Strict gun rules call

Mercury (Hobart) - - FRONT PAGE - DAVID KILLICK Po­lit­i­cal Edi­tor

THERE should be no changes to Tas­ma­nia’s gun laws un­less they are con­sis­tent with the National Firearms Agree­ment, a par­lia­men­tary com­mit­tee has rec­om­mended. The House of Assem­bly Se­lect Com­mit­tee on Firearms Leg­is­la­tion and Pol­icy’s fi­nal re­port made 15 rec­om­men­da­tions, in­clud­ing any changes to rules around si­lencers should be agreed na­tion­ally.

THERE should be no changes to Tas­ma­nia’s gun laws un­less they are con­sis­tent with the National Firearms Agree­ment, a par­lia­men­tary com­mit­tee has rec­om­mended.

The House of Assem­bly Se­lect Com­mit­tee on Firearms Leg­is­la­tion and Pol­icy handed down its fi­nal re­port yes­ter­day.

It made 15 rec­om­men­da­tions, in­clud­ing that any changes to li­cens­ing and rules around si­lencers should be agreed na­tion­ally, rather than at a state level.

The 1996 NFA, ham­mered out af­ter the Port Arthur mas­sacre, placed tight re­stric­tions on the own­er­ship of fully and semi-au­to­matic weapons and im­posed new rules around own­ing and us­ing firearms.

The com­mit­tee was es­tab­lished to look into a Lib­eral Party promise to shoot­ing groups that it would re­view gun laws, re­vealed in the fi­nal days of the last state elec­tion.

Premier Will Hodg­man sub­se­quently said he would not make any changes which breached the NFA.

The com­mit­tee’s fi­nal re­port said the is­sue was one which many Tas­ma­ni­ans felt strongly about.

“The Com­mit­tee ac­knowl­edges that the Port Arthur mas­sacre in 1996 still causes trauma and pain for those who ex­pe­ri­enced it ... [and] recog­nises that Aus­tralia’s and specif­i­cally Tas­ma­nia’s gun laws are in­ter­na­tion­ally-recog­nised for pro­tect­ing public safety,” it said. “The Com­mit­tee con­sid­ers that any changes to Tas­ma­nia’s leg­is­la­tion must com­ply with the National Firearms Agree­ment.

“The Com­mit­tee does not sup­port align­ing Tas­ma­nia’s laws with other ju­ris­dic­tions if that re­sults in a breach of the National Firearms Agree­ment.”

The re­port re­jected a Gov­ern­ment plan to cre­ate a Firearms Own­ers Coun­cil to pro­vide ad­vice to the Min­is­ter for Po­lice and the Gov­ern­ment

“The Com­mit­tee does not sup­port to cre­ation of a broad­based con­sul­ta­tive group,” it said.

Tas­ma­nia has the high­est rate of firearms own­er­ship in Aus­tralia with 16.41 reg­is­tered firearms per 100 peo­ple.

Po­lice Min­is­ter Mark Shel­ton said the Gov­ern­ment was re­view­ing the re­port.

“Tas­ma­nia’s firearms laws are among the tough­est in the world and the Gov­ern­ment will not do any­thing to weaken the National Firearms Agree­ment,” he said.

The Vice Pres­i­dent of Gun Con­trol Aus­tralia Roland Browne said public safety needed to be the top pri­or­ity of law­mak­ers: “The ma­jor­ity of the com­mit­tee fails to see that the gun lobby are out of step with community sen­ti­ment.”

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