Tasmanian state gun laws face minimum standards overhaul

Originally published in the Burnie Advocate

Tasmanians caught with stolen firearms will be jailed for at least three months under beefed up state gun laws.

The sport of paintball will finally be allowed, while tougher minimum standards for gun storage will be introduced in a bid to combat gun thefts.

The minimum age at which shooters can be trained under supervision will be cut from 16 to 15.

Police Minister Rene Hidding said the reduced minimum age requirement would provide more opportunities for supervision.

It would also be necessary that a supervising adult must have held a gun licence for at least five years continuously.

The changes to the Firearms Act were "particularly to deter firearm thefts and the proliferation of stolen firearms in criminal activity," Mr Hidding said yesterday.

"Our amendments, tabled in parliament today, are the result of a joint approach where we listened to and worked with law abiding firearms owners to respond to the threat of stolen firearms in our community.

"We are committed to reducing firearm thefts and we believe our reforms will help make our community safer."

He said an update of the act was long overdue.

Paintball will be regulated and allowed at approved venues, run by licensed operators.

Changes to minimum storage standards would particularly strengthen regulations for handguns, Mr Hidding said.

Electronic security would be required for handguns, and for people with 10 or more firearms at one address.

Gun Control Australia last year said more than 220 firearms were being stolen each year in Tasmania. It said few had been recovered and suggested many were reaching the black market in Sydney.

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