The Australian Gun Safety Alliance (AGSA) and the Alannah & Madeline Foundation have backed a push to nationalise the country’s gun laws after a call from the NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb and her Deputy Commissioner Dave Hudson to standardise the National Firearms Agreement which is enforced differently between the states and territories. The Foundation’s CEO, Sarah Davies AM, said that after 26 years, no jurisdiction fully complies with the National Firearms Agreement.
“We know, for example, that one state jurisdiction allows 10-year-olds to lawfully handle a firearm, some have 10-year licenses and few limit the amount of ammunition that can be purchased.,” she said.
The Port Arthur tragedy directly related to abuse of firearms, the absence of sensible checks and balances and totally inadequate regulation and community protection, Ms Davies said.
“Gun safety and protection of children from violence and harm is our origin story, and while the challenges facing children and young people may have changed, our mission has not,” she said.
“Gun safety continues to be one of our advocacy and policy priorities – for children and young people and for the community, more broadly. And it’s for these children and young people that bipartisan national leadership on the issue of firearm safety is still so critical.”
We know how important firearm safety policies are in harm prevention – and we have a way to go. That is one of the reasons we were a founding member of AGSA, Ms Davies said.
“Firearms are the third-highest cause of death in domestic family violence – 12 per cent of domestic and family violence deaths are from guns. And agencies are reporting a worrying emerging trend in the use of firearms as a source of coercive control in domestic and family violence.”
She also said technology is making it easier for people to get firearms, such as the printing of 3D guns.
“While it’s just as important to make sure that we comply with the National Firearms Agreement, we’ve also got to be careful about changes in technology so that every state and territory make sure that, firearms are safe in the community.”
Ms Davies also commended the Federal Parliament on the reformation of the bipartisan Parliamentary Friends of Firearm Safety, launched by the Foundation’s Founder, Walter Mikac AM on 22 November at Parliament House.
Co-chaired by the Hon Josh Burns MP (ALP) and the Hon James Stevens MP (Liberal Party), the Parliamentary Friends of Firearm Safety is dedicated to ensuring gun laws remain intact.
“Over the past 25 years, the Foundation has placed the safety of our children and young people at the heart of its work, which includes ensuring laws around gun safety through the National Firearms Agreement stay strong and intact,” Ms Davies said.