Senator Sherene Golding Campbell
The parliamentary committee reviewing the new Firearms Act is moving to prevent the improper approval of firearm licences after they are initially denied by the board of the Firearm Licensing Authority (FLA).
The FLA has been embroiled in controversy over the issuing of licences, with claims and counterclaims in recent months of corruption in the process by the current head of the FLA and past board members.
An Integrity Commission report in March stated that 33 licences were granted to ex-convicts between 2016 and 2018, many of them after an initial refusal.
In some instances no appeals were filed.
On Wednesday, the Joint Select Committee examining the Firearms Act discussed at length how to prevent a recurrence.
Senator Sherene Golding Campbell noted that current provisions in the Bill do not properly capture the offence.
She argued that approving an application without any additional information after it had already been denied by the authority was tantamount reversing a court decision.
Furthermore, Senator Golding Campbell insisted that "if any board member acts to reverse its own decision without any application before it then the board member acts in contravention of the Act".
It was later decided that a clause should be inserted into the Act to specifically criminalise the act of reversing decisions on the granting of a licence without a formal appeal being launched.
The Act also makes any licence granted under such circumstances null and void.