Adelaide’s Sunday Mail last
weekend carried a story on page 22 headlined “Crims to have
guns returned”. It claimed “Imitation handguns seized from
known criminals could be handed back if a challenge to new
laws banning their possession goes ahead.” Close reading of
the article shows that there is little chance of "crims"
having any guns returned.
First of all, if an imitation handgun has
been seized from “known criminals”, it is presumably because
the ‘known criminal’ is alleged to have been committing an
offence at the time. So, the ‘imitation handgun(s)’ will
likely be used as evidence in a criminal proceeding and will
not be handed back in the case of a guilty plea, or if a
guilty verdict is delivered by the court on the basis of
evidence presented. To claim otherwise is misleading.
Second, the regulation itself is so poorly
drafted that we believe it opens a door wide enough to drive
a bus through:
Regulation 4(1)—after paragraph (j) insert:
(ja) imitation firearms that closely
resemble a firearm referred to in a preceding paragraph or
that do not closely resemble such a firearm or a firearm of
Class A, B, C, D or H;
Read that mish-mash carefully and see if it
makes any sense. If any one can explain what it means, i.e.
what it actually means not what it is supposed to mean, then
please tell us because we think the whole thing may have
been written by a 5-year-old. This is a field day in the
making for members of the legal profession. And why not? It
deserves to be challenged.
Regulations are not routinely debated in
parliament and a debate is only brought forward when a
disallowance motion is tabled, as in this case. When a
regulation is as poorly drafted as this it deserves to be
disallowed. Our “Lords and Masters” grow arrogant with the
passing of time and MP’s who question their sillier efforts
must be supported.
And as with legislation that is meant to
protect people from the depredations of criminals there are
unintended consequences. People who collected replicas in
good faith suddenly find themselves outside the law because
the Premier of South Australia wants to bolster his "tough
on crime" credentials. Some replica firearms have cost their
owners thousands of dollars. Legal one day, illegal the
next. And all this without a skerrick of consultation with
people who have never acted illegally and never intend to.
But Caesar has spoken and the plebs will obey or face the
MP's must act
to disallow this poorly drafted regulation which seeks to
inflict collective punishment on a small section of the
population for the criminal misdeeds of others. Once again, the
government of S.A. appears to be using a sledge hammer to
crack a walnut, when a little thought might achieve the same
result without the pain.
the Hon. Michael
effect of which
is to make the
all intents and
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by parliament in
with all their
faults as if
they were never
not sit again
until March so