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Economic Policy Scrutiny Committee Inquiry into the Firearms Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 November 2019



Economic Policy Scrutiny Committee Inquiry into the Firearms Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 November 2019

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Tabled paper 1423


Tabled papers for 13th Assembly 2016 - 2020; Tabled papers; ParliamentNT




Tabled by Tony Sievers


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Examination of the Bill 21 prohibition order is not only to prohibit a person from having access to a firearm or firearm related item, but also to allow police sufficient powers to enforce the order. If police are unable to locate the person on whom they wish to serve a firearm prohibition order, they will be unable to use the associated powers such as search and seizure. In the event that a target is actively avoiding police, police would be deploying their usual methods and training for locating a person of interest, such as information flagging mechanisms and alerts. In the event that police are unable to find the person to issue them with a firearm prohibition order but have intelligence indicating the location of a firearm that they believe will be used for imminent violence, police have an existing power under section 97 that may justify entry and seizure. Section 97 provides for a power to search in emergencies where the circumstance[s] are of such seriousness and urgency as to require and justify immediate search and entry without the authority of a court order or warrant.21 3.26 The Committee sought additional clarification regarding the effect on the operation of the Bill of including a provision setting out alternative arrangements for service if the FPO cannot be personally served and was advised that: Allowing for service by a means other than personal service raises issues of fairness. NTPOL are cognisant of the fact that firearm prohibition orders enliven significant search powers. They are unlike other powers usually available to police. These powers are necessary to achieve the reduction of firearm related violence. The powers are ultimately a preventative power rather than a power focused on detection of firearm related offending. It is therefore necessary that any person who becomes subject to a firearm prohibition order is served personally to ensure that they are sufficiently informed of the new powers that will apply to them for the term of the order. Police do not consider service of orders by any method other than personal service, for example service by way of post, to be appropriate when considered with regard to the nature of the powers that will apply.22 Committees Comments 3.27 The Committee is satisfied with the Departments advice. Clause 6 proposed section 49K Cancellation of licences and permits 3.28 Proposed section 49K(2) provides for the cancellation of any licences, permits or certificates of registration held by a body corporate under the Firearms Act 1997. The Law Society has noted that this section would, for example, result in a pistol club having its whole licence cancelled in the event of one of its officers being the subject of an FPO. As highlighted by the Law Society: It's also not clear, in that circumstance, whether the club would have standing to challenge the order made or they would have to expel the member in question and then re-apply for their licence.23 21 Northern Territory Police Force, Responses to Written Questions, pp. 4-5, https://parliament.nt.gov.au/committees/EPSC/106-2019#TP 22 Northern Territory Police Force, Responses to Written Questions, p. 5, https://parliament.nt.gov.au/committees/EPSC/106-2019#TP 23 Submission 3 Law Society NT, p. 1. https://parliament.nt.gov.au/committees/EPSC/106-2019#TP https://parliament.nt.gov.au/committees/EPSC/106-2019#TP

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