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Australia Tasmanian Premier stands by plan to relax gun laws but flags possible change

12:52  06 march  2018
12:52  06 march  2018 Source:   abc.net.au

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Tasmania 's re-elected Premier defends the Liberals' policy to relax the state's gun laws , despite an outcry from survivors of the Port Arthur shooting.

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Tasmania's re-elected Premier has defended the Liberals' policy to relax the state's gun laws, despite an outcry from survivors of the Port Arthur shooting.

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Tasmanian Premier stands by plan to relax gun laws but flags possible change . relaxing penalties for minor gun storage law breaches. The Government is also considering a new category allowing banned firearms to be used by unidentified "specialists".

A proposal that was shared with firearms consultation groups weeks ago but never released publically outlines changes specifically focused on gun use on farms. In response, Tasmania premier Will Hodgman has stood by the plan .

The guns policy was one of 200 not published on the party's website and only came to light on the eve of Saturday's election.

Under the changes released to a consultation group, some firearm licence periods would be doubled and farm workers would get greater access to self-loading rifles and pump-action shotguns.

The agreement would breach the National Firearms Agreement, which was created after the 1996 Port Arthur massacre.

The agreement states that a licence "must be issued for a period of no more than five years".

In his first media conference since his election win, Mr Hodgman defended the policy but hinted aspects of it could change.

"We will engage with our colleagues on a national level to ensure there is no breach of the National Firearms Agreement," he said.

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Tasmanian Premier Will Hodgman is defending a controversial plan to water down gun laws on the eve of the state election. Tasmania 's Liberals will relax gun laws if they win Saturday's election.

A proposal that was shared with firearms consultation groups weeks ago but never released publically outlines changes specifically focused on gun use on farms. In response, Tasmania premier Will Hodgman has stood by the plan .

"It will not happen."

The Premier was grilled about the policy at a media conference. © Provided by ABC News The Premier was grilled about the policy at a media conference. Mr Hodgman said he was relying on the advice of Government Minister Rene Hidding and would not offer a timeline for introducing the legislation.

"It will require legislative change so it will be subject to the most robust scrutiny through parliamentary processes," the Premier said.

The proposal includes:

  • greater access to Category C firearms, such as self-loading rifles and pump-action shotguns, for farm workers and sporting shooters
  • permitting silencers for Category C licence holders
  • doubling some licence durations from five to 10 years
  • relaxing penalties for minor gun storage law breaches

The Government is also considering a new category allowing banned firearms to be used by unidentified "specialists".

Labor Upper House MP Sarah Lovell said the party would not vote in favour of the Liberals' gun laws legislation.

"We are concerned about not only the policy, but the process and the real question here is — what else are the Government hiding?" she said.

On Friday, several Port Arthur survivors spoke out against the plan, including Peter Crosswell, who said he would be devastated by any changes.

AFL in crisis in Tasmania .
AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan will visit Tasmania next week, with the game in crisis in the state. AFL boss Gillon McLachlan has pledged support to Tasmanian football ahead of his visit to the state.While the AFL is coming off another bumper season, the game is in crisis in Tasmania.This season's state league will feature no teams from the north-west region.There is a strong sense among local fans that the AFL is ignoring them at the expense of northern expansion and projects such as AFLX.

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