Skip to comments.National push to restrict pistols
Posted on 10/24/2002 1:37:59 PM PDT by 45Auto
MANY pistol owners could be forced to surrender their weapons as part of a national crackdown in the wake of the Monash University rampage.
Shooters might also face psychological tests amid growing calls for tough new gun controls.
A ban or restrictions on the type of pistols recreational shooters can own and a buyback of unlicensed weapons are among other measures being supported by Victoria's leaders.
Prime Minister John Howard last night was thrashing out a plan to put to state and territory leaders today as gun controls became a key state election issue.
Premier Steve Bracks has backed measures to cut pistol ownership in Victoria, including a limit on the number of weapons owned by one person, and psychological testing.
"We will do what's appropriate to tighten gun laws, to tighten gun law control in this state as part of the national effort," Mr Bracks said.
Opposition Leader Robert Doyle went further, calling for an end to pistol ownership except for police, security guards or sporting shooters.
There are 46,986 legally owned pistols in Victoria, with 16,547 shared between 6940 general licensed owners. Dealers hold 8951 and collectors have 8963.
The rest are held by police, security guards and others with special permits.
Mr Howard, drawing from yesterday's Herald Sun revelation that the man accused of the Monash University attack legally owned seven pistols, promised action.
"There are a number listed, and the Herald Sun of course had photographs of them and posed the quite legitimate rhetorical question, `How on earth can these be legally available?' " Mr Howard told Federal Parliament.
"I think it is a fair question. I think it is a question every Victorian would be asking."
Mr Bracks will argue today that pistol owners:
HAND in all unlicen-sed weapons in a national amnesty.
FACE limits on the number of weapons they can own.
HAVE access to a buyback scheme if forced to surrender their weapons.
BE forced to face psychological testing.
HAND back their licences if they cannot prove they need their weapons.
FACE tighter controls on the types of sports they can shoot in and keep their weapons.
Growing pressure over pistol ownership comes after the Herald Sun revealed alleged Monash Uni shooter Huan Yun Xiang was carrying five licensed guns when he allegedly shot dead two classmates and wounded five people on Monday.
His licensed arsenal included a .357 calibre magnum revolver and four semi-automatic pistols.
Mr Howard told Parliament any bans would not need to affect competition shooters.
"The reality is that there is a very strong case for whatever laws you have to allow the operation of legitimate sporting shooting, there's no argument about that," he said.
"(But) I don't think we should automatically assume that if you ban any of the weapons I've mentioned you're going to prevent people from training for or participating in Commonwealth Games and Olympic Games events."
Mr Doyle called for a ban on non-essential pistols but backed handgun ownership for legitimate sporting competition.
"The Liberal Party's position is very clear, we will not tolerate people having handguns in our community unless it is for policing and security purposes," he said.
As of July 2001, an average 5 per cent of the Victorian adult population held a gun licence, the same as the national figure. On average, each owned three firearms.
There remains concern among some police about the storage of guns because of the ease with which some thieves have stolen the weapons of licence-holders.
Two safes containing sporting guns and money were stolen in a burglary on a Bayswater North factory in January.
But some police sources said forcing gun-holders to lodge their weapons at clubs was not the answer.
They said this would simply put more guns in one place where they would be a prime target for organised crime involved in firearms trafficking.
I can't imagine being in the back country with no law enforcement anywhere around and facing some scum who "know" they can take all your stuff (and kill you, for that matter) while you can do nothing to defend yourself.
I've seen tourists totally disregard any possibility of harm coming to them - some with sad results. Remember the Egyptian extremists' slaughter of tourists? Now, a handgun might not have saved you in that situation, but monsters like those can discover fear (or die) when the "unarmed" suddenly begin firing back. I'd sure rather go down firing than crawling. Who knows, I might nail some creep and get HIS rifle. Now the situation is different!
You can only get this kind of accuracy with licensing. And now they know where to go.
Would'nt that be interesting. It would be something to see if the feds had the rocks to try and confiscate all those weapons.
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