All this talk of “justification” had us wondering what would happen if an Arms Officer/inspector decided that our justification for owning an A Cat firearm was not good enough. Well it seems that our fears may be have been realised.
A member reported that he recently had his new address inspected. Here is what he told us:
“He then pulled out a form wanting to know what firearms I had, condition, serial number and why I needed it, also how much ammo I had!? When I said that’s not the law he replied ‘no it’s not law but if you refuse I’m sure the police will do an enforced inspection within a few days and may confiscate any firearms and ammunition they deem unnecessary'”
When asked what “unnecessary ammunition” meant he was told:
“ammunition that may be used in b,e or c class or more than you need” !
Wow. Confiscation of any firearm and ammunition that Police “deem” unnecessary. There it is.
On what grounds could an “enforced inspection” be carried out? Subpart 6 of the Search & Surveillance Act 2012 does allow for warrantless searches if Police have reasonable grounds to suspect that you are in breach of the Arms Act.
There is no section of the Act however that relates to “unnecessary” firearms or ammunition. There is also no requirement to provide the information requested by this inspector.
Refusal to submit to an non-mandatory request should not be considered “reasonable grounds” to be suspected of being in breach of the Act.
Similarly, license holders should not be threatened with being treated as a potential criminal in order to coerce them into complying with such a request.
Have any of you received similar treatment? If so PM us and let us know what happened. Take a photo/copy of the form too.