Police union calls for national firearms registry to help reduce gun violence

Lachlan Roberts 18 March 2019 34
Some of the many firearms surrendered during the 2017 amnesty. Photo: ACT Policing.

According to Crime Statistics Australia, firearms still contribute to 17 per cent of homicides and related offences. Photo: ACT Policing.

After a spree of gun-related threats and drive-by shootings, the Australian Federal Police Association is calling for a nationwide firearms registry to help curb gun violence within the Canberra community.

In the past six weeks, ACT Policing has reported four violent firearm attacks, with two people left in hospital with gunshot wounds.

On 11 March, a woman was taken to hospital with a gunshot wound to the shoulder after a bikie-related drive-by shooting in Richardson. On 2 March, a man was taken to hospital after seven shots were fired from a rifle in a suburban street in Theodore.

On 8 February, police arrested and charged a 24-year-old man after he made threats to kill and robbed a Fyshwick business at gunpoint last month. On 4 February, three bullets were fired into a two-storey home in Kambah in a gang-related drive-by shooting.

AFPA president Angela Smith said Australia’s inconsistent approach to firearms regulation must be addressed and is calling on the major parties in the upcoming Federal Election to introduce a national firearms registry.

The AFPA believes a national register for firearms will give authorities a central point to access information to supersede the current system, where states register firearms.

“If we can stop people getting access to illegal firearms, it is going to be harder for them to do these drive-by shootings and hold-up shops,” she said. “There is no point in the ACT, NSW or Queensland acting in isolation in these laws because where the weaker laws are is where people will target the illicit trade.”

Ms Smith said that Australia’s “disjointed and inconsistent approach” to firearms legislation is a public safety issue and one that must be addressed.

“It is a national disgrace that with twenty-two years since Port Arthur, we still don’t have a national firearms registry, that people can buy ammunition for weapons that they do not own, and ammunition can be imported for weapons that are illegal.

AFPA president Angela Smith said Australia’s “inconsistent” approach to firearms regulation must be addressed. File Photo.

“The woeful legislation is making it very easy for dangerous weapons to fall into the hands of criminals. It must be stopped.

“It is clear that, for the safety of AFP officers and of the wider community, firearm regulation must be reassessed and reformed to form a more holistic safety net.”

Ms Smith said the policy is targeting illicit and criminal trade and will not to affect legal firearm owners.

“The people who are doing the right thing should not be punished for the people who are doing the wrong thing,” Ms Smith said. “This policy is about locking up crooks and not making it harder for the average joe citizen.”

AFPA said that under current legislation, a firearm owner who has a licence to possess a .22 calibre rifle can buy shotgun ammunition even if they are not licenced to own a shotgun.

The AFPA suggests that Section 65A of the NSW Firearms Act 1996 be incorporated into Federal law which stipulates that a licensed firearms dealer must not supply ammunition for any firearm to a person who is a holder of a license or permit for the firearm unless:

  • A firearm that takes the ammunition is registered in the name of the person or the person is authorised by a permit to acquire a firearm that takes the ammunition, and
  • The dealer has seen the current notice of registration issued for the firearm or the permit to acquire the firearm.

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34 Responses to Police union calls for national firearms registry to help reduce gun violence
Dan Smith Dan Smith 7:39 pm 19 Mar 19

I am really surprised there is not one system already.

John McClane John McClane 12:03 pm 19 Mar 19

Quick, we must look like we are doing something to be popular with the peasants.

Nicole Wood Nicole Wood 11:22 am 19 Mar 19

I'm certain that all of these criminals with illegal guns will rush out and register their firearms if they had a national register. 🤔

Grimm Grimm 5:33 pm 17 Mar 19

What an idiotic suggestion.

To date, the firearms registry hasn’t prevented or solved a single instance of gun related violence. It has been a multi-billion dollar failure to do anything. This is the exact reason Canada scrapped theirs.

Amazingly, criminals don’t register their guns, or care about any laws you put in place. They aren’t buying guns that have come into the country legally. This is nothing more than taking another swipe at law abiding gun owners to hide the fact that the police are completely failing to do anything about the gang problem.

Nice attempt by Angela Smith to shift focus from her associations members failing at their job. More ridiculous gun laws and underhanded blame shifting oughta hide it.

Go find some traffic to play in.

Max Moore Max Moore 11:47 am 17 Mar 19

So how exactly is the national firearms registry, a body for recording and tracking legal transfer and ownership of firearms supposed to help fight illegal gun crime? The guns used by criminals are not registered, legal or tracked. How completely out of touch is the Police union that they think an already overburdened organisation can help fight something they have exactly no power over?

Robyne Mitchell Robyne Mitchell 7:59 am 17 Mar 19

The Firearms Registry needs to get the records accurate and keep them up to date that is where the problem lies.

Sam Baker Sam Baker 7:03 am 17 Mar 19

The guns being used in these attacks are not registered in any state. That is the problem.


Australia need harsher penalties for gun violence. Not the penalise gun owners that do the right thing

Matt Baker Matt Baker 6:12 am 17 Mar 19


Tell me how’s this going to Kerb gun crime🤷‍♂️🤷‍♂️🤷‍♂️

Richard Vlazlovski Richard Vlazlovski 6:11 pm 16 Mar 19

Once again, they'll target the honest, lawful people instead of the people who illegally have guns. All ties in with disarming our nation and keeping our citizens week and unable to stand up for themselves against our corrupt governments, present and future.

    Peter Brady Peter Brady 7:20 pm 16 Mar 19

    Yep, gone too far, wait for it the Greens will actually find someone with half a brain and start on death imp lements. How many people died due to motor vehicle accidents? How many people died from industrial accidents? How many people died fron sharp implements? BAN the Lot and start ahagain in the stone age. Wait people get hit with clubs and spears. We are stuffed!!!!

    Richard Vlazlovski Richard Vlazlovski 7:22 pm 16 Mar 19

    Peter Brady very true.

Christopher Mawbey Christopher Mawbey 4:22 pm 16 Mar 19

Already there. The legal firearms are not the problem.

There must be a hole in the border Some where.

Spiral Spiral 3:45 pm 16 Mar 19

The two points about buying ammunition make complete sense.

Why should someone be able to buy ammunition for a firearm they don’t legally own?

The only people that the change would hurt would be the people trying to break the law.

Why would anyone oppose that amendment unless they intend on buying such ammunition?

I’m a believer in people owning firearms and think it is a pity that there is such a stigma against them. Target shooting is one of the few sports where women and men can complete on an equal footing, and I believe hunting can play a role in managing feral animsls.

But sometimes shooters are their own worst enemies.

Support this suggested change. It makes sense.

James Jordan James Jordan 2:20 pm 16 Mar 19

Seriously we in effect already have this. Every state and territory has a register which all the police forces have access to.

    Andrew Remely Andrew Remely 3:10 pm 16 Mar 19

    I think point being made in the article is the police don't think the current state based approch is working.

    James Jordan James Jordan 3:38 pm 16 Mar 19

    Andrew Remely and yet they still can't demonstrate how this or any of the other laws introduced do anything more than punish law abiding firearm owners. As demonstrated during the parliamentary inquiry. Legal firearm, that have been stolen, represents less than 1% of those used in criminal activities. In relation to deaths by firearm, including those obtained illegality, the vast majority are as a result of suicide. Which is actually same in the US.

    Andrew Remely Andrew Remely 3:58 pm 16 Mar 19

    Agreed most gun death are suicides by licensed guns. And if you take suicide out the stats then most gun crime is committed by licensed gun owner.

    "In Australia, a licensed firearm owner was the killer in 9.4% to 21% of gun homicides each year."


    Also when the police union speaks you have to gab a few grains of salt.

    James Jordan James Jordan 4:08 pm 16 Mar 19

    Andrew Remely those are some very fluffy with a lot of bias. Especially when different data ranges and countries are used to for a conclusion. Can I suggest a less bias source of raw data https://aic.gov.au/publications/cfi. One interesting point to take from this is that deaths by firearm were reducing well before the introduction of the laws after President Arthur but have stayed steady since.

    Andrew Remely Andrew Remely 4:39 pm 16 Mar 19

    Found this which points out it's a lot more complex then a single data base.


    Andrew Remely Andrew Remely 4:51 pm 16 Mar 19

    Re you point about port auther

    Not sure if that is the case. Looks like it was bit bumpy before 1996. And then a clear downward trend. Fig 9 in


Corey Karl Corey Karl 1:50 pm 16 Mar 19

Yep those bikies and crooks will be the first to hand theirs in !!!! Idiots !!!

Melanie Wisefisherman Melanie Wisefisherman 1:00 pm 16 Mar 19

How about anti-consorting laws? More likely to have an impact on all this bikie related violence than a gun registry I would have thought. When’s the next ACT election?

    Nick Stone Nick Stone 2:34 pm 16 Mar 19

    Melanie Wisefisherman

    The AFP have tried to get the ACT government to introduce it but the ACT government signed under the Human Rights charter. Anti-consorting laws are working in other states and because of that, suddenly Canberra has had an increase in bikie related incidents!

    Melanie Wisefisherman Melanie Wisefisherman 4:33 pm 18 Mar 19

    I know nick. And I’ve been given the ‘we don’t need it and it would be bad’ run around by our local MLA. I’ve been told that the CFMEU oppose it (I wonder why? 🤔🤔🤔) and they have the upper hand in the ACT. I’m going to vote liberal for the first time in my life of Labor doesn’t get its act together and the Libs promise to bring the law in ASAP.

Scott Welsh Scott Welsh 12:37 pm 16 Mar 19

Gun violence is incredibly rarely carried out by licensed firearms owners, this will literally do nothing. More resources and powers into law enforcement including AFP and Border Force to target the illegal importation and possession of firearms is the only way forward. Even the former QLD police commissioner stated that. But it’s easier to target the law abiding in order to be seen to be doing something than to actually do something.

    Andrew Remely Andrew Remely 2:56 pm 16 Mar 19

    Plenty of research showing perturbators of domestic violence either have gun license or being able to get a gun license re-instated. 11% domestic violence related homicide involved fire arms (are these all un licensed I suspect not).

    Just to be really clear here… is your point "men who perpetrate domestic violence are not criminals"?

    Andrew Remely Andrew Remely 3:47 pm 16 Mar 19

    "Gun violence is incredibly rarely carried out by licensed firearms owners"

    Scott can you point me to evidence to back your statement?

    I did a quick Google. Not hard to find credible well researched articles that state most gun crime is carried out by licenced gun owners.

    Margaret Welsh Margaret Welsh 4:02 pm 17 Mar 19

    However, prior to our gun laws being introduced, there were more shootings related to domestic violence - a gun at hand when self control is lost. I agree that these days legally registered firearms are rarely involved in crimes. I think that better management of the illegal importing and sale of firearms would certainly help.

Paul South Paul South 12:35 pm 16 Mar 19

Does any body realy think that these gun crimes are committed with registered firearms ? ... really !

Wade Bermingham Wade Bermingham 12:27 pm 16 Mar 19

i thought we already had one but i could see the police using it as a excuse to kick in doors of people who let their license lapse a day

    Andrew Remely Andrew Remely 3:05 pm 16 Mar 19

    What's the problem? You have an unlicensed gun you're a criminal. So the police should be going after you.

justmike justmike 11:45 am 16 Mar 19

More guns now than before John Howards buyback. It’s only a matter of time!

Daniel Duncan Daniel Duncan 11:41 am 16 Mar 19

So do you think the criminals with the guns will hand them in this time? or is this to get the guns out of Law abiding citizens?

Gilavon Gilavon 11:14 am 16 Mar 19

When will people realise any kind of registry is not going to stop drive-by shootings and other criminal use of firearms? The idea might work if the crims decide to declare and register the firearms in their possession but don’t hold your breath waiting for that.

Further limitations and restrictions will only affect we LAFO’s (Law Abiding Firearm Owners) and what will that produce? It will produce further disrespect for our law-makers, the Police, a sycophantic media, sensationalist anti-gun types and that part of the general public apathetic to further legislative encroachment.

It will also mean LAFO’s will take matters into their own hands, we discard belief and trust in the established political grouping and establish our own (SF&F) and further strengthen our main interest group the Sporting Shooters Association of Australia, now approaching national membership of 200,000 across Australia.

The likes of AFPA President Angela Smith are dreaming if they think their national registry will reduce firearms crime.

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