New gun laws poll earns ire of Police Minister Michael Ferguson

FOR AND AGAINST: A new ReachTEL poll suggests Tasmanians are against increased access to semi-automatic rifles and shotguns in the state. The Liberals say the poll is 'designed to scare people'.
FOR AND AGAINST: A new ReachTEL poll suggests Tasmanians are against increased access to semi-automatic rifles and shotguns in the state. The Liberals say the poll is 'designed to scare people'.

New polling suggests there is significant opposition to the state government’s plan to change Tasmania’s gun laws – but Police Minister Michael Ferguson says it is nothing more than a “push-poll”.

Gun Control Australia commissioned the ReachTEL poll, which surveyed 1188 Tasmanians on May 2.

It asked the question: “Under the 1996 National Firearms Agreement Tasmania banned possession of semi-automatic rifles for most civilian purposes, including recreational shooting. The Tasmanian government wants to change the National Firearms Agreement to increase access to semi-automatic rifles and shotguns for target shooting. Do you support or oppose this change?”

Of those who were polled, 17.2 per cent strongly supported the change, 10.3 per cent supported it, 45.8 per cent strongly opposed it and 22.9 per cent opposed it.

Mr Ferguson reiterated that the government would not do anything to undermine the NFA.

“This is a tricky, shameful and deceitful push-poll …  designed to scare people,” he said.

Opposition police spokesman Shane Broad said Premier Will Hodgman had no choice but to abandon the proposal to change Tasmania’s gun laws.

“Premier Hodgman now has no choice but to abandon the firearm law changes the Liberals tried to sneak under the radar during the election and start a proper consultation process,” Dr Broad said.

A Legislative Council inquiry has been established to examine the potential impacts of changing the state’s gun laws, which were strengthened after the Port Arthur massacre in 1996.