Australian Gun Reform Laws

The Firearms Act 1996 (Vic.) was passed by the Victorian Parliament on October 31st 1996 in accordance with the National Agreement on Firearms which aimed to produce uniform gun laws Australia wide. The Act repealed the Firearms Act 1958 (Vic.) and the Firearms Act (Amendment) 1983 (Vic.) and established prohibitions on certain persons and guns. Below the Act, a ‘prohibited person’ was defined as anybody who had served a jail term for an indictable, assault or drug connected offence or topic to a domestic violence intervention order.

New categories for guns have been designed and gun owners had to pass specific needs and demonstrate genuine reason for owning a firearm as well as provide suitable storage for the weapon. Strict fines and jail sentences had been established for offenders, but owners of newly prohibited guns had been in a position to surrender their weapons and obtain compensated below the national guns amnesty.

Categories C and D guns (like semi-automatic rifles, shotguns and pump-action shotguns) were prohibited unless the applicant could prove a particular use for the weapon such as specialist farming or hunting and that Category A or B weapons was insufficient. Category E included machine, teargas and shot guns and rifles shorter than 75cm. Category E license applicants had to prove the firearm was necessary for police or military duties. Handguns, had been classified in their own category and had tighter specifications for ownership.

The reasons behind the alter in gun laws had been both social and political. Amongst 1987 and 1996, 136 people today have been killed in gun massacres alone. Right after the Hoddle and Queen Street massacres of 1987, great public concern arose and the Victorian premier attempted to tighten gun laws. The Strathfield massacre of 1991 intensified the debate in Sydney and subsequently importation of semi-automatic weapons was banned nationally.

As Australia became far more urbanised, 90% of the nation realised the will need for stricter gun laws to assure their safety and security by restricting the availability of high powered weapons and banning convicted criminals and domestic violence offenders from owning guns. In 1996 the Australian Institute of Criminology located that the majority of people killed with guns have been killed in states with relaxed gun laws. Additionally, gun deaths dropped 30% soon after tougher Victorian gun laws had been introduced in 1987. Men and women saw this correlation amongst stricter gun laws and fewer gun related deaths, exemplified by the Port Arthur massacre (where Bryant was in a position to personal a…

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