Tasmanian firearms advocate shares views on new laws

AMENDMENTS: The new firearms storage requirements will take effect in Tasmania, with changes to firearms laws to commence on December 4, 2017.

AMENDMENTS: The new firearms storage requirements will take effect in Tasmania, with changes to firearms laws to commence on December 4, 2017.

Gun owners in Tasmania have voiced their opinions on changes to storage requirements, which are due to come into effect at the end of the year.

The new regulations have the potential to impact gun owners in the state, according to a passionate firearms advocate.

Cheryl Arnol has been a shooter for more than 40 years, and is one of a group of Tasmanian firearms owners pushing for “sensible laws”.

She said the changes had the potential to impact licensed gun owners financially, but also included some positive changes to the way guns must be stored.

When referring to the negative impact, Mrs Arnol said the minimum thickness required for storage safes may cause issues for owners. Under the new regulations, safes containing Category A or B firearms must be made of metal, which is at least 2 millimetres thick. For Category C, D and H firearms, the safe must be at least 3 millimetres thick.

“Steel is not specific, what is sold as 2 millimetres may in fact only be 1.75 millimetres,” she said. 

“So there is this perceived issue around that … are the safe manufacturers going to be vigilant enough to ensure they are selling the correct product to firearms license holders? What if it ends up being less?”

While she was unable to put a figure on how many people would be impacted, Mrs Arnol said the“critical” issue was ensuring storage requirements were “achievable” for all licensed owners in the state.

“Law-abiding firearms owners don’t want the laws watered down, we don’t have a problem with the laws as long as they are reasonable,” she said.

“We go through a really vigorous process to become firearms owners … we value our firearms and it’s not just the monetary value, we value the ability to own a firearm in this state.

“At the end of the day, we will always advocate for sensible laws for firearms owners.”

An amendment to the regulations that has been welcomed by Mrs Arnol is the option of bolting a safe to either the wall or the floor, rather than both.

Now, receptacles weighing less than 150 kilograms (when empty) will be able to be bolted twice to a wall and twice to the floor or four times to either the wall or the floor.

“They have recognised that bolting to the wall and the floor was probably going to be problematic and incredibly difficult for people renting homes- so that has been a positive outcome.”

Other requirements include storing ammunition in a locked receptacle that is separate from or in a separate compartment of the firearms safe, with a different key.

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