There is no justification for tighter firearms laws, a fact borne out by current crime figures, the Shooters and Fishers Party says.
“Trends in crime do not justify it,” SFP MLC Robert Borsak said as NSW began a review of its firearm laws, which were last revised in 2006.
“The number of gun thefts has been falling for years, both in actual numbers and proportionally.”
Quoting figures from the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, the SFP says theft of firearms almost halved in the state in 10 years to 2010, when 449 guns were reported stolen.
The number has been fairly steady since, but as a proportion of registered firearms, theft is still declining.
Legal firearm ownership increased from around 619,000 in 2001 to 748,000 by the end of 2010 in NSW. In the same period, the rate of theft fell from 0.137% to 0.076% between 2001 and 2010.
“All the cries by the government and police for tighter gun laws are just calculated distractions to try and cover up their own failings,” Mr Borsak said. “The facts just do not justify the approach.
The number of serious crimes such as homicide and unlawful discharge (drive-by shootings of houses, for example) had been stable, with the exception of the recent spate of drive-bys in Sydney, which are gang-related and should have no influence on how legally owned firearms are governed.
“We need a balanced and reasoned approach to the review of NSW firearm legislation, not simply for the good of licensed firearm owners but so that the people of our state can be assured police time, resources and powers are focussed on stopping criminal misuse of illegal firearms,” Mr Borsak said.
“Police should not have to waste their efforts on the bureaucratic oversight of licensed shooters, who are already among the most law-abiding people in the state and pursue their hobby under onerous regulations with heavy penalties for non-compliance,” Mr Borsak said.