Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 7 Hansard (26 June) . . Page.. 2593 ..
done. It would be very difficult for a person in that situation to get a licence under our legislation as it stands now. As a result of that, there was some further tightening up.
I have no dramas with storage; that can still be an issue. Legitimate shooters who have their weapons properly stored have nothing to fear. ACT Policing are currently doing, I think, a random 10 per cent check. I do not think storing any firearms, pistols or whatever else in a central armoury is as good as storing them in properly secured facilities in homes. There is a real issue of how secure armouries might be to determined criminals trying to get at such weapons. Unless they are properly patrolled and under proper surveillance, that might not be the best way of doing things. It would also significantly affect legitimate firearm owners.
In relation to pistols, Mr Pratt has contacted and spoken to a lot of sporting groups. I have had one complaint only in relation to what is proposed. Being a rifle shooter and not a pistol shooter, and not very good at either, I do not profess to know a great amount about the sporting shooting of pistols. I understand the most popular categories of barrel length for shooters are either 115 millimetres or 125 millimetres, and this legislation would ban anything under 120 millimetres. There have been some complaints about that but, whenever you go down this path, you cannot make everyone happy.
Nevertheless, it is a national scheme. There are compensation aspects there. There seems to be a realisation that we do not want to interfere with persons training to represent Australia in national and international competitions and that due provision has been made for them. I have been pleased over the years to see a few hiccups in the 1996 national scheme fixed up, enabling legitimate sporting, target and competition shooters to go about their sport without unnecessary hindrance. A few sensible amendments have been made in this Assembly, not only by the previous government but even this government, and I would urge that to continue in relation to pistols and legitimate shooters in sporting competitions.
Ms Dundas quite properly says this is a bit rushed-the last one was-and could have unintended consequences. Like my colleague Mr Pratt-I do not know what the government is doing; I assume it is not supporting her amendment-I think it might have an adverse effect. It might ban a lot more than is proposed under the agreement.
One thing that comes to mind is that a pistol can be concealed; it is an ideal weapon for criminals. In Sydney there have been some particularly nasty gangland-type murders-and in Melbourne too. I remember that their police minister had some real concerns about that at the police ministers conference.
There are concerns about importation and the fact that some things could be tightened up there, which was made known to the Commonwealth minister at the time. That is an ongoing issue, and it is not our responsibility; it is the Commonwealth's. Anything that can be done to enforce the law and ensure that pistols and parts cannot illegitimately get into this country is worthy of support. No doubt, that is occurring at the Commonwealth level.
Another thing I would commend to the minister and to his colleague the Attorney-General-although it is not so much a problem here as it is in Sydney-is to ensure that the police have proper powers to randomly search known persons, persons acting