Shooters demand more jail time for gun-touting crims
A BODY representing Queensland firearm owners has proposed mandatory penalties, including lengthy jail sentences, for criminals who use firearms in violent offences.
The proposal would apply to anyone who was convicted of using a firearm in the commission of offences including rape, armed robbery, sexual assault or homicide, and would see criminals spend more time behind bars.
Shooters Union Queensland said urgent action was needed after a spate of violent offences by criminals who flouted the state's firearm licensing laws and were using illegal firearms.
"In the past few weeks we have seen drive-by shootings in Brisbane, violent home invasions and even murders, and time and again we see illegal firearms being used by unlicensed people with criminal records," Union President Graham Park said.
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The announcement comes in the wake of the 20th anniversary of the Port Arthur Massacre, which led to a nationwide firearm buy-back and restrictions on the type of firearms law-abiding owners could possess.
"The post-Port Arthur laws were supposed to make us safer, but we have seen numerous incidents including the Lindt Café siege and the murder of a police employee at Parramatta that show us more needs to be done to crack down on criminals.
"Our proposal would see police efforts in focusing on criminals who use firearms would be supported by keeping those criminals off the streets for longer, allowing more resources to be dedicated to tracking down illegal firearms, detecting their illegal importation and punishing those who use them."
Licensed firearm owners must pass stringent background checks, be of continued good character, and must be willing to submit to random entry to their house by police to confirm their firearms are stored in locked safes.
"Unfortunately, criminals have no interest in following these laws and no fear of severe penalties when they break them, while law abiding firearm owners are targeted with more red tape because it's an easy solution for governments.
"Tough, mandatory penalties will send a united message to the perpetrators of firearm crimes, and not tie up farmers and recreational shooters in more red tape."