Back to All News

PM Abbott must explain Coalition softening on illegal weapons

Media Release
Penny Wright 9 Apr 2015

Senate inquiry finds more needs to be done to address gun crime...

A Senate investigation into illegal firearms has today recommended more funding for law enforcement agencies to tackle gun crime in Australia.

The inquiry, initiated by Greens spokesperson for legal affairs Senator Penny Wright, found a lack of quality data and national inconsistencies were hampering efforts to understand the black market.

"There are around 260,000 illegal guns in Australia, and as a committee we accepted this is probably a conservative estimate," Senator Wright said.

"It was staggering how little accurate data there is about the illicit firearms market in Australia and how many barriers and inconsistencies there are between different governments.

"If we're serious about addressing gun crime in Australia and reducing the number of illegal firearms, all governments need to work together and all the agencies should be talking the same language."

The majority report of the Legal and Constitutional Affairs References committee also recommended:

  • Implementing a rolling nation-wide gun amnesty;
  • Updating the National Firearms Agreement between Australian governments to address inconsistencies in registration of firearms and storage requirements;
  • Introducing nationally consistent standards for the security of membership data held by gun clubs; and
  • Continuing to monitor the weapons risks posed by the development of 3D printing technology, but avoid over-regulation of the industry

...while Coalition goes soft on illegal weapons

The Australian Greens have also slammed the Coalition for their soft response to illegal firearms, accusing them putting the interests of the gun lobby ahead of everyday Australians.

The Coalition has co-sponsored a dissenting report with LDP Senator David Leyonhjelm, which disputes the success of the Howard-era gun buyback policy and recommends further deregulation of the firearm industry.

"The recommendations of the inquiry are considered and moderate," said Australian Greens spokesperson for legal affairs Senator Penny Wright.

"It is hugely disappointing the Coalition wasn't willing to agree to these very simple steps to address gun crime in Australia.

"I never thought I would see the day when Coalition senators would find themselves in closer agreement with David Leyonhjelm than John Howard.

"The Coalition has kowtowed to the gun lobby. They are refusing to acknowledge the evidence presented to the committee that theft from registered owners is a major source of illicit firearms.

"Illegal weapons have caused terrible tragedies in almost every Australian capital city in the last few years.

"Turning a blind eye to this problem is a risk to community safety. We cannot make Australian streets safer without looking at all possible ways to reduce the number of illegal guns."

The full report can be found here.

Back to All News