KEEPING GUNS OUT OF DANGEROUS HANDS

The NSW Firearms Registry will now have stronger ties with police operations and the criminal or anti-social behaviour of licence holders to ensure firearms don’t fall into dangerous hands, following a suite of modifications by the NSW Government.

The Registry workforce will also see an increase in new police officers and training to focus on initiating the seizure of firearms and licence suspensions as well as revocations in appropriate situations.

Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott said the Firearm Registry will now fall under the direct leadership and guidance of Deputy Commissioner, Investigations & Counter Terrorism, David Hudson. This will enable it to better align the regulatory and operational arms of the NSW Police Force and enhance collaboration and information sharing in significant policing matters.

“We have to be ever vigilant and ensure that dangerous people do not get access to firearms while ensuring those who follow the rules receive the best available customer service possible,” Mr Elliott said.

“The Registry is now working under the leadership of a decorated police officer, David Hudson, who has an elite understanding of police operations. This will ensure the Registry is better placed to perform background checks, ensure safe storage and seize firearms from licence holders.”

NSW Police Force Commissioner Mick Fuller said the changes would ensure consistent adjudication for community safety and legitimate firearm users.

“Firearms compliance and regulation is a critical issue for NSW Police Force. Clearly, we must have robust and thorough processes in place when it comes to the scrutiny and monitoring of people with firearms licences as well as enforcement of breaches of the legislation,” Commissioner Fuller said.

The suite of changes to the Firearms Registry include:

– An increase in new police officers to the Registry workforce to focus on initiating the seizure of firearms and licence suspensions and revocations in appropriate situations;
– The introduction of an Assistant Commissioner as the dedicated corporate sponsor and additional point of contact for the community for all customer service matters who will assist Deputy Commissioner Hudson;
– Online communication campaigns about licence holder obligations, including SMS notifications to licence holders whose firearms licences are due to expire within seven days; and
– Revised standard operating procedures and training for risk-based firearms safe storage inspections.

These improvements follow the release of the NSW Auditor General’s 2019 Performance Audit of the Firearms Registry. All ten recommendations have been either completed or are nearing completion by the NSW Police Force.