'No gun surrender'

from page 2 of The Examiner, May 10, 1996

by Ellen Whinnett

  A Launceston gun collector with more than 40 firearms has refused to hand in his collection to police unless he receives compensation.
  The man, who asked not to be named, said that he had a relatively small collection, worth about $50,000.
  "I've been collecting for 25 years and for me it's not just a hobby and interest, it's an investment," he said.
  "If I could sit down with an independant assessor and work out a price and receive full market value for the guns, the parts and accessories, then I'd be happy to hand them in."
  The national Police Ministers Meeting with Prime Minister John Howard in Canberra today is expected to announce a Federal compensation programme.
  The programme would reimburse gun owners who are required to hand in firearms, including semi-automatics which hand been banned in Tasmania for the past two days and are expected to banned nationally from today.
  The collector, who has a dealer's licence and a prohibited gun permit, said that about 30 of his 40 guns were now banned under Tasmanian law.
  About half his collection is made up of military-style semi-automatic guns and two fully-automatic weapons.
  "I keep in a strong room, with a burglar alarm and video surveillance," he said.
  "Up to now everything I've done has been perfectly legal."
  Because Tasmania has not had a firearms registry until now, gun licence holders have not had to divulge the number of guns in their possession.
  As a result, police have no idea how many of these guns are in circulation.
  There are 70,000 licensed gun owners in Tasmania, 750 licensed pistol shooters and an unknown number of unlicensed gun owners.
  "The police don't know how many guns I've got, only that I've got some," he said.
  "If they come visiting I'll be happy to hand over my pistols, which are registered, and the few rifles I've got at home.
  "But they won't know about the rest."
  The man said that while it would be difficult to sell the guns now on the black market in Tasmania, it would be possible.
  He also believes he would be able to sell to dealers in other states.
  "I'm not into selling things on the black market," he said.
  "I'm a very private collector, and most people don't know that I'm even into it."
  Police said that a further 15 guns had been handed into the major police stations in Tasmania yesterday.
  It is not known how many guns, if any, had been handed in at country stations.
  People who have a pistol permit are able to keep their semi-automatic pistols for use at authorised clubs.

[image: "Compensation Claim: Two of the firearms owned by a Launceston gun collector - a .303 Bren gun and a Heckler and Koch 7.62mm." (15x9) ]

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