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Greens gunning for illegal weapons inquiry

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Senator Penny Wright MEDIA RELEASE 18 June 2014

Greens gunning for illegal weapons inquiry

The Australian Greens will today move to establish a Senate inquiry to investigate new measures to combat illegal gun crime in Australia, spokesperson for Legal Affairs Senator Penny Wright has announced.

Senator Wright said more needed to be done to keep Australian streets safe and prepare for new weapons technology.

“Despite all the reforms of the Howard years, there are still too many gun-related tragedies in Australia,” Senator Wright said.

“In the past few years many of these have been gang-related crime, committed with stolen guns. There must be more we can do to make it harder for criminals to get their hands on deadly weapons.

“My inquiry will look at how the illegal gun trade is working; who’s behind it, how they are operating, and what we can do about it.

“We want to find out whether police have all the resources they require and what laws or systems Australia might need to deal with 3D printing of weapons, which currently can’t be detected by security scanners.”

Senator Wright said the inquiry would also look specifically at a ban on semi-automatic handguns.

“There are more than 10,000 handguns on the black market. These are the weapon of choice for gangs and drug traders, because they’re small, easy to hide, easy to fire and deadly.

“After the Port Arthur Massacre, Australia banned semi-automatic longarm guns, but not semi-automatic pistols. Handguns are designed to kill people - nothing else - so what justification is there for people in the community to own them?

“The Australian Greens’ view is we can reduce gang crime by taking away gang weapons.”

Media contact: Danielle Forsyth - 0417 173 508

Senator Wright will give notice of the inquiry today for a vote tomorrow, where the motion will pass with the support of the Labor party. The proposed terms of reference are:

The ability of Australian law enforcement authorities to eliminate gun-related violence in the community, with reference to: a. the estimated number, distribution and lethality of illegal guns in Australia; b. the operation and consequences of the illicit firearms trade, including both outlawed and

stolen guns within Australia; c. the adequacy of current laws and resourcing to enable law enforcement authorities to respond to technological advances in gun technology, including firearms made from parts

which have been imported separately or covertly to avoid detection, and firearms made with the use of 3D printers; d. the extent to which the number and types of guns stolen each year in Australia increase the risk posed to the safety of police and the community, including the proportion of gun-

related crime involving legal firearms which are illegally held; e. the effect banning semi-automatic handguns would have on the number of illegally held firearms in Australia; f. stricter storage requirements and the use of electronic alarm systems for guns stored in


g. any related matters.