Assault weapons will be outlawed

from page 5 of The Mercury, May 1, 1996

by Steven Dally, Chief political reporter

  Military-style semi-automatic weapons will be outlawed in Tasmania, possibly within 10 days.
  The State Government will introduce a formal order for the ban into the House of Assembly on Tuesday, where it is expected to be quickly approved under the three-party agreement on the issue.
  The Legislative Council is also expected to pass the order quickly after 12 of the 19 MLCs told The Mercury they could support the ban.
  Most also support the Government's proposed gun registry or have indicated they wanted tougher gun laws.
  Police and Public Safety Minister John Beswick urged gun owners to hand into police, under a permanent amnesty, unwanted weapons or those soon to be outlawed.
  Mr Beswick said Tasmania would implement the ban regardless of the position in other states.
  "I am confident other states will see the pressing need to impose such restrictions and will agree to implement similar prohibitions in the near future," he said.
  "Restrictions will be much more effective if they apply in all states because of the potential for interstate sales."
  Mr Beswick said the drafting of the legislation to make it compulsory for all gun owners to register all firearms in their possession would start at once.
  He said the legislation would also include any other reforms endoresed by next week's police ministers' council.
  "Although there is still not a guarantee of uniform gun laws in all states, we believe our decisions will encourage other states to take similar action as soon as is practicable," Mr Beswick said.
  The ALP and Tasmanian Greens will have more talks with the Government over an agreed proposal for national laws to be put to the police ministers' council.
  Earlier, Westmorland MLC George Brookes said he would support legislation which would make Tasmania a safer place.
  "I am mindful of the comment from the gun lobby that all these types of dreadful crimes are done so by people acting illegally," he said.
  "But that is not the point. These types of weapons ought to be banned and people who sell those weapons ought to be hit with heavy penalties as well."
  Mr Brookes said he believed the move for a registry of all Tasmanian guns was also reasonable. Gordon MLC Peter Schulze said he supported the ban and "in general terms" the gun registry.
  "I am yet to be convinced it could stop this type of incident but I certainly support extra control on guns," he said.
  Newdegate MLC Ross Ginn supported the Government's moves and said all states needed the same tough gun laws.
  "Unless there is a uniformity of the laws around the country there will always be a loophole," he said.
  Macquarie MLC George Shaw said he was in favour of tighter legislation controlling guns but would have to see the legislation proposed by the Government.
  South Esk MLC Col Rattray said there was no place for military-style weapons in the society.
  "I would need to have a look at the legislation for a gun registry but there is avery good reason for a major overhaul of our gun laws," he said.
  Launceston MLC Don Wing said he would support any reasonable legislation for new gun laws.
  Derwent MLC Michael Aird said he and his two upperhouse Labor colleagues Doug Parkinson (Hobart) and David Crean (Derwent) would support the ALP's signing of the tri-partisan agreement on gun laws.

[images: "John Beswick: urges gun owners to hand over weapons." (4x4)
"Tony Benneworth" (4x4) ]

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