Tasmanian firearms inquiry ‘weak’ and ‘disappointing’

SSAA Tasmania has slammed the state’s firearms inquiry, labelling it ‘weak’. The House of Assembly Select Committee on Firearms Legislation and Policy inquiry heard from stakeholders on matters including, but not limited to, current and future firearms licensing regimes, training and testing and licence renewal.

SSAA Tasmania treasurer Don Riddell said the 160-page report was “very disappointing”. “[The report] handballed a lot of the decisions it could have made,” Mr Riddell said.

Of the 15 recommendations, Mr Riddell said there was only one positive – Recommendation 7: The Committee recommends the Tasmanian Government, through Firearm Services, investigates the efficiencies, accountability, privacy and security risks involved in an online licencing system. “At least if our members are getting better service we’ll be happy with that I think,” he said.

Recommendation 10 referred to more “educative material and advice to firearms owners about the detail of the firearms legislation in practice”.

Mr Riddell said while this recommendation is good, it’s already taking place. “We’ve been, over the past couple of months, heavily involved in looking at the information they [Firearm Services] have been providing that they’re going to put on their website and giving them some very robust feedback.” Mr Riddell also slammed the multiple recommendations which referred to resolving issues at a national level, saying it just sidestepped the tough decisions.

Lawyer and associate of the University of Tasmania, Samuel Diprose Adams, also noted how often the report refers decisions to a national level. “Instead of a report with recommendations that bring our gun control laws into the 21st century, the buck is passed to the national level where agreement takes more time, effort and resources to achieve,” Mr Adams wrote in The Examiner. “The National Firearms Agreement was written in a time of different technologies, connections and information.”

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