Tassie to Relax its Gun Laws

Tasmania to Relax Gun LawsPlease

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MEDIA RELEASE: 2 March 2018


Gun Control Australia (GCA) is alarmed by Tasmania’s Liberal government move to water down the states gun laws.


Roland Browne, Vice Chair of GCA and is based in Tasmania, he states, “In my view the Tasmanian Liberal Party’s firearms policy is reckless.”


“It is also astonishing because it is being pushed by the party that responded so well to the Port Arthur massacre in 1996, and by a Police Minister who so bravely reformed Tasmania’s storage laws which changes commenced on 4 December 2017.”


Mr Browne further states, “This is the same Liberal Party which moved for a National Firearms Agreement in 1996 after the Port Arthur massacre, and saw the introduction of uniform and tighter gun laws across Australia.”


“This policy will see Tasmania squarely breach the National Firearms Agreement.”


The changes include:


(a)   The Liberals want 10 year licences.  The NFA limit was 5 years (clause 34(d)). 


GCA view: This limit was set because a person’s mental and physical condition can change in 5 years.


(b)   The Liberals want to introduce infringement notices for minor storage violations and do away with confiscations of firearms from owners who commit storage offences.  The NFA required confiscation if storage requirements were breached (clause 44(b)).  


GCA view: There is no such thing as a “minor storage” violation.  If guns are not stored properly, they can be stolen and/or misused. Improperly stored guns are especially a risk to women and children in the home.  This government should have zero tolerance for storage violations.


(c)    They want to extend Cat C ownership to include (non clay) target shooters.  The NFA limited (non clay) target shooters to Cat A & B guns. Only clay target shooters could have Cat C shotguns. (Clauses 6 & 13)


GCA view:  Category C includes pump action and rapid fire shotguns. There is no competitive requirement for (non-clay) target shooters to have Cat C pump action or rapid fire shotguns.  This limitation was imposed in 1996 to ensure the minimum number of rapid fire shotguns in civilian hands.  This move will see a significant increase.


(d)   They want to create a new category of firearm, Category E.  (Clauses 24 – 29)


GCA view:  This, again, breaches the NFA.  Guns that are not in (the current) categories, A, B, C, D or H are prohibited. This can only be a precursor to making prohibited firearms available to those who would not otherwise have access, identified in the policy as “certain specialists”.  This is a breach of the NFA.  No such category of gun or user exists.


(e)   They want to introduce silencers for Category C guns in rural areas. (The NFA never contemplated this)


GCA view: The use of a silencer on rapid fire shotguns means the introduction into the community of the kind of weapon combination seen in the film “No Country for Old Men”. It presents an extreme threat to public safety.


(f)    The “tools of trade” approach reduces firearm regulation to the level of other farm tools.  (Clause 1)


GCA view: Farmers all have a right to own an axe or a shovel.  Use of a firearm is a privilege and this proposal undermines the principle of the NFA that possession of a gun is a privilege and not a right.  




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