish an offence of purchasing a firearm unless:

(a) the seller is authorised to possess the firearm by a licence or permit, and

(b) the seller’s licence or permit has been produced to, and inspected by, the purchaser.

21. That all jurisdictions establish an offence of a person other than a licensed firearms dealer purchasing a firearm from another person who is not a licensed firearms dealer unless:

(a) the sale has been arranged through a licensed firearms dealer, or

(b) in any case where a licensed firearms dealer is not reasonably available - the sale is witnessed by a police officer.

Ongoing Illegal Supply (s51B) 22. That all jurisdictions establish an offence of illegally selling a firearm on a second or subsequent occasion. This offence should have a substantial imprisonment penalty and there should be provision for asset confiscation where legislation allowing such confiscation exists within the jurisdiction.

23. That all jurisdictions agree that this new offence should not apply retrospectively in respect of sales of firearms that took place before the commencement of the new offence.

Conspiracy to commit an interstate firearm offence 24. That all jurisdictions establish an offence of

(a) conspiring to commit an offence in any place outside the home jurisdiction (ie in NSW’s case, any place outside NSW), being an offence punishable under the provisions of a law in force in the foreign jurisdiction that corresponds to a provision of the home jurisdiction’s law; or

(b) aiding, abetting, counselling, procuring, soliciting or inciting the commission of an offence in any place outside the home jurisdiction, being an offence punishable under the provisions of a law in force in the foreign jurisdiction that corresponds to a provision of the home jurisdiction’s law.

Maximum penalty: the same punishment, pecuniary penalty and forfeiture that the person would be subject to if the offence concerned had been committed within the home jurisdiction.

Record falsification 25. That all jurisdictions establish an offence of a firearms dealer, with intent to deceive, making a false or misleading entry in, or altering, a record required to be made in relation to transactions and dealings concerning firearms or firearm parts.

26. That all jurisdictions establish an offence of a person, with intent to deceive, making a false or misleading entry in, or altering, any record required by law to be made by them in relation to a firearm.