Illegal firearms and trafficking the right focus for law reform

SSAA National welcomes the Federal Government’s announcement to focus on the illegal firearms market with new major reforms.

Minister for Home Affairs, Justice and Defence Materiel Jason Clare’s evidence-based law reforms will put the spotlight on the criminal misuse of firearms and trafficking problems, which are feeding the illegal market in this country. For many years, licensed firearm owners have borne the brunt of misguided firearm law reforms aimed at placating the public rather than tackling the root of the problem.

Efforts to tighten Australia’s porous borders through a united approach to policing imports and increased penalties for firearm trafficking will help to close the gap. SSAA National believes that increasing incoming container inspection even slightly from current levels of less than one per cent will go a long way towards solving firearms trafficking in Australia.

Moreover, SSAA National believes further investigation should be put into additional reforming of the firearm registration system to mirror that of Canada, where the Government recently passed amendments, which extinguished longarm registration. The cost associated with the creation of a national registration scheme, as slated by the Minister, could be better spent on targeting the criminal element.

During the implementation stages of the reforms, SSAA National is calling on Minister Clare and the State and Territory Governments to consult with the Federal Government’s Commonwealth Firearms Advisory Council to gain informed insight from experts within this area.

SSAA National’s Media Officer Rachael Andrews says it is the criminal element using illegal firearms that have always been the problem in Australia. “It is a positive for our 138,000-plus members that this factor has now been recognised on a national scale. The focus has rightly been shifted away from law-abiding licensed firearm owners.”

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