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Firearms Inquiry Affirms Need to Maintain Strong Gun Laws

27 Nov 2019

Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens Police, Fire and Emergency Management spokesperson

The evidence heard by the Firearms Inquiry in support of maintaining Tasmania’s strong gun laws that comply with the National Firearms Agreement was compelling.

Health professionals, police officers, survivors, and child safety advocates were united in their overwhelming opposition to any attempts to weaken gun laws.

While mostly sound, the Firearms Inquiry’s Report does not adequately do justice to the fact that the overwhelming number of respondents passionately spoke to uphold our strong firearms laws, and recognised the safer community we all benefit from as a result.

The tragedy at Port Arthur in 1996 still causes trauma for many individuals and the community feels its profound effects today. In its wake, the Greens were part of the tripartisan law reform effort that led to the National Firearms Agreement and the accompanying state laws that have substantially increased community safety.

We stand by the National Firearms Agreement and its central principle that gun possession and use is a privilege conditional on the overriding need to ensure public safety. We are pleased this principle is reaffirmed in the first recommendation of the Firearms Inquiry Report.

While most of the findings of the Select Committee on Firearms are sensible, it’s important to remember why this committee was formed in the first place.

Tasmanians have been forced to reaffirm we want strong gun laws because of the Liberals’ secret policy commitments to firearm owners, exposed by Greens on the eve of the 2018 State Election, which sought to seriously weaken them.

There should never have been doubt on this matter. Tasmania holds a special role in the world because we have demonstrated just how effectively strong gun laws protect public safety.

There will always be firearm owners who find some aspect of the Firearms Act 1996 to be restrictive and inconvenient, and there will be some who think minors should be granted permits. The National Firearms Agreement, however, is clear - gun use and ownership is a privilege and public safety must be put first.

 

*Our dissenting report can be found here.