Common sense has begun to prevail in light of the 2017 changes to the weapons licensing regime which made it difficult for primary producers to hold Category H firearms licences for handguns.
The changes require primary producers to demonstrate that they have an “occupational requirement” and “genuine need” to hold a firearms licence for handguns. The Weapons Licensing Branch of the Queensland Police Service adopted a very strict test as to whether primary producers had such a requirement or need.
In a recent decision of the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT), a Quilpie grazier appealed against the refusal of his handgun licence on the basis that he was required to use a handgun to protect his own safety while working in Mulga country. The grazier, who had held a Category H licence for over 20 years, successfully argued that he was required to ride a motorbike through Mulga country and carry a firearm for protection against feral pigs and dogs. In such a working environment, QCAT recognised that a handgun had safety and efficiency features over a long arm rifle which allowed the grazier to better protect himself. After QCAT accepted the grazier’s reasons as to why he had an “occupational requirement” and “genuine need”, it reissued the grazier with a Category H licence.
Following the decision of QCAT, the Weapons Licensing Branch is reportedly considering the policy which determines whether a Category H licence should be reissued to primary producers though there is no public record of this policy being changed just yet.
This result demonstrates that QCAT is willing to recognise a primary producer’s “occupational requirement” and “genuine need” to hold a Category H licence and highlights the importance of ensuring adequate information is provided to the Weapons Licensing Branch when reapplying for Category H licences.