Australian gun laws are too lax according to John Howard

The man who introduced national gun laws in Australia, former prime minister John Howard, says the laws are no longer adequate

The man who introduced national gun laws in Australia, former prime minister John Howard, says the laws are no longer adequate and need tightening.

It will be 20 years this month since the tragedy of Port Arthur, when deranged gunman Martin Bryant went on a shooting spree at the former prison colony in Tasmania, killing 35 people and wounding another 23.

At the time then-prime minister John Howard implemented restrictive firearms laws to prevent further killing sprees of this nature and to address debate about gun ownership that had been a political issue since the ’80s.

Howard was responding to a question from Alpha Cheng, the son of murdered police accountant Curtis Cheng on the SBS program Insight.

“I would have thought that everybody would agree that if 15-year-olds get weapons like that then there is something wrong with the laws,” Howard said. “I am wholly against the watering down of the existing laws and I would encourage sensible strengthening of the current laws.”

Alpha Cheng believes tighter gun laws could have saved his father.

While it’s not been the first time Howard has spoken about domestic gun laws, there appeared to be support from both sides of the debate. Pro-gun members of the audience said practical laws were required for sports shooters, recreational users and those living on the land (though one could question why given the number of farmers committing suicide as a result of severe drought in Australia).

What people seemed to agree on was the need to be more consistent across the country in who can possess a firearm and the type of firearm they can own.

Do you think we need another gun amnesty?

  1. [email protected]  

    An illegal gun should be a lifetime prison sentance.

    • Warren Jones  

      The government needs to enforce existing firearm laws with harsher penalties handed out to any person wishing to break them. Stop the blame game and look at the facts. It is the drug related crime that is out of control in this country, get that under control and you will see a steep decline in illegal firearm use.

  2. I doubt if tightening of gun laws will make the slightest difference to the illegal gun trade. Drugs and guns come illegally into the country with only a token amount being intercepted. It would be interesting to know the numbers of weapons used for illegal purposes were stolen or imported.

  3. lurch  

    Here we go again, more restriction will not stop illegal firearm entering this country. The laws we have are rather draconian, I suggest those who demand more restriction try to get a licence to own a firearm. No matter what laws they bring down there is alway going to be the black market of stolen or imported illegal weapons.

  4. Lindsay Vincent  

    “Do you think we need another gun amnesty”?

    Why? What do YOU think it will achieve?

    Since the amount of shipping containers being searched has dropped from 3% to 1%, do you really think yet another amnesty will achieve anything of note? Are you sure you’re not trying to stir trouble? Us licensed firearms owners are already heavily policed. Amazingly, yet hardly suprisingly, the criminals arent. So the obvious target is the legal law-abiding citizens, who have done everything asked of them, paid taxes on their firearms and ammo, fuel to go shooting for a couple of rabbits… yeah attack the soft targets. The media use the fact that all the ice dealers are using illegal weapons, yet tar and feather us all. And the media wonders why it’s held in such disdain.

  5. Suzanne  

    NO is the answer. Drugs, knifes, alcohol and cars kill more people in this country than guns. If the government can stop ILLEGAL guns coming into the country that might be a start. Sporting shooters only have licences weapons……by the way The truth will one day come out about Port Arthur…biggest cover up in Australian History!!!!!!

  6. Hugh Marshall  

    Politicians will say anything that may give them glory. Having been a sporting shooter all my life I consider the gun laws in Australia more than adequate. It isn’t the guns that kill, it’s the syco ‘s

  7. Darryl  

    The SBS debate was very badly handled and heavily supportive of tighter gun control through yet more sensationalist hype. As someone closely associated with club shooting and having observed the process required to become licensed, let alone purchasing a firearm, the problem is not these dedicated sportsmen and women, I could do as much damage walking down the mall swinging a golf club or driving my car, randomly running over people. What would they call for then ? Banning golf clubs ? Taking all cars off the road ? Insane ! And before the bleating starts, I know people who have been run down, deliberately, by cars, and can tell you that the car couldn’t have done it on its own. We have an election looming and this is all smoke and mirrors.

  8. Bob  

    As a responsible gun owner and member of a registered gun club I believe that the present gun laws are adequate. Changing the gun laws only affects the responsible legal gun owners and does not make any difference to the illegal gun users. We all know that there have been some legal gun owners who have gone bad but all in all there are far more deaths and injuries due to knives and other types of weapons in this country than there are by guns.

  9. Warwick Hines  

    The lack of guns in the community is probably what is causing the current epidemic of home invasions.

    The invaders know that the population has been disarmed and they can knock down the front door without fear of decent retaliation!

  10. Richard Barnes  

    The main effect of the useless and ineffective gun laws has been to disarm decent law-abiding citizens while the crims continue to shoot each other up!
    What a joke!

  11. Pamela  

    Gun laws only control ‘good’ people!

    Criminals will always have access to guns, leaving the rest of the community at further risk!

    Gun control is for the purpose of controlling the general population, not a safety reason.

  12. Ashley  

    Gun control will not fix this , immigration control will , get rid of these Muslim scum that want to hurt or kill Australians , that will stop these gun crimes

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