Shooters could soon face the same blood alcohol restrictions as drivers and boat operators under new laws proposed by anti-gun groups. According to this report from the ABC, though, some sporting shooters say the proposed changes go too far.
This week the Upper House will debate proposed changes to the Firearms Act.
Gun Control Australia Vice President, Roland Browne, wants the debate to include his proposal to impose a blood alcohol limit of 0.05 per cent for anyone handling a gun.
“If people can’t drive a car or a power boat with alcohol in their blood like that they should not be able to handle a gun,” he said.
The proposed changes have drawn strong support from some upper house MPs.
Independent MP Ivan Dean said he was considering introducing the amendment.
“It’s an amendment I will certainly consider,” he said.
“I’m of the view that nobody should have possession of a firearm if they have a high alcohol reading.”
But gun users groups said they would strongly oppose to the move.
Andrew Judd from the Sporting Shooters Association of Australia, Tasmania branch, said the current legislation went far enough.
“Under the current legislation you cannot be in possession of a firearm whilst under the influence of alcohol,” he said.
Mr Judd said he had no memory of an alcohol-related gun accident at any club in Tasmania.
“There’s been a written and unwritten rule of gun safety for many years which is that guns and alcohol don’t mix and we’ve self regulated for many years,” he said.
He said enforcing the proposed rule changes would be very difficult.
“At what stage does a police officer bring out a breathalyser?” he said.
“Will he walk into a hunting camp for instance and breathalyse everybody there?”
But Mr Browne said the current legislation only covered drunkenness and did not specify a moderate blood alcohol limit.
“The offence at the moment for being under the influence of alcohol means you have to be drunk,” he said.
“Well we want to have a limit on the amount of alcohol that people can have that’s a whole lot lower than that.”
Mr Browne said many gun users were responsible but that the law needed to cover those who were not.
He has sent the proposal to members of the upper house.