Page 2750 - Week 07 - Thursday, 3 July 2008

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . .

we need to look at and which are of concern to sporting shooters, people engaged in competitions and legitimate firearms holders. An area of concern that has been raised with me relates to the surrender of firearms by unlicensed persons. The bill contemplates that an unlicensed person can either dispose of a firearm to a dealer, have a dealer store it temporarily while the owner obtains a licence or surrender it to the police. There will not be a provision for a firearm to be surrendered to a dealer anymore.

People have expressed concern that some people might feel their position is jeopardised in some way if they surrender it to the police. They would rather surrender it to a dealer. I can understand their concern, although I must say people in ACT Policing have an excellent reputation for acting with the public in a very proactive and supportive matter. Again, maybe that is an unnecessary—

Mr Mulcahy: Have you ever walked into a police station with a rifle?

MR STEFANIAK: I actually walked in there once with a submachine gun, but I was in the army at the time. I must say that the police here have a really good reputation, and they are very helpful to firearm owners. That is perhaps a small issue, but it is something on which the bill might be a bit restrictive; perhaps it can be monitored and looked at.

Nonetheless, this situation potentially could force illegal firearms underground. In situations where a person does not have due cause to be concerned about having to surrender firearms to police but for some reason does not want to do so, it may well be better to have the firearms surrendered to a dealer, so that at least the firearm is off the streets, if not off the person. Perhaps that is something we can monitor. That provision seems to have been made purely and simply because it was made elsewhere, so we should monitor that.

The other area of concern that has been raised with me relates to the extension of the term “firearms dealer” to include “club armourers”. Naturally, firearms dealers, commercial dealers, would be concerned about the competitive neutrality of this arrangement, since shooting clubs invariably do not have the overheads that commercial dealers have. I note that the regulations require that club armourers must not profit from dealing activities. Presumably, this refers to an individual but it is not clear whether the armourer can achieve profits for the club. The bill more or less tidies up the existing arrangements under which, by regulation, club armourers were considered dealers for the purpose of reporting and other requirements.

Further, the activity of club armourers is limited to dealing with club members or members of visiting clubs. That, to me, is quite sensible. It is normal for people to either buy ammunition from a firearms dealer or a club armourer. A club armourer’s job often includes getting ammunition and selling it to club members. I think that is quite legitimate. So whilst concerns are raised there, as long as that can continue—club armourers selling ammunition to club members, and dealers being able to sell ammunition—there should not be too many problems. There were some issues raised in that regard; some people in the industry, including some sporting people, have a little bit of a concern about it. So we should monitor that as well.

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . .