No Australian State or Territory has ever complied fully with the 1996 or 2002 firearms resolutions collectively formed under the National Firearms Agreement, a new report reveals today.
The National Firearms Agreement (NFA) was established after the 1996 Port Arthur mass shooting in which a man used two semiautomatic rifles to kill 35 people and wound 19 others.
“While the most important provisions of the NFA remain substantially intact, no jurisdiction fully complies,” says the report’s lead author, Associate Professor Philip Alpers of the University of Sydney’s School of Public Health.
“Every jurisdiction has slipped backwards by varying degrees. New South Wales is the most obvious example of compliance ‘slippage’”, says Alpers.
Every jurisdiction has slipped backwards by varying degrees. New South Wales is the most obvious example of compliance ‘slippage’.
The report, commissioned by Gun Control Australia, says “non-compliance from day one, and two decades of political pressure, have steadily reduced restrictions and undermined the NFA’s original intent.”
Standout examples of current non-compliance with the NFA include:
Despite NFA requirements that all applicants for a firearm licence be at least 18 years of age, every State and Territory allows minors to possess and use firearms. The licensing age for children varies from 10 to 16 years across jurisdictions.
In most cases requirements for category B, C, D and H firearms (handguns and larger-calibre, or semi-automatic rifles and shotguns) are now less stringent than they were in 1996.
Western Australia, Queensland, Victoria and NSW resolutions either do not, or only obliquely comply in legislation with an NFA requirement for an effective national firearms registry, a goal now delayed for over two decades. More examples of non-compliance with NFA resolutions apply to firearms collectors, ammunition collectors, museums and heirloom firearms, interstate recognition of firearms licences, firearms safety booklets, and security for interstate firearm transfers, among other provisions.
21 years After the National Firearms Agreement, October 2017. Research commissioned by Gun Control Australia: Authors, Philip Alpers, Adjunct Associate Professor, Sydney School of Public Health and Amelie Rossetti, GunPolicy.org