The Liberals have decided to relax some of the state’s firearms regulations to appease shooters and farmers lobby groups.
The changes, which will be made if the party is re-elected by majority, will take gun licence testing and training from sole provider, TasTAFE, and allow farmers to carry pump-action shotguns and self-reloading weapons unlocked in their vehicles.
The party would also establish a nine-member Tasmanian Firearms Owners Council to review and develop protocol around firearms being carried in public places.
It will also look at the circumstances around banning guns that have a "military appearance", and the creation of a new gun category - Category E - to encompass all prohibited firearms.
In a letter to stakeholders, Police Minister Rene Hidding said the government would work to find further improvements within Tasmania Police’s Firearms Services division, including setting up a digital platform where firearm owners can manage their licence and registration details.
"We have readily acknowledged that service levels at Firearms Services have disappointed some,” he said.
Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party Tasmania chairman, and election candidate, Wayne Turale said Firearms Services had been under-resourced and mismanaged for some time, delivering conflicting regulatory information to gunowners.
With only three firearms trainers in the state, Mr Turale said there were lengthy delays in allowing people to obtain licences.
Mr Turale said farmers had been charged by police for carrying unlocked weapons in their vehicles while crossing public roads which ran through their property.
Notably, he was pleased to see that prohibition of guns with a “military appearance” would be reviewed, saying competition shooters using custom-fitted firearms had been affected.
“Firearms should be assessed on the action, not how they look,” Mr Turale said.
He said police officers needed better firearm training, beyond service pistol use, and there needed to be standard operations procedures implemented for future firearm inspections.
If Labor wins government, the party wants to examine the possibility of replacing police officers within Firearm Services with a qualified, civilian-based administrative body.
It has committed to work with the Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association to sort out regulatory issues it says impede farmers from legitimately using firearms for day-to-day use.
The party also wants to introduce infringement notices instead of court summons for minor breaches of firearm storage regulations.
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