FLA goes hunting - Agency seeks 3,000 licensed firearm holders not certified during recent amnesty
The Firearm Licensing Authority (FLA) is working with the police in a house-to-house search for licensed firearm holders who have failed to present their guns for inspection, renewal and certification.
In June, the FLA announced an amnesty to allow firearm holders to get up to date without fear of prosecution. But more than 3,000 firearm holders failed to take advantage of the amnesty, and CEO of the agency, Shane Dalling, says it is time for action.
"The compliance drive was implemented to ensure that we could account for all firearms and the whereabouts of the licensed holders. That is, to find out if they were dead, in prison, of unsound mind or if the firearm was lost, stolen, or given away. It was a move to strengthen the accountability of the organisation and its operations," said Dalling.
"Over the period of the compliance drive, more than 1,200 licensed firearms were inspected. Many, which were issued by the police, before the existence of the FLA, were ballistic-tested for the first time. The FLA opened on Saturdays just to facilitate the process," added Dalling.
According to Dalling, the FLA is still urging persons to present their firearms for inspection and certification, as it is a criminal offence not to do so each year.
He noted that the penalty for persons who fail to present their firearms each year is up to 12 months' imprisonment or $200,000.
He noted that the FLA collected approximately $17 million during the six weeks of the amnesty and this money will be used to implement the digitisation of the agency and the implementation of new technological infrastructure.
"The FLA will be digitising the records and will contact the firearm holder immediately after the date for his renewal passes. Further, the FLA will be implementing fingerprint and facial-recognition machines at all its locations to prevent persons with criminal records and dual identities from getting guns," said Dalling.