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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 01 Hansard (Tuesday, 13 February 2018) . . Page.. 33 ..

MS CHEYNE (Ginninderra) (11.37): I am pleased to stand to speak today on the Firearms and Prohibited Weapons Legislation Amendment Bill 2017, which supports the safety of our community. The bill amends our firearms and prohibited weapons legislation to ensure that our regulatory system is capable of protecting Canberrans against potential threats posed by firearms and weapons in the community.

This bill makes a number of minor and technical amendments to firearms legislation and prohibited weapons legislation. These technical amendments were identified in consultation with key stakeholders and they will ensure that the ACT continues to maintain a strong regulatory system to manage the possession of firearms and other articles in the territory.

The minor and technical amendments that are made by this bill include providing that the owner or operator of a zoo may hold a category C composite entity licence for the management of animals at the zoo; providing that the registrar may issue evidentiary certificates to prove that a person has been given approval to possess ammunition as a collector; and making editorial amendments such as updating names of law enforcement agencies.

Importantly, the bill also prohibits the possession of a knife or blade that is disguised to look like something else. An example of a weapon targeted by the new law is a credit card knife. It is a bit scary, but they do exist; knives that are designed to look like credit cards. They are small in size and can easily be carried in wallets, pockets and small bags.

Credit card knives are easily purchased online and they pose obvious dangers. Prohibition on credit card knives aligns the ACT with the laws of the other jurisdictions and keeps us up to date by prohibiting the possession of any knife or blade that is disguised to look like something else. That is just one example.

This bill also contains provisions to make it easier for ACT firearms licensees to store their weapons in New South Wales if that is where they work. The Firearms Act 1996 currently provides that a licensee must store each registered firearm held under the licence at the registered premises in the ACT. Some licensees in the ACT request to store their firearms at a New South Wales address.

This includes, for example, ACT residents who are employed on a rural property in New South Wales, and who currently have to transport their firearm over the border each day. The Firearms Registrar currently has no power to approve an application to store a firearm at an interstate place of work. These amendments will mean that the registrar will be able to allow people to store their firearms in New South Wales, making storage and transport requirements easier for these Canberra residents. It is more efficient and it just makes sense.

Finally, the bill also makes amendments relating to the importation and use of body armour. The amendment to the Prohibited Weapons Act and regulation brings the description of body armour into line with the national definition used for customs purposes. The bill defines body armour as an article that is designed for antiballistic or antifragmentation purposes to be worn on or to cover the human body.

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