Farm­ers wedged in gun de­bate

Tasmanian Country - - NEWS -

TAS­MA­NIAN farm­ers will shrug their shoul­ders and move on if pro­posed gun-law changes do not go through, the state’s peak farm­ing body says.

Tas­ma­nian Farm­ers and Gra­ziers As­so­ci­a­tion pres­i­dent Wayne Johnston said farm­ers were in a no-win sit­u­a­tion re­gard­ing the pro­posed pol­icy to re­lax firearm laws.

Mr Johnston said the TFGA had not “gone soft” on the is­sue but wanted sen­si­ble de­bate with­out the emo­tion.

“If we come out and say that we de­mand the Gov­ern­ment looks at these pro­pos­als and im­ple­ment them, we get ac­cused of be­ing gun-tot­ing red­necks,” he said.

“If we come out and say we re­spect the right of de­bate, we are ac­cused of go­ing soft. We’re still propos­ing these laws go ahead.”

The State Gov­ern­ment has made it clear the pro­posed gun-law changes were about help­ing farm­ers do their jobs by mak­ing it eas­ier to ac­cess Cat­e­gory C firearms, such as pump-ac­tion shot­guns.

But the changes have been op­posed by former prime min­is­ter John Howard, former pre­mier Tony Run­dle and sur­vivors of the Port Arthur mas­sacre in 1996.

When asked if the TFGA had changed its lan­guage sur­round­ing the firearm de­bate, Mr Johnston said: “Well, we are re­signed to the fact that democ­racy will play out. If these changes get up, that’s good, if they don’t, that’s life.” and rapid-fire

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