Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 6 Hansard (17 June) . . Page.. 1949..
Prohibited pistols are those which are: greater than.38 inch in calibre; for revolvers or single action pistols, pistols with a barrel length less than 100 millimetres and for semi-automatic pistols; those with a barrel length less than 120 millimetres; or pistols with a capacity of more than 10 rounds of ammunition.
These types of pistols have been targeted because, due to their firepower, capacity or small size-and hence readily concealable nature-they are seen as potentially the most dangerous, in the wrong hands, within the community.
Once the amendments commence, prohibited pistols will only be able to be used in sport and target shooting for a limited range of events-those known as "metallic silhouette"and "single action". Metallic silhouette involves shooting at large metal outlines of animals over a distance-hence the need for high-powered pistols. Single or "western"action events require "American wild west handguns"such as Colt 45s, and involve participants wearing period costume in replications of western style shoot-outs.
Australian governments have also agreed that certain highly specialised target shooting pistols will be able to be used in approved events, such as certain Olympic shooting events. The rationale for restricting these pistols to use in the identified events is that, for other shooting events, it is possible to use different, less potentially dangerous, firearms.
As well as restricting the sport and target shooting events for which prohibited pistols can be used, there will be tighter controls on collecting pistols of this type. In particular, a person who wishes to collect a prohibited pistol manufactured after 1946 will need to demonstrate his or her bona fides as a "student of arms"by showing that he or she researches or otherwise studies pistols of this type. Any such pistols collected will be required to be rendered temporarily inoperative.
In addition to placing greater restrictions on the purposes for which prohibited pistols can be possessed or used, the bill will implement a much more stringent regime of access to these firearms by those starting out in the sport of pistol shooting. There will be a graduated period of access to prohibited pistols over a 12-month period, with no pistol ownership permitted for the first six months.
Clubs will need to obtain a police check of prospective members, as well as two character references, information about applicants' other club memberships and the firearms they own. In future, sporting shooters who use pistols will be required to participate in a minimum number of club-organised events in each 12-month period, including different events for the different types of pistols the shooter is licensed to possess and use. Clubs will be required to provide a return to the Registrar of Firearms, including details of the participation rates of members.
These reforms will assist in identifying persons who are licensed to possess a prohibited pistol but who do not demonstrate a genuine involvement with, or commitment to, the sport. The object of the reforms being implemented across the country is a safer community, by ensuring that only those who can show their bona fides for having access to the most dangerous type of handguns can have that access. Even if a person can show a good reason to have a prohibited pistol, such as sport shooting or collecting firearms, if