Opinion by Samuel Smith
I have a hunting friend, perhaps 50 years of age or so, who was stripped of his firearms licence by police, following a complaint from his wife at the time of a marriage separation the angry aftermath. The chap as a keen and ethical hunter was devastated.
But then some time later, after angry feelings had subsided, the former wife told police she had made the complaint in the ”heat of the moment” and requested D’s firearm license be reinstated.
The police refused. D is still without his legal right to own a firearm and go hunting.
This sort of case is the reason why police should not be the body to decide who is “fit and proper” to own a firearm for lawful purposes.
A retired doctor friend, who is an active outdoorsman, agrees.
“Yes, I do question the ability and entitlement of government employees to decide who is or is not fit and proper”” he told me.
As he pointed out from his medical expertise “These people i.e. police, are not psychiatrists or experts in assessing the character and “fitness” of others to have firearms.”
In fact cases like D prompted him to add “They are just government employees instructed to look for excuses to deny people the privilege of legally owning firearms.”
Their judgements are not supported by factual evidence that would overcome the presumption of innocence by a jury of our peers he said.
They are merely the opinion of one person about another.
“If a firearms license is denied then this decision ought to be based on factual objective evidence that the applicant has been convicted of serious offences in the past and has not repented and reformed her or his self.”
Relying on the opinion of a government employee (i.e. police officer)who is biased by the culture of the enterprise he works for, is not appropriate.