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

Lachlan Roberts 18 March 2019 39
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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39 Responses to Police union calls for national firearms registry to help reduce gun violence
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.

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.

justmike justmike 11:45 am 16 Mar 19

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

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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