Gun crime up but fewer shot

TOTAL firearm incidents are on the rise, yet fewer people were shot last year, Tasmania Police’s latest figures show.

In its annual performance report there were 172 firearm incidents in 2013-14, up 17 from the previous year.

The 10 per cent increase in gun crime comes as a five-year-old firearm reform process continues to stall at the state government level.

The report stated eight people suffered gun-related injuries compared with 10 in 2012-13.

Firearm theft was down, as was the number of times a gun was used as a weapon.

In late 2013 the former Labor government inserted new firearm offences into the state’s Criminal Code, which carries 21 years’ jail for gun offences.

The reports show the new amendments were only used five times last year.

The gun figures show there were 128,312 licensed firearm in the state, or enough guns for every fourth Tasmanian.

The figures showed there were 446 guns attached to expired licences.

The number of unlicensed gun holders was 177 people.

‘‘We are concerned about offences involving firearms,’’ Police Minister Rene Hidding said.

‘‘Since taking on this portfolio I’ve made it a priority to work on the draft amendments to the Firearms Act. 

‘‘We are continuing to work with Tasmania Police and all other stakeholders, and I expect to present the draft amendments to the parliament this year.’’

When it came to traffic incidents there were 262 fatal and serious injury crashes, up from 236 the year before.

However, total crashes declined 6484 to 5793.

Launceston saw 43 fewer crashes, while there were 182 fewer in Hobart and 125 less in Devonport.

The biggest increase in fatal and serious crashes occurred in the North-East with a total of 28, 11 more than last year.

Mr Hidding said the Tasmanian Road Safety Strategy 2007-2016 had exceed its first target by reducing serious injuries and fatalities from 2005 to 2010 by 31per cent.

‘‘Serious casualty crash data is volatile year to year – but the longer-term data in Tasmania is trending downwards,’’ he said.

The Third Action Plan 2014-2016 will be the final plan under the strategy.

Mr Hidding said this would include government election commitments to introduce motorcycle safety treatments on the Great Eastern Drive and cyclist warning signage on popular riding routes and other initiatives.

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