Our Readers' Opinions
March 11, 2016
Increase in gun licences not only discriminatory, but unfair

Editor: Reference the comments by Mr Francis in your issue of 01/03 regarding the increase in the price for permits for licensed firearms, as the owner of a legally owned pistol I feel I must respond to his rather puerile comments.{{more}}

He is correct in his approximation of cost regarding the purchase of new pistols. However, what also needs to be added to his comments is the fact that if correctly maintained, such a pistol would be in operating condition for at least 10 years.

By his own figures then, this would put cost of the weapon at between $250 to $350 per year, as opposed to the amount of $5,000 paid in licence fees over the same period. This is not only discriminatory, but unfair.

Using his same argument regarding pistol costs in that if one can afford a pistol, then one can afford the licence, would he use this same premise to operate a multi-tiered similar system for the taxing of motor vehicles? In that those who are fortunate enough to be able to afford high end luxury vehicles such as BMW Mercedes and Lexus pay a higher tax rate than those of us who own less prestigious vehicles?

In the same vein, his comments regarding the purchase of ammunition need to be defined; the purchase of ammunition is no different to the purchase of any other sporting article. In the same way that competitors need to purchase and renew football, tennis or any other piece of sporting equipment. To again make a motor vehicle comparison, would he justify a 100 per cent increase in motor tax by saying “well, you have to put petrol in the vehicle, maintain it and replace the tyres, so you can afford this increase”?

I have no objection to paying an increase in my firearms licence fee, so long as it is fair and commensurate with the percentage increase levied against similar items, the increase in driving licence fees, for example.

This 100 per cent increase is further unjustified if the mechanics of renewal are considered; at the time of my renewal, I purchase the required revenue stamps, then walk to the traffic office and have my licence endorsed with this payment.

This takes all of 20 minutes; does Mr Francis consider that these 20 minutes of officialdom justify a fee of $500?

One other factor needs to be considered in this matter, in that while the shooting range is well supported and proving to be a popular sporting venue, there are many legal owners of pistols who do not participate in this facility.

The reason for this, I assume, is that these persons have purchased a firearm solely for personal or business protection and have no faith in the Government being able to protect its citizens to any degree.

I feel it would be far better for all concerned if Mr Francis focused not only on the former comment, but directed his efforts against those persons who possess illegal weapons, rather than those of us who have complied with the law.

A very disgruntled pistol owner