Territory Stories

Debates Day 3 - Thursday 19 June 2003



Debates Day 3 - Thursday 19 June 2003

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Parliamentary Record 13


Debates for 9th Assembly 2001 - 2005; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 9th Assembly 2001 - 2005




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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory

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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES - Thursday 19 June 2003 Individuals who have circumvented legislation will be least likely to be affected if further restrictions on firearm ownerships are introduced. There is an enormous amount of controversy. There have been several studies, and several attempts to regulate the industry, from banning firearms completely to a whole number of ranges in between. The Sporting Shooters Association issued a press release on 24 June 2002, clearly stating that sporting shooters support police on the illegal gun strategy - that is, putting more resources into dealing with the illegal use of firearms and making sure that they are not trafficked, so that it is difficult or, hopefully, impossible for people to illegally bring firearms into Australia. The tragedy in Melbourne, of course, had an effect on the nation - it certainly was a tragedy. However, it has been the view of some sporting shooters that the kneejerk response by politicians who do not understand the subject matter, has been incorrect. The CLP has stood up for firearm owners in the past. It is this spineless Labor government which has not only caved in, but has also tried to ratchet up the bureaucratic paperwork associated with becoming a lawful firearm owner. I see that particular provision is not going to proceed, but there was an attempt to introduce a provision which will require hand gun owners - H Class firearm applicants - to provide fingerprints. That was not part of the COAG deal, but something which this particular government tried to slip in on the back of the raft of reforms which they agreed to through COAG. They cannot try and blame the other states or the Commonwealth in this particular instance; they tried to put lawful applicants into a category where they are treated like criminals and would be required to give fingerprints to the police. As I said, there is an amendment. There has been some lobbying by the member for Braiding, as well as a recent amendment from the police minister, indicating that that particular provision will not be proceeding today and it is going to be repealed. Credit for him for giving that concession. Many of the clubs - particularly the ones like the Practical Shooting League, or those involved in practical shooting - have a fundamental concern, which I agree with, which is that the nature of the amendments are very arbitrary. For some reason, there has been a decision to exclude some calibres and not others. It sounds as though it is sending out the politically correct message to the masses but, if you drill down into the real effect of the legislation, and who it is going to have an effect on, it is just not logical. You can have a smaller calibre - and when I say smaller calibre we are talking about the bore size. So, if it is less than a .38 mm, which is three five-sevenths to 9 mm, that is okay. However, if you want to have a larger diameter projectile, which could mean a .45 mm - and some of those larger diameter projectiles are actually less penetrating and less powerful than the smaller calibre firearms. Therefore, the logic of this legislation is that you can have, for example, a bolt action .308 - which could be in the form of a pistol - and that is a particularly powerful... M r Kiely: Be a big pistol if it is bolt action. M r MALEY: There are many bolt action pistols. It can be a particularly powerful projectile that could go through numerous people if it was going to be used for that particular purpose. However then, for some reason, the authorities have chosen to exclude a .45 mm, which is ostensibly a target pistol. This is really not much good in penetrating. Apart from knocking down silhouettes and participating in practical shooting type events, it does not have a deadly effect in range and penetration ... M r Kiely: I bet you would not stand 10 m in front and get shot. Mr MALEY: ... of a larger calibre like - well, it is a smaller calibre but a more powerful projectile. The act also contains a number of what could be described as an ouster clause. It states in section 7 that the commissioner is not, under this act or any other act or law, required to give reasons for refusing to grant a licence on the grounds referred to in section 8 A. If you go to section 8 A: The Commissioner must refuse to grant a licence if the Commissioner is o f the opinion, having regard to any criminal intelligence report or other criminal information the Commissioner holds about the applicant... There follows a couple of specified criteria. That in itself means that, even though the decision is made personally by the commissioner, it seems that the commissioner, relying upon evidence which he thinks establishes a concern, can refuse to grant the licence and the applicant does not have the right to appeal to a magistrate or to an independent third party, to have that tested. Currently, a person who is aggrieved in some situations can appeal to the Firearms Tribunal which is fairly made up of a magistrate, a representative from the shooting fraternity, and usually a police officer. A person is given their day in court and they are allowed to hear first-hand the reasons why the particular licence 4406

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