The Problem

NZ Shooting

Statement on the New Zealand massacre Gun Control Australia offers our thoughts and condolences to all Muslim communities across the pacific and to all New Zealanders affected by this senseless act of violence. From our work we know that the road ahead will be a long and hard one for both those directly involved, and for the nation as a whole.  This act is a stark reminder that one of the most basic freedoms of all communities both here and across the pacific is the right to live without fear of gun violence. We are deeply saddened that the Australian citizen involved in the attack obtained a gun licence and high-powered firearms to inflict unspeakable grief on a specific community. There is still a lot we don’t know about the incident and how 28-year-old Brenton Tarrant came to acquire a New Zealand gun licence and five guns: two semi-automatics rifles, two shotguns and a lever action firearm. We also don’t know if he holds a New South Wales gun licence. GCA will be making a further statement once additional information becomes avaliable. A Fact Sheet about the disparity between New Zealand gun laws and those of other developed nations can be accessed here: Gunpolicy.org    With deepest sympathy Samantha Lee PresidentGun Control Australia  

Media Release: 2019 NSW Report Card

  New data reveals alarming proliferation of guns in New South Wales The number of guns in New South Wales has now broken through the 1 million-mark, new data obtained under access to information laws reveals.  The number of registered firearms now totals 1,007,786 – an increase of nearly 90,000 in just over two years. With a population approaching 8 million, this means there is now one registered firearm for every eight NSW citizens. The overwhelming majority are hunting rifles and shotguns, including lever-action shotguns.       New data revealed in report launched today The damning analysis of State gun laws is revealed in a new ‘NSW Report Card’ released today by Gun Control Australia, along with 14 recommendations for the major parties to put community safety first in the lead up to the State election.   The Report Card contains exclusive new data on gun ownership, gun crime (including domestic violence), stolen firearms, and gun lobby political donations. “Many people don’t realise that our world leading gun laws are being dismantled as a result of decades of pressure from the well-funded and powerful gun lobby,” Gun Control Australia President Sam Lee said. There are 100 individuals across NSW who own private gun arsenals with more than 70 firearms. One person (not a collector or gun dealer) in Sydney’s south-east owns a huge private cache of 305 guns.  A resident in Mosman, on Sydney’s lower north shore, owns 285 guns.  “The alarming proliferation of guns is a direct result of politicians doing the bidding of the gun lobby, with the result that it is now all too easy to get a gun in NSW.” “As gun numbers increase, community safety is being compromised.  Politicians need to remember their decisions can have a devastating real-world impact on the lives of ordinary people.”   Breaches of the National Firearms Agreement The analysis also reveals that NSW is the worst offender in terms of non-compliance with the National Firearms Agreement – the landmark pact all states and territories signed up for after the 1996 Port Arthur Massacre.  “NSW gun laws breach the National Firearms Agreement 11 times, including by allowing silencers, removing the need to provide a reason to acquire additional firearms, and having no limits on ammunition purchases,” Ms Lee said. “We are concerned that community safety is being compromised as a result of backroom political deals done to appease minor parties, which are out of step with the overwhelming majority of Australians who want to see sensible and uniform gun restrictions.”   Illegal hunting  The increase in the overall number of firearms is being driven in part by loose restrictions on recreational hunting, which make up around two-thirds of all genuine reasons in New South Wales.   In breach of the National Firearms Agreement which allows only one ‘genuine reason’ as the basis for a licence application (proof of permission from a land owner), NSW laws allow recreational hunting applicants to choose from a number of ‘genuine reasons’. “We recognise that certain people within the community, including livestock farmers, have a legitimate reason to own a firearm.  However, illegal hunting by inexperienced recreational shooters poses a risk to animal welfare and community safety, including rural landowners who have not given permission for shooting to occur on their property.” “Despite government efforts such as the Shut the gate on illegal hunting program, the problem continues to be a major scourge on rural communities.  There is a dire need for better regulation of recreational hunting licences.”    Major parties should prioritise community safety The Report Card calls on both major parties to put community safety first by:  Limiting the number of guns per licence holder to two each, save for special need or genuine collectors. Requiring recreational hunting licence applicants to renew their licence annually. Asking the Auditor-General to conduct a performance audit into the regulation of recreational hunting and hunting clubs in NSW. Requiring the NSW Firearms Registry to conduct mandatory annual audits of all gun clubs to ensure legislative compliance. Establishing an information sharing system between the NSW Firearm Registry and the Family Law Courts. Asking the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) to conduct research into gun ownership and storage and the use of guns in domestic violence. Placing semi-automatic handguns in the same firearm category as semi-automatic long arms. Making it an offence for people with a blood alcohol reading greater than .05 to carry a firearm. Removing the right to shoot unlicensed at gun clubs. Removing minors permits so that only people aged 18 years and over may possess and/or own a firearm. Banning donations from the arms industry and gun lobby groups to political parties and candidates. Refusing to preference parties advocating for the further loosening of gun laws, including the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party, and One Nation. Bringing NSW gun laws into full compliance with the National Firearms Agreement. Ensuring the NSW Firearms Registry has the funds and resources to implement the recommendations outlined in the NSW Auditor-General’s Report, ‘Firearms regulation’, released on 28 February 2019. We have today written to both major parties calling on them to adopt our policy positions, and we will be sharing their responses (or non-responses) the week before the NSW election. About Gun Control Australia Gun Control Australia is the representative body for the majority of Australians who support uniform, effective and sensible firearm legislation and policy.  While we recognise that there is a place for firearms for certain purposes, we believe our community deserves to live without fear of gun violence, and we need to be vigilant to ensure Australia’s gun laws remain current and effective.  

GCA Wins Case Against Tasmanian Premier!

GCA Wins - Right to Information - Case Against Tasmanian Premier in Supreme Court Yesterday 8 February 2019, Justice Michael Brett of the Supreme Court of Tasmania, found the decision by the Premier, Hon. William Hodgman to refuse Gun Control Australia (GCA) access to advice about proposed changes to Tasmanian gun laws  was wrong. Justice Brett ordered the Premier's decision be set aside and for a new decision be made in accordance with the law. Justice Michael Brett stated, "At the most basic level of the argument, because the Premier referred to this advice in partial justification of the Government's position, it is impossible for the public to assess that question and legitimately oppose or support the Government's position in debate without being privy to that advice." In March 2018, GCA sought advice from the then Police Minister, Rene Hidding, saying the proposed changes to gun laws would not contravene the National Firearms Agreement (NFA), which was introduced following the 1996 Port Arthur massacre. On 30 April 2018, GCA was informed it had been denied access to the advice because the documents are of a “consultative nature” and granting access would be contrary to the “public interest” and “prohibit the frank exchange of views." Ms Lee, President of GCA states, “This is a win for an open and transparent Tasmanian Government where decisions that would have a detrimental impact on public safety are not made behind closed doors without any public scrutiny.” Roland Browne, Vice President of GCA and Tasmanian Spokesperson, states, “The Supreme Court has basically said that the Act (RTI) means what it says, that it points towards a release of information to better inform the public and these kinds of public interest considerations that feed into how decisions are made to be taken seriously.” Click here to see copy of judgment:https://www.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdoc/au/cases/tas/TASSC//2019/3.html