Going out with a bang

END OF AN ERA: Geoff Mitchell, pictured with his wife Margaret, is retiring as a registered firearms dealer after 45 years in the game with Victoria Police thanking him for his dedication to the industry. Picture: Rob GunstoneAFTER more than four decades as a huge fixture in the firearms community, Geoff Mitchell is calling time.

The 80-year-old Cobden resident has been a licensed gun dealer for 45 years.

He is believed to be one of the longest serving licensed firearm dealers in the Corangamite area.

He learnt his trade as an armourerin the Army when he was conscripted in 1953.

Heand his wife Margaret’s business, Mitchell’s Shooters Supplies, opened in 1970 and Mr Mitchell worked as a registered gun dealer and repairer.About 20years ago the Mitchell’s closed their Curdie Street store and operated from home.

On Thursday representatives of the Warrnambool police firearms division presented Mr Mitchell with a certificate thanking him for his dedication and commitment to improving the firearms industry.

Mr Mitchell said his interest in firearms stemmed from his father who was involved in guns and hunting.

“I grew up with firearms,” he said.

Mr Mitchell’s passion for firearms flowed into his business and he gained a great deal of satisfaction meeting and training young people.

“We used to take the local coppers once a month to the local quarry for pistol practice,” he said.“I loved the business and the people I met.”

Mr Mitchell plans tospend “every spare moment” ofhis hard earned retirement huntingand restoring veteran and vintage cars.

About 20 years ago Mr Mitchell was approached by police to volunteer as a Justice of the Peace which he has continued to do.“Nearly every day people come to you,” he said. “I get a lot of enjoyment out of it because of the people you meet.”

Warrnambool divisional firearms officer Michael Gloury said Mr Mitchell had been a credit to the firearms community along with thewider community.

“He’s been an asset for the community and the police force,” he said.

“To have a gun dealer you can trust to do the paperwork properly and register the right people, especially going back 40 years ago.”

And for the record Mr Mitchell’s favourite firearm is a side by side shotgun which he described as being built like a “good Swiss watch”.

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