Shooting lobby groups have launched legal action against what they claim are "antagonising threats" to cancel the licenses of firearm owners who breach COVID-19 restrictions.
On Friday night, Victoria Police sent an e-mail to licensed firearm holders, warning them their licence "could be suspended, cancelled, or may be subject to a reprimand which could harm any future licensing", should they breach the Chief Health Officer's directives.
The National Shooting Council - a self-described political lobby group for shooting sports - has since started legal proceedings.
"Within hours of the announcement, we met with our barrister to discuss the legal validity of (the Licensing and Regulation Division's) actions and sought a legal opinion on what could be done," the council said in a statement.
"The good news is that there is a real opportunity for us to test the legal boundaries of what the police think they can do - and hopefully put an end to antagonising threats like this."
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The NSC claims an unnamed shooter allegedly had their licence suspended, under the threat of cancellation, for breaching stage three restrictions.
"'R' is a young tradie whose only 'crime' was to visit a mate in July, contrary to the directions during the stage three restrictions. Yes, it was a breach - but it is hardly a hanging offence," the NSC said.
"Someone needs to hold the police to account - and that's what the NSC is about to do.
"This is going to be a big fight for shooters who are sick and tired of VicPol's attacks on shooters because it has the potential to draw boundaries of what is relevant to keeping a licence.
"What you're seeing now, is an even more amateurish behaviour by a regulator that needs to be the opposite. That's why we've drawn a line in the sand."
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Shooters Union of Australia president Graham Park criticised Victoria Police's decision, saying there "was no connection whatsoever between people being out after an arbitrary curfew or not social distancing enough and being unsafe with firearms".
"Will they be taking the driver's licences off people who breach CHO directions to stop them driving more than 5km from home or fleeing the police state Victoria has become?" he asked.
"Will the Victorian government be revoking people's "working with children" cards if they breach the CHO regulations? Why not? After all, using the same logic displayed by LRD, someone who can't be trusted to obey curfew/social distancing/mask wearing directions etc also can't be trusted not to behave inappropriately around children.
"Since that's clearly not true, neither is the idea that licensed shooters can't be trusted with guns because they may have breached draconian CHO directions."
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The Victorian branch of the Sporting Shooters Association of Australia said it was looking into the cases of firearm owners who'd allegedly had their licences challenged after breaching stage four restrictions.
"Again we've been made a cheap scapegoat to be kicked in the guts. (Firerarms owners) of all people are probably the most legally and socially responsible in Australia - we have to be by law," SSAA national CEO Tim Bannister said.
The SSAA previously questioned why "the same standards and demands (are) not made of Victorians in other sports or recreational pursuits".
"Don't get us wrong, we support the directives issued by the Victorian CHO, we're just baffled by why firearms are constantly being targeted," a statement read.
"It seems like an emotional response when all we've ever asked for is logical and fact-based policymaking."
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