TASMANIAN gun owners are arming themselves with more registered firearms than ever before.
Seventeen years after Australia's worst mass killing, Tasmania has the highest number of firearms since registration laws were tightened in 1996.
Following the Port Arthur massacre the state's registered gun population has increased by nearly 40 per cent. In real terms the 94,470 firearms in 1998 rose to more than 130,000 firearms this May.
Based on the 2011 census, that's nearly one firearm for every Tasmanian family.
Firearm licensing figures indicate it isn't simply gun owners replacing the banned firearms they were required to hand in after stricter gun laws were introduced.
In fact, despite the growth in firearms, licensed gun owners have declined from 56,786 in 1996 to below 35,000.
In a 2005 special report on gun control, Tasmania's Auditor-General Mike Blake estimated there were 142,000 firearms circulating the state before the Port Arthur massacre.
Given there are 131,000 registered firearms it's possible the state has rearmed to pre-Port Arthur levels if illegal guns are factored in.
Tasmania Police does not estimate how many black market firearms there are but said it destroys about 1400 each year.
Gun researcher Philip Alper's study, released this year, shows Australia has rearmed to the same level as the mid '90s with more than one million guns imported in the past 10 years.
According to the Sydney University professor, this cancels out the one million firearms handed in during two buy backs after the Port Arthur massacre.
Using Professor Alper's research, Gunpolicy.org calculates Tasmania has more firearm owners and more guns per head of population than anywhere in Australia.
According to the figures, there are nine gun owners out of every 100 Tasmanians, followed by the Northern Territory, which has seven in every 100. The Australian Capital Territory records the lowest figure with one out of every 100.
Meanwhile, Tasmania has more than 25 guns for every 100 people, five times the number in the ACT, followed by the NT with 19 firearms per capita.
Tasmanian Senate candidate for the Shooters and Fishers party Matt Allen said the state's gun arsenal was not excessive.
"There's 35,000 registered firearm licence holders in Tasmania so that's only 3.6 firearms per licence," he said.
Gun Control Australia spokesman Roland Browne disagrees, and accuses the gun lobby of stalling reform.
"There's a relationship between the number of guns in the community and the abuse of those guns or gun offences from theft," he said.
Mr Brown criticised Police Minister David O'Byrne for not acting on a year-old review of firearm laws by Police Commissioner Darren Hine which has not yet been released publicly.
Mr O'Byrne said the government planned to introduce gun legislation in the next session of Parliament.
Deputy Commissioner of Tasmania Police Scott Tilyard said police were serious about taking illegal and unwanted guns out of circulation.