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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1993 Week 06 Hansard (Thursday, 20 May 1993) . . Page.. 1669 ..


MRS CARNELL: I have a supplementary question, Madam Speaker. Is it not the case that there are no staff engaged in enforcing the legislation prohibiting the sale of tobacco products to minors? Does the Minister consider that this is satisfactory? How can the Minister be wishing to push for tougher anti-smoking laws when clearly he is unable to enforce the laws that stand now?

MR BERRY: If you have a case, if you have the evidence on somebody, report it to the police and they will be prosecuted. If you do not have the evidence, sit down, quietly.

Right to Bear Arms

MR LAMONT: My question is directed to the Chief Minister. Probably it could more appropriately be asked by Mr Moore, who is without his coat this afternoon. Can the Chief Minister advise the Assembly whether there is any fundamental right to bear arms in the ACT, as stated by Mr Stevenson on the Matthew Abraham program yesterday? Is there any legislation which prevents the raising of a private militia in the ACT?

MS FOLLETT: I thank Mr Lamont for the question, Madam Speaker. I can assure the Assembly that there is nothing in the Commonwealth Constitution which gives a private citizen the right to bear arms. In his discussion Mr Stevenson also mentioned the Magna Carta and the Bill of Rights in relation to a supposed right to bear arms. I will deal first with the Magna Carta. It is not actually in force in the ACT, except for one small and unrelated section, as its provisions were repealed by the ACT Imperial Acts Application Act of 1986.

Madam Speaker, with reference to the William and Mary Bill of Rights of 1688, which I think Mr Stevenson referred to, and which does apply in the ACT, although the Law Reform Committee has recommended that its provisions be rewritten in a modern form, even that ancient document does not provide a general right to bear arms in the way that Mr Stevenson imagines. In fact, the relevant section, section 7, reads as follows:

That the subjects which are protestants may have arms for their defence suitable to their conditions and as allowed by law.

As members of this Assembly undoubtedly would be aware, the bearing of arms in the ACT is regulated by the Weapons Act of 1991, which provides a penalty of $2,000 and/or imprisonment for 12 months for persons who possess or use firearms unless they are the holder of a dangerous weapons licence. Possession of prohibited weapons such as automatic firearms and explosive devices attracts an even heavier penalty.

Furthermore, as I am sure members are aware, an applicant for a licence must satisfy the Registrar of Weapons that they have an approved reason for requiring a particular type of firearm. The approved reasons are set out in section 5 of the Act. They include reasons such as being a member of an approved club, being a farmer or a grazier, or being required to carry a weapon in the course of employment. Any person who uses a firearm for a purpose other than that for


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