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Monday, 19 March 2012
Page: 2210

Commonwealth Firearms Advisory Council

(Question No. 1479)


Senator Bob Brown asked the Minister representing the Minister for Home Affairs, upon notice, on 23 November 2011:

In regard to the Commonwealth Firearms Advisory Council (CFAC) which was established in 2010:

(1) Which members do not represent the gun lobby.

(2) Has the CFAC ever discussed, advocated or put to the Minister:

   (a) the reintroduction of 0.50 BMG, military issue ammunition (which bullets can travel up to 2.5 kilometres);

   (b) the introduction of silencers;

   (c) the introduction of paintball markers that look like M16s;

   (d) the relaxation of hand gun laws to facilitate big magazines and high calibre firearms for use in competition; or

   (e) mental health issues and the availability of knives;

if so, in what way do the matters fall within the business of the CFAC.


Senator Ludwig: The Minister for Home Affairs has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1) The CFAC is an advisory council that exists principally to advise the Commonwealth Government on the technical operation of the laws governing the importation of firearms, as contained in the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations 1956. Accordingly, the members of CFAC were selected on the basis of their specific individual knowledge of firearms and not because of their stance on firearms issues.

(2) (a) Yes. The Attorney-General's Department has recently conducted public consultation on proposed amendments to the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations 1956, including the proposal to increase restrictions on the importation of .50 BMG firearms (among other things).

(b) Yes. At the fourth CFAC meeting, held on 27 October 2011, the CFAC discussed the current controls in place which regulate the use of sound moderators.

(c) No. Proposals to introduce paintball markers that imitate or replicate automatic firearms, such as the M16, have not been discussed by the CFAC.

(d) At the fourth CFAC meeting, held on 27 October 2011, the CFAC discussed a proposal relating to the use of higher calibre handguns in international sporting competitions within the context of current import controls. Proposals to introduce larger capacity magazines for handguns have not been discussed by the CFAC.

(e) At the third and fourth CFAC meetings, held on 28 July and 27 October 2011, the CFAC discussed knives in the context of proposed amendments to Schedule 2 and 3 of the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations 1956 and recent reviews of weapons legislation in Queensland, Western Australia and South Australia. Mental health issues were discussed by the CFAC at the third meeting in the context of recent suicides at public commercial ranges and discussions at the June 2011 Firearms and Weapons Policy Working Group meeting.

These matters fall within the business of the CFAC in accordance with the CFAC's Terms of Reference.