Local gun owners up in arms over 'basket case' registry
CLARENCE Valley gun owners have slammed the litany of errors plaguing the firearms registry.
Shooters Fishers and Farmers party MLC Robert Borsak condemned the NSW Firearms Registry and called for an independent review and "total overhaul".
"The registry is a basket case and nothing short of a full independent inquiry is needed," he said.
Clarence Valley Hunting Club president and SFF Grafton spokesperson Daniel Spears said he had heard of a number of problems with the registry, including licenses being sent to the wrong address.
"I have had several members of our club make applications for a license and some have been waiting over three or four months. And in a lot of instances, registry are claiming they have lost their paperwork or have not seen it," Mr Spears said.
In one case a local owner lost his license and had his guns confiscated after his renewal was not dealt with before his license lapsed, despite sending his paperwork in two weeks prior to the expiration date.
"A month after his expiry date he contacted the registry and was informed his license had expired and was told his paperwork was received one day after the expiry date," Mr Spears said. "One has to wonder whether our postal service is that bad, given the office is in Murwillumbah, or whether it just sat on someone's desk."
Mr Spears said the advice he gave to anyone dealing with the registry was to photocopy all documents and send them via registered post to ensure the registry couldn't deny receiving the paperwork.
"That's how bad it is, it is disgraceful."
Mr Spears said he feared for the security of the information held by the registry, which included names and addresses of gun owners and what guns they possessed, and agreed if the public wanted a functioning and safe system it needed to be funded adequately.
"I fear the information being stored is not necessarily secure, because the system is so archaic.
"If we had a really robust automated system, I should be able to purchase a firearm and the registry and police should instantly know I have taken possession of that firearm.
"There would be no need for posting documents and filling out forms by hand."
While PoliceMinister David Elliott did not respond to questions, NSW Police Force issued a response.
"I can confirm that an independent review of the Firearms Registry has been conducted by the Audit Office of NSW," A spokesperson for NSW Police said.
"The Audit Office released its report on firearms regulation on 28 February 2019. The NSW Police Force has reviewed and is progressing the report's ten recommendations."