Lismore is home to 6117 registered guns

A CASINO gun owner has amassed one of the state's largest private arsenals, with 88 firearms registered in his name.

A freedom of information request by the NSW Greens has revealed the Lismore postcode (2480) is home to 6117 registered guns, spread across 1790 owners, while Casino has 990 registered owners and 4559 guns.

Greens MP David Shoebridge sparked an online debate when he suggested on Facebook that allowing people to accumulate such vast weapons hoards was a public threat - especially if the guns were stolen.

"The Greens accept that there are people in the community who have a genuine reason to own a gun," he said.

"Farmers on rural properties often require firearms for euthanising injured stock or controlling wild invasive animals.

"But it is impossible to see how any one individual can establish a 'genuine' or 'good' reason to have dozens, or even hundreds of guns."

The party has set up a website listing gun ownership levels by postcode.

Byron Bay (2481) had 154 legal gun owners with 407 firearms, while Ballina (2478) was home to 1248 guns in 460 separate collections.

There were 1784 registered firearms in Kyogle (2474), with the postcode's largest private stockpile numbering 37 guns.

The data excluded weapons owned by firearms dealers and collectors.

There were 850,634 registered guns in NSW as of December last year - up from 619,000 in 2001.

Mr Shoebridge said a legal loophole in Australia's laws allowed gun owners to "endlessly recycle" the same reason they used to get their first firearm in order to get dozens more.

The Greens have called for reforms that would force gun owners to provide a separate and extraordinary reason for owning each weapon once they had five to their name.

Firearms Owners Association of Australia president Ron Owen said shooters were already unfairly targeted and mired in red tape.

"All this does is put restrictions on good people and waste time, money and resources on controlling them," he said.

"If you have over 30 firearms, you have to jump through all the hoops - you have to have increased security.

"The idea of gun registration is just insane."

Former prime minister John Howard, who introduced gun control laws in the wake of the 1996 Port Arthur massacre, last week said restrictions should be made even tighter.

"No, the laws are not adequate," he told SBS's Insight program.

"I am wholly against any watering down of any existing laws.

Check gun numbers for your postcode at www.toomanyguns.org.

- ARM NEWSDESK



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