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Posted: 2/24/2006 1:58:16 AM EDT
For background: Queensland (QLD) and New South Wales (NSW) are states herre in Australia.


From "The Queensland Courier Mail"

Gun ownership explodes
Jason Gregory
22feb06

GUN ownership is on the rise in Queensland with evidence the tough restrictions introduced after the Port Arthur massacre nearly a decade ago are losing their effectiveness.

Despite bans on certain types of weapons and a successful buyback and amnesty, police figures show there are more firearms in the community now than three years ago.
Police Minister Judy Spence yesterday foreshadowed possible changes to the Weapons Act, to be reviewed this year, saying she was "aware of some operational suggestions from police and these will be considered as part of this review". [Empasis mine - John M]

Queensland police Weapons Licensing Branch manager, Inspector Mike Crowley, said gun ownership applications had increased 30 per cent since 2002. Up to 11,000 of last year's 26,000 applicants were first-timers.

"There has not been a decrease in the number of firearms, but an increase. It shows they do not really depreciate and are a resilient commodity," Insp Crowley said.

"There are still a lot of people buying and selling firearms. Certainly in the past three years this has increased."

According to police figures, the number of licensed gun owners dropped from 158,000 to 153,000 in the past year but the number of weapons increased from 511,580 in September 2004 to 527,772 last December.

And while legal gun ownership is on the rise, illegal use of firearms is not decreasing, despite an initial decline following the introduction of restrictive laws in 1996.

The latest Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show the number of robberies involving weapons across the nation is the same as it was five years ago.

The number of abductions involving weapons is higher, and while there has been a fall in firearm murders, more than a quarter of attempted murders involved guns.

Bond University criminologist Paul Wilson said: "There are indications guns are being used illegally more than a few years ago, and a stark look needs to be taken into whether firearm laws are losing their effectiveness."

Opposition Leader Lawrence Springborg said gun laws were only partially effective, and supported toughening them to "target the real criminals".

Last year a question on notice revealed more than 5100 firearms had been reported stolen from 1996 to 2003, and only 916 were recovered.

Police figures show dealer transactions rose 30 per cent from 50,000 to 70,000 in the past year, and transactions between licensed shooters and those giving up their licences accounted for most of the remaining sales.

Many of the new licensees were sporting shooters applying for multiple weapons, for occupations such as security monitoring and farming.

"We recognise the vast majority of firearm owners do not pose a risk to public safety, (but) we need to balance this to ensure we have a system protecting the public from potential tragedies such as Port Arthur," Insp Crowley said.

"The Government has put in place what they think is the best approach, and we will implement that, (but) we are always looking to improve the system."

In the Port Arthur massacre in Tasmania, a lone gunman killed 35 people, and Insp Crowley said the importation of after-market military magazines that could be fitted to centre-fire rifles acquired legally in Australia had recently been identified as having "a potential for misuse".

More than 131,000 guns were surrendered in Queensland from 1996 to 1999. In 1996 there were 273,000 licensed firearm owners with an untold number of weapons.

In 1999 then Weapons Licensing Branch head Insp John McCoomb estimated 500,000 guns in Queensland were illegally held.

Sporting Shooters Association of Australia secretary Paul McNabb said Queensland figures reflected those of NSW, and "new gun owners are seen as law-abiding citizens participating in a government-sanctioned sport".
Link Posted: 2/24/2006 2:03:52 AM EDT
In other shocking news, Richard Simmons is gay, Ted Kennedy is liberal, and professional wrestling is fake.
Link Posted: 2/24/2006 2:15:25 AM EDT
<potential COC violation> don't read further if your panties get in a wad easily



I think, as in this country, Aussies are prepping for the upcoming showdown with the ROP'ers. They weaving their way through the restrictions to be armed and protected.
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