Crimes committed with the use of a gun would earn twice the normal penalty under the Shooters and Fishers Party's proposed amendment to the Crimes Act.

Mandatory sentence for gun crime too, please

The introduction of mandatory sentencing for alcohol fuelled violence or one-punch assaults that lead to death has the Shooters and Fishers Party hopeful of getting up a bill that has been pushed since 1998.

The SFP has long been advocate for mandatory sentencing as a way of solving the problem of drive-by shootings and other crimes involving firearms, but has had little success bringing the issue to vote, a second reading in the Upper House back in 2012 is as far as it got.

In a report in the Daily Telegraph yesterday it was revealed that it had at least been discussed at senior level late last year after the Crimes Amendment (Possession or Discharge of Firearms in Commission of Offences) Bill 2012 was put to the Legislative Council nearly two years ago.

The Telegraph report said, “The senior-level talks have given hope to the Shooters (and Fishers Party) that mandatory minimums could come back on the agenda, especially in the wake of laws announced by Premier Barry O’Farrell last week that will hit convicted booze brawlers with compulsory sentences.

“Shooters MP Robert Brown said National Party upper house leader Duncan Gay mentioned gun crime mandatory minimum sentences in a general discussion of legislation ‘about three months ago’.

“The Shooters (and Fishers Party) have also confirmed a government staffer sought more information on behalf of the Premier’s office about eight months ago on their private members’ bill, which proposes anyone convicted of a gun crime automatically has their penalty doubled.”

The bill reads: “The object of this Bill is to make it an offence to be in possession of a firearm or imitation firearm at the time of committing or attempting to commit certain specified serious offences or to aid, abet, counsel or procure the commission by another person of a specified serious offence while that person is in possession of a firearm or imitation firearm. The Bill also imposes a further penalty if a firearm or imitation firearm is discharged or used at the time that either of the new offences is committed.”

In the second reading of the bill, the SFP’s Robert Borsak told the Upper House,

“Law-abiding firearms owners are fed up to the back teeth with the odium they must wear whenever a drive-by shooting or some other shooting incident occurs simply because they own a firearm and shoot targets or hunt.

“The entire point of the bill is to say to the criminal: Maybe you are the type of germ who does not think it matters that you commit crimes against other people. Just know that if you commit those crimes while you are carrying a firearm it will not only make that crime worse; it will make you guilty of a much worse crime and one that could put you away for twice as long—no arguments and no excuses.

“We must send the right message to the hoons, goons, home invaders, muggers and rapists. The message must be: Do the crime and you will do the time, but do the crime armed with a firearm and we will be so outraged that we will throw you in the slot and throw away the key. I believe this is the only message that the gun-toting criminal will understand.”

SFP’s Robert Borsak also explained the proposed bill on 2UE radio and put to rest fears that it would have an impact on other firearms offences.

The presenter asked whether a farmer in possession of an unregistered firearm would also be subject to mandatory sentencing and likened that to a criminal carrying a pistol on the street.

“Our bill deals with the use of firearms in crime and it deals with the ever-increasing use of firearms in drive-bys and what-not in NSW,” he said. “Certainly since the O’Farrell government came to power in 2011 there have been more than 300 uses of firearms illegally in the commission of crime.

“The bill is not designed to go after people who are in possession of firearms, such as a farmer. It’s an amendment to the crimes Act only.”




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