Club member's firearms stolen

A MEMBER of a shooting club is the latest victim of a multiple firearm theft in Launceston.

A thief or thieves robbed a Newstead house of 14 registered firearms, jewellery and laptops on Thursday between 12.30pm and 2.15pm.

After likely arriving on foot, the burglars fled the Clementina Street property in the resident's gold 2007 Holden Calais sedan.

The registration is A54JV and the vehicle is yet to be recovered.

The stolen firearms, used for target shooting, were registered and appropriately stored.

However, Detective Senior Sergeant Mike Gillies said a key found in the house was used to access the firearms safe.

He advised licensed firearm owners to keep keys with them at all times.

``There is no indication that it was a targeted burglary at this stage,'' Detective Senior Sergeant Gillies said.

Police urge any witnesses, including anyone who sees the stolen Holden Calais, to call authorities immediately.

People can call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or Launceston detectives on 6336 3701.

Thursday's firearm theft follows the burglary of 13 registered firearms from a Newnham house on April 1, which were also correctly stored.

The latest police data shows that between July 2013 and April 2014, 192 firearms were stolen statewide.

In 2012-13, 245 firearms were stolen.

Police Minister Rene Hidding said yesterday that he shared the concerns of licensed firearms owners who were becoming increasingly concerned that their homes might be targeted for firearm theft.

He said he intended to expedite amendments to firearms laws, which would introduce a new regime of storage requirements and harsh penalties for burglaries involving firearms.

``While I'm convinced that government databases are secure and unauthorised access can be ruled out, I have a growing concern that knowledge of private firearms storage is being discussed elsewhere,'' Mr Hidding said.

``Firearm owners tell me that they are quite prepared to have tougher storage requirements, but they also expect the government to respond with stronger deterrent measures.''

Email: ctang@examiner.com.au

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