by Nadia Isa
Licensed firearms owners in South Australia will be required to self-audit their firearms as part of an update of a decades-old system. The Australia-first strategy will see SA Police contact more than 66,000 law-abiding firearm owners statewide in the coming months, asking them to conduct a self-audit of their firearms including make, model, serial number and other identifying features.
The online portal will launch today and eventually hold the most detailed information ever recorded on SA’s registered firearms. However, SSAA (SA) President David Handyside said the initiative is essentially to update an old and outdated system. “SAPOL are currently working with a 40-year-old database which is unbelievably clunky and over time has become incredibly inaccurate,” he said.
“We welcome the investment in a completely revised system as this is an attempt to update an enormous amount of old information. The essence of this is to enable the system to be put in place with reasonably accurate information. Once the new system is in place it will be possible to access that information online, where at the moment we're using pieces of paper in the mail which is hardly technology.”
Firearms owners will be required to complete the self-audit online within 28 days of receiving the request from police. “Licence holders don’t have to do anything until they receive notification from the Firearms Branch,” said officer in charge Superintendent Stephen Howard.
The new SA database will then be linked to the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission’s firearms information network, which all jurisdictions will be required to join. Supt Howard said this would provide a consistent national approach and help reduce discrepancies.
But Mr Handyside said that’s a separate issue which may not be of any advantage to the shooting community. “Inclusion in the national database is potentially a monster that will come back to bite us,” he said.
Anyone seeking more information on this process can visit the Firearms Branch webpage at https://www.police.sa.gov.au/firearms-audit