Katter fires up over farmer gun knockback rate
POLICE are increasingly knocking back Queenslanders trying to get their hands on concealable weapons licences, frustrating farmers who fear they will soon be banned from using the guns.
The number of concealable weapons licences issued, renewed or replaced in Queensland dropped from 3670 in 2014 to at least 2508 in 2017 according to documents released under Right to Information. The number of refused applicants also soared by nearly 200 per cent over the same period, from 81 to at least 227.
Grant Maudsley, general president of peak rural production group Agforce Queensland, said frustrated members were calling them every week about licence refusals.
He said the guns were used for putting down livestock and were easier to carry in heavy terrain than long firearms.
"It does appear there is a concerted effort from the Labor Government to on the one hand let recreational users have access, but not farmers who have had a proven case for the last 30, 40 years to use them," he said.
"We've got Weapons Licensing staff starting to interpret the regulations differently."
KAP state leader Robbie Katter said he was "extremely concerned" that the Palaszczuk Government might ban concealable weapons for farmers, following in the footsteps other states.
"They'll continue to push superficial solutions that placate their city voters at the expense of people in rural and regional Queensland," he said.
"A clear majority of farmers who have come to us have held their licences for many years and their circumstances haven't changed so they very rightly question why their applications are being rejected."
A Queensland Police spokesman said licence applications could be refused because they did not meet "genuine reason requirements", pointing to recent court decisions.
"Court and tribunal decisions from Queensland and other states have supported the decisions to refuse concealable licences," he said.
"Each decision has provided further clarification of the 'genuine need' provisions, the type of business, the type and size of properties and are consistent with the current decision making processes of Weapons Licencing."
A spokeswoman for Police Minister Mark Ryan said the Palaszczuk Government did not "direct the QPS on operational matters, including approvals of firearms licences".
Gun Control Australia vice-chair Roland Browne said the organisation welcomed the falling number of licences for handguns being issued.
"We commend that the Queensland Police are being more rigorous with their approach to handguns," he said.
"I'm not surprised the numbers are falling and I'm not surprised also that the Queensland Police are finding that numbers of these applicants don't pass muster."