I was filling in a form for our insurance. Apparently firearms aren't covered under house contents insurance (with this company), unless a separate form is completed and submitted.
The form isn't that onerous, I guess, there were only 5 questions:
1. "Address where the guns are normally stored" (mmm I'm applying to have it put on my contents insurance, I would have thought the address was given)
2. "Do you belong to any firearms clubs, if so, name and address". None of your business really but hey what the heck.
3. "Are the guns stored in a safe? If so list make and model". They give you one line for make and one line for model. Um, okay, this is where things are going to get tricky. We have three firearms safes. One is a custom built one (to appropriate legislative standards) which of course doesn't have a make/model. So I just wrote that "we have a number of safes which comply with appropriate legislation and have been inspected by the police under this legislation", let's see how that goes!
4. "Is the safe securely attached to the building? Please provide additional details". At least they give you four lines here, but as the safes are all attached in different ways I decided to go with "all safes are secured in accordance with relevant legislation". I NEARLY gave them the appropriate legislation to go look up but decided that was going overboard.
5. Then there are 4 lines on which we're supposed to list the make / model / serial number / bore size of each firearm and state whether or not they are licenced.
As owning an unlicensed firearm here is a criminal act I'm interested to know if there really are people who would submit all of these details for unlicensed firearms. Maybe there are?!?
Anyway, between me and my husband we have more than four guns - not the arsenal that some of my readers posses, but more than four. I filled in the information scribbling on the bottom of the sheet of paper wondering what people who had good sized arsenals did?
While I was filling in this form, I needed to get my licence - not because they ask anything about it - but because the make and serial numbers are all listed there.
I then noticed that the licence (in my Firearms Licence folder) is expired! The expiry date on it is 24 July 2010.
OH NO! Panic.
A) It is illegal to have unlicensed guns in your possession
B) You are responsible to ensure that the licence is up to date even if you have not received a renewal notice
C) The licence system here is so um, "messed" up that a lot of people are discovering that their licences are years out of date or guns have mysteriously disappeared off the piece of paper ... so I'm now thinking that I didn't get the renewal and life could get difficult
So I ring Firearms Branch - some of my longer-term readers may remember the joyous experience this has been for me in the past. I get through straight away!?! To a PERSON!?! Things are looking up.
I initially ask what the story is if you have an expired firearms licence. Apparently if it is less than 12 months expire you can just renew it - phew - however, if it is over 12 months you HAVE TO REAPPLY FROM SCRATCH!?!
(Now, I'm secretly thanking the insurance company for their stupid rules and forms).
Anyway, I ask her to check whether or not my licence is actually expired. It isn't! Apparently I renewed it 10 June last year. So now I have a paid up licence but not the piece of paper that I'm supposed to have.
So I ask her what to do? I can obtain a copy for $41.50 BUT as it is due in July and I should be getting a renewal (which is a copy of your licence to which you affix the receipt of payment) in June it really doesn't seem worth selling out $41.50.
So I decided that I'll just live without the piece of paper for (at the most) a month and hopefully won't have any issues. She concurred with this decision. (I'm guessing a copy licence would take as long to get here anyway).
One thing I've forgotten to mention is that the licence is a PIECE of paper (well for me, I know people with two or three pieces of paper). Each piece is full-sized (A4) which is a PAIN to store and carry (you need to carry it when you transport your firearms). I'm really, really, really not sure why, in this day and age, we can't have a credit card sized licence (real licence not the credit card sized Extract of Licence that we also have, don't ask) that can be put in the wallet with all the other cards and forgotten about.
I really hate having to look after a piece of paper ... not quite as much as I hate this whole licence scenario thingy anyway.
Guys, if you live somewhere without gun licence and registration FIGHT to keep it that way.