Politics

“Astonishing And Reckless”: The Tassie Government Wants To Roll Back Gun Laws

The proposal was shared with the gun lobby weeks ago.

Moe Gun Laws

Tasmania’s Liberal government wants to relax the state’s gun laws, in a move that gun control advocates have described as “astonishing” and “reckless”.

As reported by The Australian, changes proposed by Premier Will Hodgman’s government include extending the limit on gun license duration from five years to ten, and downgrading the penalty for “lesser” breaches of firearm storage laws from court summons and mandatory confiscation to infringement notices.

The proposal would also provide greater access to “Category C” weapons, such as pump-action and rapid-fire shotguns.

The proposal was reportedly sent to the gun lobby weeks ago, but was not published on the Liberal Party website. The Tasmanian state election takes place tomorrow.

“The Liberals’ firearms policy is designed to win votes at the expense of community safety,” said Fraser Brindley, Greens candidate for the state seat of Lyons. “The fact that they have cooked it up behind closed doors shows contempt for the Tasmanian public.”

“This policy will see an increase in the sales of Catergory C weapons, silencers and ammunition,” said Roland Browne, vice-chairman of Gun Control Australia. “[It] is reckless. It is also astonishing because it is being pushed by the party that responded so well to the Port Arthur massacre.”

Browne said the proposal would be in clear breach of the National Firearms Agreement, which was introduced by Liberal Prime Minister John Howard after a gunman killed 35 people at Port Arthur in Tasmania in 1996.

In an interview with ABC Radio, Hodgman denied that the proposal amounted to a watering down of the state’s gun laws.

“We are as a state very aware of the sensitivities around these issues,” he said on Friday morning. “We are seeking to find an appropriate balance — one which supports our families that work in the rural sector, but which is not inconsistent with national gun laws.”