Page 2753 - Week 07 - Thursday, 3 July 2008

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The explanatory statement to the bill notes that the increasing popularity of paintball has led to growing community pressure to decriminalise the private ownership of paintball markers and allowed people to obtain licences to own and store their paintball markers. The bill amends the Firearms Act to ensure that paintball guns are no longer classified a prohibited firearm. Section 4BE allows for the possession, use and storage of paintball markers at a paintball facility. These changes will be welcome changes for the paintball industry, which has had great difficulty with firearms legislation in the past.

I have not been lobbied by the Sporting Shooters Association, although I understand that they have obviously got a strong perspective on this. Dr Foskey tells me that they have even taken her out to dinner.

Dr Foskey: They didn’t take me.

MR MULCAHY: Didn’t they? She dined with them. I have always had a view, not unlike Mr Stefaniak, that you need balance. In an era when these things were not as heavily regulated, I learned to use a rifle as a very young person and used it responsibly under supervision. Then, when I did my period in the cadets, we were given.303s to use, which were somewhat ancient. I think firearms can provide enjoyment for people but it is imperative that the dangers of the use of firearms are instilled into people just as importantly as the pleasure it can give for those involved in legitimate sporting activities, target practice activity and the like.

I appreciate the briefing that Mr Stefaniak’s office provided to my office in relation to his amendments. All of them seem sensible to me; so I will be voting in support of them and I will say a few more comments when we get to that stage.

DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (5.45): Now I have my chance to talk about my relationship with the ACT shooters. I do welcome the provisions in this bill. They clarify some areas which were previously ambiguous, simplify or consolidate areas that were unnecessarily complex, increase penalty provisions for illegal possession and prohibited weapons offences, and enable paintball enthusiasts to pursue their sport legally. I welcome the provisions dealing with the transfer and disposal of firearms. While I understand that most aggravated offences involving firearms do not involve registered firearms, there are extremely important reasons why the state—in this case, the territory—should keep a close track on as many privately held firearms as possible.

In this regard, I urge the government to keep track of the development of GPS technology because I understand that it will soon be affordable and practicable for GPS tracker technology to be implanted into the stocks or other parts of all registered firearms. I am not suggesting this as a definite proposal but I do think it could have merit and should be carefully considered. Such a scheme would help ensure that registered firearms do not end up in the pool of stolen and unregistered firearms which, of course, are much more attractive for criminal purposes.

I also welcome the use of examples in the bill. These ones are particularly well drafted and are a useful explanatory device in an act like this where the onus on

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