Greens plan to get handguns off suburban streets

Press release from the Australian Greens

The Australian Greens have announced an action plan to make our streets and neighbourhoods safer with a ban on semi-automatic handguns.

The plan has been costed by the Parliamentary Budget Office at $351.5 million over the next four years and includes a 12-month amnesty, a buy-back scheme and a national public education campaign in support of the buy-back.

“We can’t tackle gun violence without getting serious about taking guns off the streets,” Australian Greens Leader Senator Christine Milne said.

“We need strong action to reduce the number of handguns falling into the wrong hands. They have become the firearm of choice for criminals in Australia, especially in the drug trade and in gangs.

“We learnt lessons from the Port Arthur massacre. Now we must also learn from the shootings that are terrorising suburban neighbourhoods. We need to act now before we see more tragedy.

“Police do everything they can to keep gun crime off the streets, but without strong laws to back them up, they are fighting a losing battle.”

The Greens action plan to make our streets safer includes:

  • Banning the importation, ownership, possession and use of semi-automatic handguns with exemptions for government-owned guns.
  • Implementing a 12-month amnesty and buyback scheme for newly prohibited handguns and an amnesty for already prohibited firearms.
  • Implementing a national public education campaign in support of the gun buy-back scheme.

Senator Milne launched the action plan in Sydney with Greens lead Senate candidate for NSW Cate Faehrmann.

“In NSW, the number of registered handguns increased from 33,858 in 2005 to 42,127 in late 2011. That is a 24 per cent increase in just 6 years,” Ms Faehrmann said.

“Last year, police records obtained by the Greens confirm that handguns have been used in almost 90 per cent of drive by shootings in Sydney and in almost every case, the handgun was a semi-automatic pistol.

“Here in NSW, both the Coalition and Labor talk about cracking down on drive-by shootings, but they won’t start with the obvious, and that’s banning semi-automatic handguns.”

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