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National ban placed on replica firearms

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QUEENSLAND Labor Senator Gerry Jones has succeeded in a campaign to ban the importation and sale of replica firearms.

Senator Jones said today the ban had been agreed to by police ministers at a meeting late last year of the Australasian Police Ministers' Council.

"The Ministers agreed to prohibit the importation, sale and possession of unauthorised replica and imitation weapons, other than approved toys," he said.

"The regulations will allow the Ministers to provide exemptions for museums, war memorials and similar bodies to buy and display replica and imitation firearms.

"The ban could not be more timely as there has been an increase in the use of replicas.

"The Minister for Justice, Mr Duncan Kerr, has told me not all police services keep records on whether firearms used in crime turn out to be replicas.

"However, he says a number of police forces have noted replicas have become an easily obtainable weapon preferred by criminals in armed hold-ups.

"This shows, and the Police Ministers agreed, that there is clearly a need for more stringent control over replicas.

"The council's decision to prohibit replicas is an important step in reducing their availability to the criminal element in our society.

"I know we will never completely stop criminals from making their own replicas, but we should make it as hard as possible for them to get their hands on both replica and real weapons.

"Museums, war memorials and the like will not be disadvantaged as exemptions allow them to apply for permission to purchase and display replicas."

Senator Jones' criticism on sale of replicas has concentrated in recent months on mail-order sales across State borders.

He said that despite various restrictions in some States, people had been able to buy mail-order replicas through an ad in a

national magazine.

Buyers had only to provide proof that they were over 18 years of age and agreed that they accepted all responsibility for

complying with the laws of their State.

"This mail-order trade in replicas, which are virtually

indistinguishable from the real thing, will now be prohibited," Senator Jones said.

For further information:

Senator Gerry Jones (06) 277-3404.

Ian Ross, Press Officer. February 2 1995. Ends.