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Major parties baulk at national gun reform, fail to condemn shooting in NSW national parks

 In the shadow of legislation passed in the NSW Upper House which allows recreational hunters to shoot feral animals in designated national parks and reserves, Labor and the Coalition parties today voted against a Greens Senate motion condemning this move and calling on the Attorney General to strengthen national gun laws.

The motion below was moved by Greens Senators Penny Wright and Lee Rhiannon.

Greens spokesperson for Legal Affairs, Senator Penny Wright, said strengthening uniform gun laws would help increase public safety.

"We need to take steps to restrict gun crime and limit the number of guns available on the legal market. This will increase public safety, which is in the interests of all Australians, and the Australian Greens are calling on the Attorney-General to take the lead on this issue.

"As part of this reform, a ban on semi automatic hand guns should be considered.

 "The Federal Government needs to follow in the footsteps of the good work started by the Howard Government to ensure we are going forwards, not backwards on the important issue of gun control."

Greens Senator for NSW Lee Rhiannon said:

"Gun culture is gaining a hold in NSW, for example with the number of registered handguns increasing by 24% over just six years and a spate of recent shootings.

"Premier O'Farrell's deal with the Shooters Party to let recreational shooters into national parks opens the door to more permissive and illegal firearm use in NSW.

"By voting against this motion Federal Labor has shown its unwillingness to act on gun control and condemn the NSW Coalition's bankrupt support for shooting in national parks.

"Feral animal control must be evidence based and in the hands of professionals. Anything else increases the risk of injury or death to people using NSW's special national parks.

"The Greens will continue to campaign to see federal action to pursue progress so all States tighten firearm controls."

See also earlier media release from Senator Rhiannon today.

Motion

That the Senate notes:
1. Uniform gun laws were introduced across all states and territories following the ground breaking work undertaken by former prime minister John Howard in the aftermath of the Port Arthur massacre;
2. The NSW government has sponsored a two Day "Shot Expo" that promotes guns, knives and pistols, in conjunction with firearm manufacturers including Beretta, a weapons supplier to the former Gaddafi regime.
3. The NSW government has given its support to a longstanding Shooter's Party plan to allow recreational hunting with firearms in designated NSW national parks.

That the Senate:
1. Condemns the NSW government's plans to allow recreational hunting with firearms in NSW national parks.
2. Calls on the federal government to support the adoption of a global Arms Trade Treaty at the United Nations.
3. Calls on the Attorney General to take the steps required to strengthen uniformity of Australian gun laws.

Question negatived. 

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