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Calls for tougher gun laws

Calls for tougher gun laws

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Gun Control Australia are addressing NSW election parties for tougher gun laws

New data released by Gun Control Australia shows the number of registered firearms in New South Wales now totals over one million.

In just over two years, an increase of nearly 90,000 guns has brought the total to 1,007,786 across the state.

The latest 'NSW Report Card' reveals a 'damning analysis' of State gun laws, as well as 14 recommendations for the major parties to put community safety first in the lead up to the State election.

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President of Gun Control Australia Sam Lee said while guns are vital to farming industries, there are serious concerns about gun laws for regional areas.

"There are valid reasons for owning a firearm, particularly being involved in primary production," she said.

"What our concerns are, is the explosion of recreational hunting and illegal hunting in rural and regional areas."

She said illegal hunting by inexperienced recreational shooting poses a risk to animal welfare and community safety, including rural landowners who have not given permission for shooting to occur on their property.

"We're not asking there to be no guns, but what we're asking for is sensible, strong and reasonable regulations," Ms Lee said.

The analysis also reveals that NSW is the worst offender is terms of non-compliance with the National Firearms Agreement.

"NSW gun laws breach the National Firearms Agreement 11 times, including by allowing silencers, removing the need to provide a reason to acquire additional firearms, and having no limits on ammunition purchases," Ms Lee said.

"We are concerned that community safety is being compromised as a result of backroom political deals done to appease minor parties, which are out of step with the overwhelming majority of Australians who want to see sensible and uniform gun restrictions."

The recommendations in the Report Card calling on major parties to put community safety first include:

1. Limiting the number of guns per licence holder to two each, save for special need or genuine collectors.

2. Requiring recreational hunting licence applicants to renew their licence annually.

3. Asking the Auditor-General to conduct a performance audit into the regulation of recreational hunting and hunting clubs in NSW.

4. Requiring the NSW Firearms Registry to conduct mandatory annual audits of all gun clubs to ensure legislative compliance.

5. Establishing an information sharing system between the NSW Firearm Registry and the Family Law Courts.

6. Asking the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) to conduct research into gun ownership and storage and the use of guns in domestic violence.

7. Placing semi-automatic handguns in the same firearm category as semi-automatic long arms.

8. Making it an offence for people with a blood alcohol reading greater than .05 to carry a firearm.

9. Removing the right to shoot unlicensed at gun clubs.

10. Removing minors permits so that only people aged 18 years and over may possess and/or own a firearm.

11. Banning donations from the arms industry and gun lobby groups to political parties and candidates.

12. Refusing to preference parties advocating for the further loosening of gun laws, including the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party, and One Nation.

13. Bringing NSW gun laws into full compliance with the National Firearms Agreement.

14. Ensuring the NSW Firearms Registry has the funds and resources to implement the recommendations outlined in the NSW Auditor-General’s Report, ‘Firearms regulation’, released on 28 February 2019.

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