New Tasmanian gun laws come into effect

Lever-action shotguns are now restricted to five rounds and 3D printing gun parts is now illegal in Tasmania, following the enactment of reforms to the state’s Firearms Act.

The laws will also prohibit outlaw motorcycle gang members from applying for firearms licences, although how this wasn’t already covered under existing Fit & Proper Person provisions is not clear.

Carrying a toy gun with criminal intent is also now a criminal offence in the Apple Isle.

Police Minister Felix Ellis said the reforms were “a win for common sense, keeping Tasmanians safe from firearm crime while supporting responsible firearms owners”. 

“These new provisions will enable Tasmania Police to anticipate and be prepared for emerging criminal and technological trends, making it a criminal offence to possess digital blueprints of a firearm, firearm part or sound suppressor on a 3D printer or electronic milling machine,” he said. 

“The amendments also expand the scope of Tasmania’s firearms amnesty to include firearm parts, ammunition and sound suppressors.”

Changes to the antique firearms rules to return them to something akin the rest of the country and allowing genuine antique longarms to be owned without a licence or PTA are expected later in the year

Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party Tasmania secretary Phillip Bigg said the legislation was a disappointing outcome for shooters in many respects, and said the introduction of Firearms Infringement Notices (essentially like a speeding fine for minor breaches of the laws) was a pitfall that could trap unsuspecting shooters.

“I encourage anyone who may receive a Firearm Infringement Notice to not pay the fine immediately, but seek legal advice first,” he said.

“Paying a fine is usually taken as an admission you are guilty — even if you are not and are just paying the fine because you can’t afford to go to court — and you may therefore be determined to no longer be a fit and proper person as a result, costing you your licence and your guns.”

He also expressed concern about the introduction of association laws, saying they may capture people who had done nothing wrong themselves.

“Just because you may be a friend or relative of someone who is a member of a motorcycle gang shouldn’t mean you can have your firearms and licence taken off you or be denied a licence in the first place,” he said.

Mr Bigg said that on the positive side, it was good to see a legislative fix implemented to ensure Tasmania Police were no longer operating illegally when dealing with surrendered ammunition, and that data recording for firearms offences would clearly differentiate between real guns and toys, to prevent the latter being used to bolster statistics.

“There was a real concern the police would bundle toy gun issues in with actual gun offences to make it seem like Tasmania had a firearms problem, but thankfully that does not look like it will be the case,” he said.

One other positive he noted was that the legislation had also removed the word “silencer” regarding sound suppressors — although it still hadn’t made the devices legal for hunters.




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Royce Wilson

Royce is something rare in Australia: A journalist who really likes guns. He has been interested in firearms as long as he can remember, and is particularly interested in military and police firearms from the 19th Century to the present. In addition to historical and collectible firearms, he is also a keen video gamer and has written for several major newspapers and websites on that subject.