FARMERS are being urged to check their gun licenses as the license infringement system is about to be turned back on.
Licensing Enforcement Division assistant director Trudi Angwin said for the last two years the licensing infringement system has been faulty and turned off.
Anyone who hasn't paid their renewal could have their guns seized and face a significant fine.
Ms Angwin said a number of farmers wouldn't even know the system had been turned off and she was warning people they could face a large fine.
"We are trying to get the message out there that the system is going to be turned back on in a few weeks," Ms Angwin said.
"And if you show up on the system that you have not paid your renewal, you will be fined.
"There is some confusion out there at the moment, most have their paper licence then they have their identity card.
"People need to be aware that the expiry date on the card is different to the one on the licence paper, so they need to find their licence paper and check the date."
Ms Angwin said people can pay their renewal up to 12 months after the expiry date and will not have to reapply.
"If you are overdue when we turn the system back on you will get a $400 infringement," she said.
"So we are urging people to go and check your licences, because if it is overdue they are just lucky the system hasn't been working.
"We have sent out a courtesy reminder to all gun holders."
Ms Angwin said people who were not licenced could have police coming and taking the guns from them.
"We don't want it to have to come to that," she said.
"We want people to renew their licences then we won't have to worry."
Ms Angwin said a particular date had not been set as to when the infringement system will be turned back on, but it would be some time in May.
"Go and pay your renewal," she said.
"We don't want to have to go out and seize firearms.
"We want people to be licensed.
"If you don't want the gun that's fine, but go and take it in and get rid of it.
"Because if you are found with it and you are not licenced then you can be prosecuted."
Ms Angwin said some people were nervous that if they have had a gun for 10 years and haven't been licenced and take it into a police station they will be prosecuted, but that was not the case.
"You will not be prosecuted if you bring it in, but you will be if the police have to come and get it," she said.
"People need to be proactive on this and go and pay their licences.
"It is almost like when you forget to pay your car licence or registration, some people just forget, then they have to put their car over the pits."
Shadow Police Minister Margaret Quirk said more than 5000 firearm licence holders would have to reapply following the infringement system breakdown.
Ms Quirk said instead of taking responsibility for the lapse in the licensing system the Police Minister Rob Johnson has insisted licencees have to fully reapply for their firearm licences.
"This means additional time and expense is unnecessarily incurred by owners because of an administrative oversight beyond their control," Ms Quirk said.
"If a person is unable to get through the process within 60 days they are threatened with prosecution or seizure of their firearms.
"The Minister has been warned frequently over the past 18 months that the system was in disarray but he has ignored this and refused to take decisive action."
Ms Quirk said Mr Johnson has defended the firearm licensing system, introduced in November 2009, despite delays in processing and so-called teething problems that have still not been resolved.
"Mr Johnson has to take full responsibility for his mismanagement of the system," she said.
"He needs to take full responsibility for failing to provide the police with adequate resources required for an up to date IT system."
Mr Johnson was contacted for comment but did not reply to Farm Weekly at the time of going to print.