Peter Bunting has now been implicated in the Firearm Licensing Authority (FLA) scandal after he was named as one of the national security ministers who granted firearm permits to persons with criminal backgrounds.
Bunting, the opposition spokesman, and Robert ‘Bobby’ Montague were identified as the two national security ministers by a special Integrity Commission report. The report showed an investigation from 2012-2018 into the incriminating actions that were made in the FLA that depicted impropriety, irregularity and corruption regarding granting firearm permits to persons of questionable character.
Between 2012 and 2016, Peter Bunting had the national security portfolio, and he was replaced by Robert Montague when the administration changed up to 2018. Currently, Montague is a Minister in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation without a portfolio.
In the special report that was introduced in parliament on Tuesday, Bunting was pointed out in two instances where he, on appeal, granted firearm permits to persons who previously had their firearm user licence application denied by the FLA board.
In one of the accounts in the report, Bunting granted an applicant a firearm license permit who had a criminal background of being arrested in the United States for offences of trafficking cocaine, four counts of larceny and grand theft in the third degree.
That same applicant had their firearm user’s licence revoked by FLA in September 2012 because he misrepresented himself and was therefore no longer deemed eligible to have a firearm.
According to the report, the applicant’s criminal record was erased two years later in October 2014 and went on to explain in a letter that “Mr Peter Bunting, then minister of national security, granted the issuance of a firearm user licence”.
As a result of the applicant being approved the FLA board withdrew the 2012 revocation because the grounds on which they had previously denied the permit had become void.
Additionally, the second instance that was listed in the report stated that Bunting approved an applicant who had a record of getting arrested and charged for the offence of indecent assault.
As the report continued, it revealed that the applicant had also molested a little girl, who was related to his wife. The molestation was not reported to the police, hence there were no legal actions implemented against the applicant. The application for this application was denied in January 2012 on the basis that he was deemed unfit after being interviewed. However, the application was approved on appeal in April 2014.
According to Bunting, he said he granted the firearm user licence application to applicants based on the submissions of applicants, the reports from responsible officers and all the material in the official documents submitted to him by officials of the Ministry of National Security.