Gun registry security backed

POLICE Minister Rene Hidding has publicly backed Service Tasmania after security surrounding its gun registration process was questioned.

 A Launceston pistol club president proposed the one-stop shop for government services should be excised from the registration process.

The man, who suggested information about gun owners should be exposed to as few people as possible, made the comments after 14 firearms were stolen from a shooting club member's home at Newstead.

He believed gun registration should be handled exclusively by Tasmania Police as was previously the case.

However Mr Hidding dismissed the idea.

``Following close scrutiny on my part since becoming a minister I have confidence, as does Tasmania Police,  in the security of the firearms registry and Service Tasmania's role in administering it,'' he said yesterday.

Mr Hidding has flagged tougher penalties for gun thieves and stricter firearm storage requirements but would not be drawn on the details. 

The former government introduced a specific crime of stealing a firearm, which carries  a maximum 21 years' jail.

The Examiner asked if the government  was considering mandatory minimum jail sentences for gun theft or if it would make possession of a stolen firearm and/or attempted gun theft a criminal code offence.

Mr Hidding did not respond.

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