Gun lobby wants power curbed

by Chris Griffith
Written 10 May 1996


my face


In a submission to the Police Service review headed by former CJC chairman Sir Max Bingham, the Sunshine Coast branch of the Firearm Owners Association said search without a warrant violated common law rights of gun owners.

The submission was written a week before the tragic Port Arthur massacre, which claimed 35 lives.

Under Queensland's Weapons Act, police can stop, detain, and search "any person whom the officer suspects on reasonable grounds of being in physical possession of any weapon liable to seizure".

The submission said: "As you would know freedom from unwarranted search is one of those fundamental rights.

"While we do not want to obstruct the Police from catching criminals, we believe that this legislation should be repealed because it violates our common law rights.

"With modern technology, such as fax machines, which can be attached to car phones, it should not be a problem to get a warrant in a hurry."

Revelations of the submission comes as elements of the gun lobby prepare to defy all moves to restrict gun ownership.

Last week a spokesman for the recently-formed Gun Lobby organisation, David Jones, called for all Australian gun owners to passively resist the changes.

"We propose to apply the principles of non-violent resistance, made famous by Mahatma Gandhi in India when fighting to end repressive British rule,"' he said.

He said the passive resistance campaign would create ""a nation of over a million passive criminals'' who declined to surrender guns.

He claimed the new restrictions represented the "mass punishment of gun owners for the sins of one gun owner who wasn't even licenced."