The national annual general meeting of the Sporting Shooters Association of Australia Inc. today called on state and territory governments to implement a policy of an additional mandatory penalty for people who use firearms during the commission of a serious crime.
SSAA spokesperson Mr Gary Fleetwood, said the Association's annual conference in Coolangatta was unanimous in its support for a tougher approach to firearm crime. The SSAA is concerned that the current approach to sentencing often undermined the strong penalties put in place in each state and territory following the 1996 National Firearms Agreement.
Mr Fleetwood went on to say that the SSAA wanted to see the introduction of an additional penalty, either custodial or monetary, to be included in the sentencing package when people are convicted of a serious crime involving the use of a firearm. He also said that the Association did not want to see any additional custodial sentence being served concurrently.
Mr Fleetwood added that often people accused of serious offences such as drive-by shootings and robberies had the firearm related component of the crime overlooked when being sentenced for the substantive charge.
Conference delegates were unanimous in their view that authorities need to direct legislation against real criminals. Mr Fleetwood noted that "SSAA members are keen to see the illegal use of firearms halted, while ensuring that legislation is not inadvertently directed towards our members."