No need for tighter gun laws
As NSW begins a review of its firearms laws, let’s make one thing perfectly clear: We do not need stricter laws on gun ownership.
“Trends in crime do not justify it,” Shooters and Fishers Party MLC Robert Borsak said.
“The number of gun thefts has been falling for years, both in actual numbers and proportionally.”
In 2001, 815 firearms were reported stolen in NSW. Five years later, that number had almost halved to 449. In the years up to 2010, the latest full-year figures available, the numbers fluctuated slightly, ending at 569, but even that cannot be seen as a rise in thefts when you consider the rate of theft.
As legal firearm ownership increased in NSW, the rate of theft continued to fall, going from 0.137% to 0.076% between 2001 and 2010.
|Year||No. of reg’d firearms||Firearms stolen||Stolen as % of registered|
*Source: NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research
Other official statistics reiterate the fact that the increasing popularity of the shooting sports has no negative impact on crime statistics. In fact, the two seem to have no relevance to each other.
Incidents of Discharge Firearm in Premises: stable in Sydney and across NSW, 2007-11
Incidents of Unlawfully Discharge Firearm: stable in Sydney and across NSW, 2007-11
Incidents of Shoot With Intent To Murder: no change in Sydney and across NSW, 2007-11
Incidents of Shoot With Intent Other Than To Murder: stable in Sydney and across NSW, 2007-11
The only caveat on the above figures is that there was a spike in Discharge offences in 2011, a factor that NSW Police have revealed is directly linked to inter-gang conflicts – criminals using illegal weapons, not law-abiding firearm owners.
As expected, the anti-gun lobby jumped on this brief rise in criminal actions to launch a new attack on lawful firearm ownership. Disturbingly, however, senior police and Government Ministers also turned on those who legally use firearms. The resulting demonisation of law-abiding firearm owners was an assault on the truth, as these statistics demonstrate.
“All the cries by the Government and police for tighter gun laws are just calculated distractions to try to cover up their own failings,” Mr Borsak said. “The facts just do not justify the approach.
“We need a balanced and reasoned approach to the review of NSW firearm legislation, not simply for the good of licensed firearm owners but so that the people of our state can be assured police time, resources and powers are focussed on stopping criminal misuse of illegal firearms.
“Police should not have to waste their efforts on the bureaucratic oversight of licensed shooters, who are already among the most law-abiding people in the state and pursue their hobby under onerous regulations with heavy penalties for non-compliance,” Mr Borsak said.
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