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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 13 Hansard (5 December) . . Page.. 4452 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

Finally, there has been some doubt expressed about the effectiveness of the legislation, particularly the legislation we passed in May, which makes it an offence to own semiautomatic and automatic weapons. I am pleased to report to the Assembly that, of the approximately 3,600 weapons in that category that have now been banned and that were registered in the ACT, something in the order of 2,580 have, as of today, been surrendered by members of the community who owned them. The total number of surrendered weapons overall has been 2,892. That, of course, includes weapons that are not in those prohibited categories. Interestingly, of those that were surrendered, 306 were unregistered weapons. An unregistered weapon before the legislation was passed was illegal, and it is still illegal with the passage of this legislation.

You could argue that those 306 weapons are guns people had lying around at home - perhaps they had belonged to someone's father, or perhaps they had forgotten about them or had not thought much about them in recent days. The fact that those weapons have now been handed in, I think, is an acknowledgment, even by many gun owners, that the mood of this country has changed and it is appropriate not to have those weapons unless there is a very good reason to own them. I have spoken to gun owners who have said that, although they are not happy with the gun laws in some respects, they accept that this is now the right thing to do. They do not believe that it is appropriate to attempt to wind back what has been decided by Australian governments.

Through this chamber, I thank those members of the gun owning community who have handed in their weapons. I look forward to a majority of gun owners who are affected by the changes in the law complying with the law, not necessarily happily but nonetheless fully. I hope we will see, as a result of this, consensus in the community about how far we have come and a basis for the future on which to build on the strengths this provides to the community for the management of issues, particularly the issue of violence.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.

Debate interrupted.

Sitting suspended from 12.37 to 2.30 pm


Chief Minister's Department - Purchase Agreement

MR WHITECROSS: My question is to the Chief Minister and Treasurer. Minister, have you received a report from the Chief Minister's Department on performance under the purchase agreement between you and the department? If so, can you advise the Assembly how the department is performing against its performance measures?

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