The Liberal Party in the Australian state of Tasmania is planning to reform some of the state’s extreme firearms laws. The modest changes include doubling the term of Class A and B licenses terms from five to ten years and increasing the license term for class C firearms from one to two years.
Class A licenses cover airguns, .22 rimfire, and break-open shotguns. Class B licenses are most single-shot, double, and manually operated center-fire rifles. Class C license holders can have semi-automatic rifles that hold no more than 10 rounds, and pump-action shotguns. The proposed reforms would allow Class C licenses to have silencers or suppressors.
The Liberals have promised changes to gun laws if elected which would allow greater to access to Category C firearms — such as self-loading rifles, pump-action shotguns — for farm workers and sporting shooters.
Licence holders in category C would also be allowed gun silencers.
The proposed changes would also:
Extend gun licence duration for Category A and B firearms from five years to 10 years; or in the case of Category C, from one year to two years
Relax penalties for minor gun storage law breaches
The proposal was sent to a firearms consultation group, including farmers and sporting shooters, about three weeks ago, but was not released publicly.
The Liberals’ Rene Hidding wrote to firearms owners telling them the party also planned to establish a Tasmanian Firearms Owners Council.
The party released the changes several hours after media coverage, saying the policy was aimed at “helping agricultural producers, particularly farmers to protect crops”.
The reaction in the Australian national media to the prospect of even slightly relaxing Tasmania’s gun control laws has been spectacular. The media paraded survivors from the Port Arthur massacre, that happened 20+ years ago, across the screen numerous times.
Australia’s primary anti-gun group was given plenty of air time. I recall seeing one person from an Australian shooting association, and perhaps one spokesman from a farmers group. The bias down here in favor of anti-gun views was is every bit as evident as we see in the United States.
I recall one argument that no Australian state could be allowed to reform its gun controls because the laws gave the rest of the world “hope”. I estimate the anti-gun time compared to time given to those for reforming the law was easily 10 to 1.
The reforms in question are so mild and commonsense it’s hard to argue with them. Unless you’re an ordained hoplophobe. But Tasmania wouldn’t be the first. Queensland has already lengthened the term of their class C license from 1 to 3 years and has had no problems. New Zealand sells suppressors or silencers over the counter to anyone with cash.
The relaxation of penalties for minor gun storage breaches is a direct response to the extreme harshness of the current law. In New South Wales, the police destroy hundreds of thousands of dollars of valuable collector guns “because the law requires it.”
One collector lost over a hundred thousand dollars of super-grade pre-64 Winchester model 70s topped with expensive European scopes. A Supreme Court judge said that the penalties are harsh and are meant to be so.
The reforms will be put to a vote Tasmania. For some perspective, Tasmania is an island separated from the continent of Australia by the Bass Strait, about 150 miles of ocean. It’s about the size of West Virginia, with 518,000 residents.
Before the 1996 gun grab, Tasmania had the most moderate firearms laws in all Australia and has felt the harsh penalties more than any other Australian state.
The Labor Party (which championed the gun confiscation) were in power in Tasmania for 16 years before the Liberals took power. The Australian Liberal Party is closer to American conservatives in policies. The Liberal party in Tasmania has been in the majority for the last four years and is the odds-on favorite to maintain power.
Australia has fairly complicated voting system with multiple parties. Voting is mandatory, with a fine of about $20 for failure to cast a ballot.
©2018 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included. Gun Watch