Gunshot injuries triple in year

GUNSHOT wound admissions to the Launceston General Hospital emergency department have tripled, according to information obtained by The Examiner.

A right-to-information request showed that in 2011-12 there were three gunshot wound presentations to the LGH emergency department, increasing threefold to nine in 2012-13.

The causes of the gunshot wounds are unknown, because no breakdown of the data is available.

October police data, however,  shows that people injured statewide because of firearms offending is five in the year to date, compared with four in the previous period.

During the same period, a firearm was used as a weapon 20 times in the year to date, up from 16 previously.

Launceston's infamous ``firearm feud'' earlier this year, included a man suffering a gunshot wound to his knee at Rocherlea, and an innocent passer-by shot in the leg in York Street.

Police statistics also show that a firearm was used in 24 per cent of armed robberies in 2012-13, up from 17 per cent in 2011-12.

Opposition police spokeswoman Elise Archer questioned how the government failed to understand why there was a gun problem, when the number of LGH emergency department gunshot wound presentations had tripled. She said the opposition would get ``tough on crime'' and make Tasmania safer.

She reiterated policies to boost the police service by 37 officers, restore the Public Order Response Team and introduce a Serious and Organised Crime Squad.

But the Greens called on the opposition to support tougher gun laws, following the theft of 14 firearms from one house at the weekend.

Greens police spokesman Paul O'Halloran said 258 firearms had been stolen in the past financial year, with many from gun safes that met current standards.

``The 14 firearms that were stolen from a storage unit that complied with the law, are now illegal weapons at large, posing a real threat to our community and our police officers,'' he said.

Police union leader Pat Allen said there had been a rise in serious crime and police were doing a ``great job'' at addressing this, but anecdotally, it appeared that firearm-related offences were increasing.

Police Minister David O'Byrne said the government was committed to keeping Tasmania the safest place in Australia.

He said the recruits training at the police academy would deliver more than 50 extra police officers to the frontline.

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