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




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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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 the weapon is not registered; they are not a registered owner; they are breaking the law; and if they do have a weapon under the bed that is not registered and they are licensed to hold, they are knowingly breaking the law. In the public interest, yes, we want those guns back so there will be a general amnesty, no questions asked - and you can stop breaking the law and feel better about yourself. Why should we financially reward people who are breaking the law? That is the reason there is not a general buy-back of illegal weapons. I would urge all Territorians - anybody who is going to read this Hansard - that if they do have an illegal gun at home which is not registered, and they want to get it out of their house and ease their conscience, they can hand it back in under an amnesty provision, no questions asked, as opposed to the police potentially finding them in possession of an illegal weapon, being charged, facing court, and a penalty being applied. There was a general question about registered pistol clubs, in that they might be facing some sanction if they do not comply with the regulations. That is just part of the legislation. Another issue was why COAG requires clubs to provide information to the police about members of the club and the shoots they participated in when the police already have that information. Again, it is a COAG requirement. In some of the states, they are going to have to do this work on behalf of the police, with the clubs having to endorse or state that the person who is a member of the club has secure facilities at home to store their firearms. The issue here, in the Northern Territory, is that yes, police do have that information, because they check every household that has a firearm. It will be worked through with the clubs, by the police, that the clubs are, essentially, going to endorse storage facilities. They are not going to have to go and visit the persons home because the police have done that. However, in some states - 1 am not sure which ones - the clubs will have to go and physically check somebodys home to make sure they have a storage facility. The practical application of this reform will be that the clubs will endorse, once the police have advised them that storage requirements have been met. Police are not going to make public the information that they receive from the sporting shooters clubs regarding the registration of their members and the events that they participate in. Even under an FOI application, the police will not make that information available. Again, other states legislation is going to require that information to be provided. Well, the police have that, as you rightly say. It is a COAG requirement. What is going to happen, as a result of the passage of this legislation, is that a team from the Firearms Unit will be visiting all of the 27 clubs in the Northern Tenitory. They will work with them toward a practical application of these codes to make it as easy and as uniform as possible. The service that our sporting clubs will have from our Territory police will be way and above the support the clubs will get from the police in other states. I am absolutely convinced they will do a great job. There was a question about antiques collectors, and whether the sub-branch in Alice Springs, or other sub-branches, will be allowable under this legislation for antiques collectors to register. The answer is yes; there have already been meetings on that. You will even find applications where people who collect antique weapons and might live on a very remote station can affiliate with a regional club for these requirements. There will be a practical application so people in the regions are not disadvantaged. Madam Speaker, you raised an issue about licence renewals and why this should happen every year. My advice is there is no change. Already, sporting shooters and people with these types of guns have to register every year. Practically, it is the only way for the police to check the participation rates of those shooters, to ensure that there is a check every year. My understanding is the practical reality of this is that each shooter will be issued with a card for their discipline, and that card will be punched at the club every time that they participate in a shoot. It will be a fairly simple process to present that card: Yes you have competed in so many shoots, that has been verified by the club, your licence will be re-issued. So, hopefully, it will not be too onerous a process. The re-application for a licence occurs already. The issue about juniors rocking up at the club and young Sammy wanting to have a go at a shoot, then yes, it is a part of the COAG reforms that a permit will have to be applied for. Again, the lofty principle that is being applied by the COAG reforms is that nobody should get their hands on a hand gun unless they are authorised to do so - whether they are 10 years old or 50 years old. A basic check will have to be done in before they get their hands on a hand gun. Again, it is a COAG requirement. I know people are not going to be happy, but that is the basic principle being applied there. On the question of how many guns will now be illegal as a result of only two categories in excess of .38 mm being allowed, the answer from police records is around 2500 in the Northern Territory. However, we cannot be absolutely certain of that. Madam Speaker, I hope that deals with your issues. 4427