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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 9 Hansard (29 August) . . Page.. 2766..


EXECUTIVE BUSINESS - PRECEDENCE

Motion (by Mr Humphries) agreed to:

That Executive business be called on.

FIREARMS BILL 1996

MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General) (11.35): Mr Speaker, I present the Firearms Bill 1996, together with its explanatory memorandum.

Title read by Clerk.

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, I move:

That this Bill be agreed to in principle.

The package of Bills I am presenting today will go a long way towards making the ACT a safer place in which to live. In particular, the Firearms Bill gives full effect to the resolutions agreed to by the Australian Police Ministers Council at its recent historic meetings. The first of those meetings, as members will be aware, took place on 10 May 1996 and resolved that all jurisdictions should ban the possession and use of semiautomatic firearms and pump-action shotguns. Legislation to this effect was passed by this Assembly on 16 May and was enacted the following day. I approved an amnesty for the surrender of firearms which were banned by that Act, and to date almost 1,500 of those weapons have been surrendered in the ACT. That represents over one-third of the firearms that have been banned by this amendment.

Mr Speaker, today's Bill and the Bill which I will introduce shortly after this one, the Prohibited Weapons Bill, will replace the existing Weapons Act in its entirety. The Firearms Bill prescribes a comprehensive range of firearms which will not be permitted except in special circumstances. The Bill enacts the categories of firearms that have been agreed to by all jurisdictions and a range of firearms registration procedures and licensing conditions which will apply to all firearms in the ACT. The ACT has historically had the toughest firearms control legislation of any jurisdiction in Australia. I do not intend for that position to change. The enactment of this Bill will confirm the ACT's support in full for the resolutions of the Australian Police Ministers Council and, in a number of areas, will go further.

This Bill represents an appropriate response to the community's expectations that parliament will enhance their safety and wellbeing and will seek to alter significantly the culture surrounding the possession and use of firearms in this community. Firearms ownership, Mr Speaker, is a privilege, not a right. It carries enormous responsibilities and requires adequate training. Firearms ownership is not to be


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