Permit rise triggers push for a gun limit
Sydney Morning Herald, Page: 5 Monday, 23 January 2012
The number of gun permits issued in NSW has almost doubled in the past five years, sparking calls for restrictions on how many guns people can acquire.
Figures from the NSW firearms registry show 111,792 permits to acquire a firearm were issued in 2009 and 2010. That was 29,427 more than for the previous two-year period. In 2005 and 2006, there were 65,997 permits issued.
The National Coalition for Gun Control, which obtained the latest figures under freedom-of information laws, says that the increase is linked to the scrapping of a 28-day waiting period for a second or subsequent firearm.
"The law allows a firearm licence-holder to accumulate an unlimited number of [additional] firearms without undergoing any critical background checks and without any waiting period," the chairwoman of the coalition, Samantha Lee, said.
In 2008, the Labor and Liberal parties supported the NSW Shooters Party’s Firearms Amendment Bill 2008, which abolished the 28-day waiting period for people seeking a permit.
"The 28-day waiting period is critical as it provides time for police to carry out essential checks, [such as] assessing whether the applicant has a criminal record [or] a domestic violence order against him or her," Ms Lee said.
Greens NSW MP and firearms spokesman, David Shoebridge, said the Greens would introduce ability to Parliament to restrict the number of weapons each person held to three.
The Australian Institute of Criminology has reported a6 per cent rise in firearm theft nationally. The figure for NSW has increased by 60 per cent from 371 in 2004-05 to 592 in 2008-09.
The Shooters and Fishers Party said the increase in gun permits reflected an increase in the number of new gun owners.