Bring back paper applications for firearms now
The NSW Government’s elimination of paper-based firearm applications is threatening the livelihood of elderly farmers across regional NSW, says NSW Shooters, Fishers and Farmers (SFF) MP Robert Borsak.
“We’ve been approached by a number of pensioners who can’t renew firearm licences they’ve held for decades,” Mr Borsak said
In October 2018, the Liberals and Nationals quietly abolished all paper applications for firearms, without warning or consultation. All applications to obtain and renew a firearms licence and to purchase firearms must be done online via a Service NSW account.
Mr Borsak repeated his call for the NSW Government to immediately bring back a paper-based option.
He said the sad case of Bruce Cassell, a 77-year-old lifelong farmer from just outside Manildra near Orange, illustrates the cruelty of the NSW Government’s sudden reform.
Mr Cassell has spent the last two months begging NSW government agencies to provide him with a paper-based application to renew his firearms licence.
“We don’t have any Internet where we live. The NBN doesn’t reach us,” Mr Cassell said.
Mr Cassell went to Parkes Police Station and Service NSW last November to try and get a paper form to renew his firearms licence.
“They both told me they didn’t have one,” he said. “They said I had to do it online”.
“But I don’t use a computer”.
After help from SFF representatives, the NSW Firearms registry finally provided Mr Cassell with a paper form – more than two months after he first sought a renewal.
The Manildra farmer has been using guns as tools of his trade for more than 60 years.
“I need them to get rid of vermin on our property, or to put down diseased livestock”.
“There really needs to be a paper form for older fellas like us. Not everyone uses a computer”.
Mr Borsak said, "this really hurts people in the bush."
"There are still hundreds of thousands of people who do not have Internet access,”
"We've been helping people who come to us, but they shouldn't need special help to apply for a licence".
“Government should at least ensure everyone has Internet access before forcing people to apply for everything online”.
Mr Borsak said, "we urged the NSW Government to bring back paper applications late last year. We won’t ease off until they do so”.
"The election on March 23 is the perfect chance to let the Liberals and Nationals know what you think of this cruel reform".