Port Arthur handgun deal remembered
Friday 26 April 2002
Greens MP Lee Rhiannon said today that Sunday’s anniversary of the Port Arthur gun massacre in 1996 should remind Australians of the political compromise struck following the tragedy that gave full legal status to handguns.
Ms Rhiannon said, “Less Australians would be killed and injured from firearms each year if it was not for the political deal struck after the Port Arthur massacre.
“With the One Nation vote rising in 1996 both the major parties lacked the courage to respond with the necessary tough legislation banning all semi-automatic firearms.
“The fact is that semi-automatic handguns can be freely bought and sold across Australia which means the border-control issue being raised by Prime Minister John Howard and Premier Bob Carr is irrelevant.
“Border-control is being raised in relations to guns and crime simply because it is a wedge-politics buzzword that makes it seem like foreigners are to blame for a problem politicians refuse to fix.
“While there is a massive legal stockpile of registered handguns, there is no point talking about the relatively small number of handguns smuggled into the country.
“A ban on handguns will make the job of police officers safer in domestic violence situations and in public criminal incidents such as robberies,” said Ms Rhiannon.
Ms Rhiannon founded the national advocacy group, the Coalition for Gun Control, in 1988.
More information : Dan Cass 02 9230 3551 or 0408 468 488