Economic Policy Scrutiny Committee Inquiry into the Firearms Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 November 2019
Tabled paper 1423
Tabled Papers for 13th Assembly 2016 - 2020; Tabled Papers; ParliamentNT
Tabled by Tony Sievers
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Department of the Legislative Assembly
Inquiry into the Firearms Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 14 2 Overview of the Bill Background to the Bill 2.1 In presenting the Bill to the Assembly, the Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Services, the Hon Nicole Manison MLA commented on the problems posed to community safety, particularly in the context of serious and organised crime, noting that: Northern Territory-based outlaw motorcycle gang members and associates currently have a combined total number of convictions in excess of 1897. Outlaw motorcycle gang members have also demonstrated a propensity to acquire firearms in the Northern Territory and traffic firearms across jurisdictional borders.2 2.2 Although the Firearms Act 1997 provides a number of mechanisms to prevent firearm-related crime it does not provide the ability to take immediate action when necessary. As noted by Minister Manison: the current inability to take immediate action on both licensed firearm owners and those believed to be in possession of unlawful firearms is an ongoing concern for the Northern Territory Police Force. The current process for revocation of licences, particularly when based on criminal intelligence holdings, is a lengthy process that cannot be facilitated outside of business hours. It is completely unsuitable for the dynamic unfolding situations which require immediate intervention. Criminal intelligence holdings are often provided to police internally or through partner agencies at short notice.3 2.3 The Bill aims to rectify this by enabling the Commissioner of Police to make an order prohibiting an individual from acquiring, having possession of, or using any firearm or firearm-related item. 2.4 Firearm Prohibition Orders (FPOs) are currently in force in Victoria, New South Wales (NSW), South Australia and Tasmania. The provisions in the Bill are largely modelled on the equivalent provisions in the Victorian Firearms Act 1996 as this is considered to be the most contemporary legislation and was drafted with the benefit of the New South Wales Ombudsmans report entitled Review of Police use of the Firearm Prohibition Order Search Powers.4 Purpose of the Bill 2.5 As noted in the Explanatory Statement, the purpose of the Bill is to introduce firearm prohibition orders, increase maximum penalties for certain offences and expand the scope of disqualifying offences.5 2 Hon Nicole Manison MLA, Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Services, Draft - Daily Hansard Day 2 Wednesday 18 September 2019, p. 4, http://hdl.handle.net/10070/754522 3 Hon Nicole Manison MLA, Draft Daily Hansard Day 2 - Wednesday 18 September 2019, p. 4, http://hdl.handle.net/10070/754522. 4 Hon Nicole Manison MLA, Draft Daily Hansard Day 2 - Wednesday 18 September 2019, p. 3, http://hdl.handle.net/10070/754522. 5 Explanatory Statement, Firearms Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 (Serial 106), p. 1, https://parliament.nt.gov.au/committees/EPSC/106-2019. http://hdl.handle.net/10070/754522 http://hdl.handle.net/10070/754522 http://hdl.handle.net/10070/754522 https://parliament.nt.gov.au/committees/EPSC/106-2019