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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 10 Hansard (7 December) . . Page.. 2765 ..

MRS CARNELL (continuing):

our term but for how we were able to remove or simplify our laws. So far the Third Assembly has passed 46 laws. Our approach will mean that for the first time since self-government we will be getting rid of more laws than we pass in 1995. I think that has to be good news for business and for the community.

Debate (on motion by Mr Connolly) adjourned.


MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General) (10.39): Mr Speaker, I present the Weapons (Amendment) Bill 1995, together with its explanatory memorandum.

Title read by Clerk.


That this Bill be agreed to in principle.

This Bill introduces a number of amendments to the Weapons Act 1991. The need for these changes has become apparent over the years since its passage. The Territory's gun control laws are amongst the strictest in Australia and this Government is committed to maintaining these controls. The Registrar of Weapons must be satisfied that a person is a fit and proper person and has a genuine reason for holding a gun before he or she will be granted a licence. All guns are required to be registered on a licence. This Bill does not change these fundamental principles.

One of the more significant changes which this Bill introduces is the creation of a new category of licences for weapons which have been rendered inoperable. Such weapons may be of historical interest or may be kept for sentimental reasons. Provided that they meet the registrar's required standards of inoperability and that the licensee is assessed as a fit and proper person, this Bill will allow such weapons to be kept in approved storage arrangements.

The Bill prohibits the sale or transfer of semiautomatic weapons. Following the tragic killings in a Strathfield shopping centre in 1991 when such a weapon was used, all States and Territories agreed through the Australasian Police Ministers Council to ban their sale or transfer. Until now this has been achieved in the ACT by means of a consumer product safety order under the Consumer Affairs Act 1973, but it is more appropriate that the ban be included in the weapons legislation.

The Bill adds a number of dangerous items to the schedule of prohibited weapons. They include some dangerous types of knives such as butterfly knives, which have a concealed blade between two folding handles, and knives known as urban skinners. Certain martial arts weapons are also prohibited, including nunchakus, which consist of two or three pieces of wood or similar material joined by chain or cable and which when used in a flailing motion can cause serious injury or death. A number of other offensive weapons will also be banned by this Bill, such as blackjacks and coshes.

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