ACT Government proposes tougher gun laws to fight organised crime

Lachlan Roberts 17 May 2019 18
Some of the many firearms surrendered to during the 2017 amnesty. Photo: ACT Policing.

Mr Ramsay said the proposed changes to the Bill will help police and prosecutors hold those who illegally possess firearms accountable. File Photo

The ACT Government has brushed aside the opposition’s attempts to introduce new anti-consorting legislation and have instead proposed tougher gun laws to battle organised crime and bikie gangs in the territory.

The Crimes Legislation Amendment Bill 2019, which was introduced to the Legislative Assembly on Thursday (16 May) by Attorney-General Gordon Ramsay, will tighten firearm laws and help police confiscate proceeds of organised crime in the ACT.

Mr Ramsay said the proposed changes to the Firearms Act 1996 will help police and prosecutors hold those who illegally possess firearms accountable, stating it was an important part of Government’s “comprehensive strategy to combat organised crime”.

Though current ACT firearm laws make it an offence for a person to use or possess a firearm without authorisation by an ACT licence or permit, prosecution must prove the defendant does not hold a licence or permit anywhere else in the country.

The prosecution is required to seek evidence from every other jurisdiction, and lead this at trial.

Even with this information, Mr Ramsay said it is complex to get it admitted, due to the fact that all the information is second-hand and not covered by evidentiary certificates under the Firearms Act 1996.

Mr Ramsay said the ACT’s gun laws needed to be reformed to stop people from using technical arguments to delay or prevent prosecution when they are caught with illegal firearms.

“This is a straightforward and reasonable change to prevent firearms crime from being unaddressed due to legal technicalities, ensuring the proper operation of the justice system and effective community protection,” Mr Ramsay said on Thursday afternoon.

“Robust laws against the possession or use of illegal firearms are an important part of keeping Canberra safe, particularly from organised crime.”

The bill reforms also support new arrangements between the Commonwealth and States and Territories to fight organised crime by depriving criminals of the proceeds of crime. Mr Ramsay said both reforms will make criminals think twice before expanding their operations in the territory.

“Our intent is clear – we will go after and take away what organised crime groups need to operate in the ACT,” Mr Ramsay said.

“All these changes to existing legislation will strengthen public safety in our community and help police and prosecutors to bring organised crime groups to justice.”

ACT Minister for Police and Emergency Services Mick Gentleman welcomed the new laws.

“Canberra is a safe city but it does not mean we are immune from crime. Over the last few years, we have provided additional funding and resources to ACT Policing to specifically target organised crime groups and these new laws will further strengthen this effort,” Mr Gentleman said.

“The ACT has an effective police taskforce and solid intelligence that means there is nowhere for members of organised crime groups to hide.”

Opposition spokesman Jeremy Hanson, who has introduced anti-consorting legislation to the Assembly on several occasions, said the lack of anti-consorting laws in the ACT was still an issue for the Canberra Liberals.

“Without anti-consorting laws, the measures proposed by the Government may be of some use, but is like putting extra locks on the front door while leaving the back door wide open,” Mr Hanson said.

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18 Responses to ACT Government proposes tougher gun laws to fight organised crime
Katrina Williams Katrina Williams 3:26 pm 19 May 19 wonder they lost the election 🤔

    Leos Nikias Leos Nikias 9:06 am 22 May 19

    Katrina Williams

    It's the local government not federal!

    Katrina Williams Katrina Williams 7:45 pm 22 May 19

    Leos Nikias...thanks for the heads up on the election. Labor is labor whether it's local or federal and either way they just don't listen to the people 👍

Sazzad Masud Khandakar Sazzad Masud Khandakar 9:41 am 19 May 19

Guns are not the main problem here. Problem is drugs and other illegal underground businesses.

Daniel Duncan Daniel Duncan 1:27 am 19 May 19

How many lawful gun users been involved in these crimes? How many were legal weapons?

Mick Johnson Mick Johnson 8:50 pm 18 May 19

do you think the criminals get their guns in the ACT, the government must be stupid.

Camm Camm 7:06 pm 18 May 19

If I read this correctly, this change is happening because governments and police can’t do their jobs and share data?

Sean Cryer Sean Cryer 6:52 pm 18 May 19

As long as they don’t target law abiding firearm owners.

Melanie Wisefisherman Melanie Wisefisherman 6:34 pm 18 May 19

A distraction to stop people from calling for the anti-consorting laws that have been so effective in other states that we’ve had an influx of bikies here. When’s the next ACT election again?

Veronika Sain Veronika Sain 6:25 pm 18 May 19

They should still go much further and learn from other states successes and introduce anti consorting laws. We're currently a safe haven in the middle of NSW for bikie gangs and the wars that are occurring here are due to new gangs trying to take over established gang “territory”.

The increase of drugs in the territory and associated crime is not acceptable.

    Leos Nikias Leos Nikias 9:13 am 22 May 19

    Veronika Sain

    The ACT Government signed up with the Human Rights charter. So what that means is people/ organizations involved in criminal activity will be far more protected.

Paul South Paul South 5:08 pm 18 May 19

Oh yes .. lets make it realy hard for law abiding citizens . Whist the Victorian police ' miss placed' 150 firearm ...

    Rob Thomas Rob Thomas 5:48 pm 18 May 19

    Paul and if the Act was in Victoria you'd be making some kind of point

    Paul South Paul South 9:10 pm 18 May 19

    Soo stolen guns dont come over the border ? Dont be naive. Guns used in ACT drive by's have been recovered in W.A

    Dan Gain Dan Gain 9:11 pm 18 May 19

    About bloody time....😠

Kathy Schneider Kathy Schneider 4:33 pm 18 May 19

About time!

Grimm Grimm 8:12 am 18 May 19

Again with more gun laws? The only people this will impact are the people already doing the right thing. How idiotic. Suppose you have to be seen to be doing something, so picked the easiest target again which does nothing about the issue. It’s already illegal to use or possess a firearm without a license.

We really need to get rid of this pathetic Government which is ACT Labour.

    Gilavon Gilavon 3:19 pm 18 May 19

    It’s the Greens, you know what they’re like. Every other jurisdiction in Australia adopts the anti consorting model but the ACT government is too afraid. Too many bikies are associated with CFMMEU and the ACT government lacks the fortitude to come down hard on the Comrades.

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