Fair and Reasonable Campaign
We’ve just posted on our website answers from our lawyers at Franks Ogilvie to questions people have asked about prohibited ammo.
For example, some want to know if they can hold off handing it in until the COLFO court case rules on whether the government should be paying compensation. Sadly, the answer is basically no. Their advice is to contact the police and surrender it promptly if it is clear that your ammo is prohibited. But you should read the detail on this first.
If you can’t remember just what the Police claim is banned, their list of banned ammunition is available here – it includes all tracer ammunition, projectiles that have a steel or tungsten carbide penetrator “intended to achieve better penetration”, “armour-piercing ammunition” (defined as ammo that typically uses hardened or specialised core materials). The COLFO court case challenges the legality of including tracer, and the reference to a steel penetrator. COLFO’s case does not challenge the banning of armour piercing ammo.
If you think you have ammo that’s not prohibited, but can’t really be sure because the Order’s definitions don’t apply properly, then it may be reasonable to hold it until the law is clarified.
In any case, when you surrender it or destroy it, keep good written or photographic records of it, for a later claim for fair compensation.
The FAQ also suggests that if you think the ammo is not prohibited as defined, but the police seem to be saying that it is, you might want to avoid direct enquiry to the police to discuss the issue. Having someone else enquire might help ensure you are not an early target for a raid.
Police call centre staff are taking a pragmatic and sensible approach to deadlines and arrangements for handing the ammo in. Essentially they are ignoring the clear words of the regulations and the law. The law says there is no amnesty or leeway on timing, from 1 October. We feel sorry for these staff – having to ignore the law as written to avoid absurdity. It is never a good thing to have to commend front line police for making up the rules as they go, just to avoid having to enforce badly conceived and drafted law their bosses and the Minister refuse to fix or to discuss with COLFO.