A man's bid to regain his guns for stock-farming purposes and sentimental reasons has been given a helping hand by a Riverina judge.
In January this year, Vincent Gregory Nowlan, 63, of Bimbi near Young, was found guilty without conviction by Young Local Court for unsafe storage of his guns between January and July 2018.
Nowlan pleaded not guilty but lost his firearms licence and had his guns seized during a police inspection in 2018.
Police found that Nowlan's gun safe weighed less than 150 kilograms and was not bolted to the ground, which breached Section 40 of the Firearms Act 1996.
Nowlan represented himself in Wagga District Court on Wednesday to appeal the decision to try to regain his guns, one of which has sentimental value as it was owned by his uncle who died in World War II.
He argued that police made two inspections at his property in 2011 and 2017 and approved his storage.
Nowland said he presumed the "tick of approval" from police during those inspections meant he could continue storing his guns in that manner.
"I felt they should've told me it wasn't up to standards on the two previous occasions," Nowlan said.
"They should've told me and gave me the opportunity to fix problems first.
"I should have never been charged."
I should have never been charged.Vincent Gregory Nowlan
Nowlan also argued that his safe was "army standard" and that there were three levels of locks, which he thought would prevent anyone without keys from accessing.
Further, Nowlan said that without his licence and guns, he recently had to use a butcher knife to euthanise two cows that were impacted by the drought.
Judge Gordon Lerve dismissed Nowlan's appeal, saying that while the police officers approved his safe in 2011 and 2017, that did not mean the police commissioner did as well.
He said the magistrate's decision was appropriate and that it must be upheld because the evidence showed that the safe did not comply with legislation.
However, he would make a recommendation to the police commissioner to consider reinstating Nowlan's firearms licence and the return of his guns.
"It seems to be grossly unfair that he should lose his firearms licence and forfeit his firearms," Judge Lerve said.
"The area in southern NSW is experiencing very severe drought.
"From time to time, he is required to euthanise farm animals and recently he was required to use a butcher's knife.
"I accept [it] would have been gruesome and distressing to him as it would be to anybody."
He said the recommendation to the police commissioner was "the best I can do for you", to which Nowlan thanked him for.
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