Calls from David Leyonhjelm and others for US style gun laws in response to the Sydney siege must be rejected and instead a closer review of gun licensing and control must be undertaken.
What is apparent with the confusion between the Prime Minister and the NSW Police however is that there is an urgent need to improve information sharing and accountability for gun licensing across Australia.
This incident has prompted examination of the gun laws in NSW which shows that even where people are charged with serious violence offences, including violence against women, they do not automatically have their gun licenses and weapons removed. This is simply unacceptable and in the new Parliament in 2015 to introduce laws to address this public safety issue.
Greens MP and Justice Spokesperson David Shoebridge said:
“Senator Leyonhjelm and the Shooters Party among others are seriously off the mark if they think that having more guns on the street would have made anyone safer.
“There is clear and consistent evidence linking increased gun numbers with increased gun violence. This is something the public of Australia fully understands.
“Concealed carry of weapons is simply madness, which would likely see many more guns on our streets.
“Instead what we should be looking for is leadership from all levels of Government to provide absolute clarity about gun licensing and ownership.
“It was incredibly worrying to discover that there is a breakdown in communication between Federal and State crime agencies on something so critical as whether or not the gunman had a gun license. Something is clearly wrong with the state of our licensing system if this can be the case.
“The siege has also highlighted that it is at least theoretically possible to still hold a gun license and retain their weapons, even after having been charged with serious violence offences. This situation cannot continue.
“The NSW Parliament must stare down the gun lobby and fix the law to ensure that all of those facing serious sexual assault or other violence charges have their gun licenses immediately revoked pending the outcome of the trial.
“State and Federal Government deliver constant rhetoric about police powers but surely one of the first steps in making NSW safer would be to get guns out of the hands of people charged with serious violent offences?
“A gun licence is a privilege not a right, and removing a licence when a person is charged with a violent offence is a basic precautionary measure,” Mr Shoebridge said.