Australian national firearms registry

It already exists: Why SIFA opposes national firearms registry

The Shooting Industry Foundation of Australia (SIFA) has added its voice to a chorus of shooting representatives decrying a federal firearms registry as an unnecessary and expensive waste of time and money.

The Prime Minister announced last week that National Cabinet had agreed a national approach to firearms management was needed, and has asked the various State and Territory Police Ministers to report back mid-year with options for implementing a national firearms register.

SIFA chairman James Walsh said the organisation was extremely concerned the plan would undermine Australia’s current firearms registry systems, which already had significant taxpayer funded investment via the state governments responsible for them. 

“In Australia, the registration of firearms is the responsibility of the state and territory jurisdictions, with the tracking of interstate firearm movements achieved via a federal government funded system managed by the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission and known as AFIN (Australian Firearms Information Network),” he said.

“Sharing of firearms data is only effective where state and territory registries have accurate and timely data available to share. 

“Governments have admitted that the accuracy of the firearms data they hold currently varies, and this is directly linked to the resources they have available and the need for further government funding.”

Mr Walsh was unequivocal in explicitly stating Australia did not need a separate national firearms registry and instead called for proper funding for existing registries as well as AFIN.

“Australian governments have already spent tens of millions of dollars in developing jurisdictional firearms registries and to have these systems integrated federally with the AFIN,” he said.

“What the Federal Government is calling for, already exists. 

“All Australian governments must commit to properly funding the AFIN and existing state and territory firearms registries, in order to ensure they have the necessary staff and resources available to boost their capabilities, increase data accuracy and service levels, while ensuring the timely collection, input and processing of firearms data.

“This will also ensure that Australia’s strong and robust firearms laws continue to function as originally intended and uphold public safety.”

In a situation all too familiar to Australian shooters, Mr Walsh said the Federal Government had so far appeared unwilling to engage with shooting industry representatives over the matter.

“SIFA has attempted to address our concerns with the Government on behalf of the Australian shooting industry, and at this stage we have been largely ignored and told that consultation will happen at a later stage,” he said.

“Given that SIFA has been at the forefront of these discussions, and the design and implementation of the current systems by which our industry functions, SIFA also calls on the Federal Government to re-establish the Commonwealth Firearms Advisory Council and initiate immediate consultation with the Australian shooting industry.”




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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.


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