Tasmania Police cite public safety motivation for antique firearm ownership change

Tasmania Police are running with the improving public safety argument to justify changing regulations that will impact owners of antique firearms without public notice or consultation.

Tasmania Police Assistant Commissioner Rob Blackwood suggested firearms affected by this change could be used to intimidate or threaten, similar to replica firearms. He said this was the reasoning for the change, but did not elaborate why the safety concern had arisen with no context.

Exemption 4 of the Firearms Act allowed people to own pre-1900 antique firearms that cannot be fired with commercial cartridges without a licence, registration or storage requirements.  The cancellation of Exemption 4 will mean people owning these firearms will be able to apply for a limited exemption while applying for a licence and registration, sell the firearm or surrender the firearm.

Sporting Shooters’ Association of Australia Tasmania (SSAA Tas) President Andrew Judd said Association representatives were disappointed Tasmania Police felt the need to change regulations that had allowed collectors to enjoy their legitimate hobby with no impact to the general public. He said there were open lines of communication between SSAA Tas and the Tasmanian Government and Tasmania Police and the lack of consultation with the state’s premier representative body was disappointing.

Legislative amendments are expected to be made to the Tasmanian Firearms Act to reflect the regulation alterations by police.

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