Tasmanian firearms inquiry is making progress

The chair of a Legislative Council inquiry into proposed firearm law reforms says it will be an “enormous task” to complete it before the end of the year.

Windermere independent MLC Ivan Dean said the committee conducting the inquiry had received 104 submissions by the closing date last Friday.

“To receive 100 plus submissions is a big task for us,” Mr Dean said.

“I’m not surprised at all but, I’m quite overwhelmed by the task ahead.

“Each submission has made their position very clear.”

Mr Dean said the committee would meet on Wednesday, August 15 to go through the submissions and determine who would be called to evidence at hearings.

He said “quite a few” submissions had come from interstate.

“Some are quite lengthy and have attachments, whereas others are just a page and some people have asked to provide further evidence before the committee,” Mr Dean said.

The committee is inquiring into the government’s proposed firearms law reforms announced by the government during the state election campaign.

There has been widespread criticism of the proposed changes. 

Medics for Gun Control, a group of health professionals committed to reducing injuries and deaths from firearms, has made a submission arguing against any changes to the current laws.

Group spokesman GP Dr Phill Pullinger said since guns laws were tightened after the Port Arthur massacre in 1996 the amount of gun deaths had halved.

The committee is examining current and future firearms licensing regimes, including training and testing, licence renewal, licence infringements and licence categories, compliance with the National Firearms Agreement and roles of Tasmania Police, Firearms Services and the proposed Tasmanian Firearms Owners Council.

Mr Dean said the committee would decide when and where it would hold is public hearings.

“We will probably move around the state and we will have a number of days of hearings,” he said.

“We are conscious that we want the inquiry to be completed this year but that is an enormous task.”

He said it was hoped that depending on availability of members, hearings may begin in August.