An inquiry into the state’s firearm laws has heard registration procedures should be loosened up.
Shooters Union Tasmania president Alistair Shephard told a House of Assembly committee in Launceston on Monday gunowners should not be required to register each individual firearm they used, rather just register themselves as gunowners – similar to legislation in New Zealand.
“New Zealand has a very similar culture to Australia” he said.
Mr Shephard said firearm owners were not a risk to public safety.
“That’s a criminal, not a law-abiding farmer,” he said.
Tasmanian Pistol Association spokesman Craig Moore said the current law forced people to purchase more guns than they needed because they could not get the one they wanted right away.
This meant there were more guns made accessible within the community, he said.
Mr Moore said people were forced to compete in shooting competitions a certain number of times each year to keep their Category H license as training was not recognised as participation.
Mr Moore said gun misuse hurt gun owners.
“Law-abiding firearm users at the end of the day bear the brunt when something goes wrong,” he said.
Mr Moore said the penalties for firearm theft and illegal sales should be increased.
“Handguns are better than cash in the criminal world,” he said.
Australian Deer Association state representative Matthew Allen said firearm registration should be moved online to remove the slow process of paperwork.
He said he supported a reduction of the waiting period for approval from 28 days to 14 days for secondary firearms.
Mr Allen said he had no concerns on the normalisation of gun ownership in Tasmania given its long history with firearm use, particularly as tools or trade and in recreation.
Despite a high level of gun ownership in Tasmania, he said there was a low level of gun violence in Tasmania before the Port Arthur massacre.
“Port Arthur created a belief that we had a poor gun culture,” Mr Allen said.
“Port Arthur came from nowhere and has caused a problem now that we’re all paying for.”