Our agreement around firearms must not be eroded

in Press Releases

Media Release - Monday 14 August, 2017

Australia’s national gun laws, which have kept our community safe for 20 years, are under threat as individual state governments yield to sustained pressure from firearms lobbying.

As reported by the ABC (“Gun control advocates warn “chain reaction” eroding Howard’s gun laws”), NSW’s watered-down amendments to the Firearms Act NSW 1996 will commence from September 1.

The changes are detrimental to the safety of our most vulnerable.

The Alannah & Madeline Foundation believes that our strong gun laws, brought in after the tragic events of Port Arthur in 1996, create a cohesive and safer community for our children.

The Foundation’s CEO, Lesley Podesta, is imploring all state and territory governments to implement the National Firearms Agreement and not allow politicking on guns to threaten the safety of our communities.

“We believe that firearms laws and regulations should be assessed against a key question – how well does this protect our children? The safety of our children should be the highest moral responsibility of our leaders,” Ms Podesta says.

“National safety standards need to be consistent - an intended key feature of the 2017 National Firearms Agreement 2017. We are deeply worried that the new regulations being introduced in NSW will mean different rules now apply there. And once they have weakened the framework, pressure on other states will follow.”

Ms Podesta agrees with Gun Control Australia chair, Samantha Lee, who said that changes often began with gun lobby wins in NSW.

Ms Podesta says NSW’s moves include changing the laws around security checks and “minor’s permits” both of which will greatly increase the risks of death and injury from a firearm.

“Maintaining and strengthening our regulation of access to firearms is fundamental to keeping children safe,” she says.  “And an arrangement to introduce “minor’s permits” to children effectively circumvents the 2017 NFA requirement that licences shouldn’t be issued to people aged under 18.”

The Foundation also questions whether removing provisions to allow unlicensed shooters to possess and use guns at approved shooting ranges keeps people safe.

“All children deserve to be safe and the most important test for any new law or regulation should be the safety of our community.  We believe that the proposed new NSW regulations do not meet this standard.”

Read our submission here.

For more information or to request an interview with CEO Lesley Podesta, please contact Deborah Morris on 0450 784 746 or email deb.morris@amf.org.au

About the Foundation.

The Alannah & Madeline Foundation is the leading national not-for-profit organisation working to protect children from the effects of violence and bullying.

The Foundation has assisted 2 million children 20 years.

We believe that no child should feel unsafe or be threatened with violence.

The Foundation’s vision is that every child will live in a safe and supportive environment.

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