Strict gun rules call
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.”