The Firearms Bill 2015 evoked a lot of interest throughout the electorate of Flinders.
The purpose of the Bill was to address outdated sections, in an effort to improve public safety as part of a national approach.
The challenge has been to not disadvantage users, such as farmers, in the running of their business or lifestyle.
Primary production is a major component of our regional economy on Eyre Peninsula.
Many farmers and fishermen regard a firearm as a tool of trade, and that is recognised within the legislation and the licensing arrangements.
In other instances, for collectors, enthusiasts or sportspeople, guns can be a hobby and part of people’s lifestyle.
Many gun users have contacted my office regarding this legislation and what it might mean for them.
The Bill included some significant improvements to the Firearms Act, however, it also included some deficiencies.
Pleasingly, almost 30 amendments were successfully made to the Bill before it passed the Parliament – a full list is available from my office for those interested.
I am among one of 65,000 people who hold a gun licence in South Australia.
Last year, more than 200 guns were stolen in SA and therein lies part of the problem.
These stolen guns, of course, must have been in some way unsecured and have now gone into circulation with goodness knows who taking control of them.
Obviously, safety is paramount – the safety of the community at large and the safety of the individual, and that is the primary intent of this legislation.
Numerous organisations and individuals have been proactive in their involvement with this significant legislation, and I thank all constituents and stakeholders for their constructive input.
It has been an extremely long process and a lot of work has gone into it.
Despite apprehension from collectors and gun owners, we are now at a point where we have a more workable Act as a result of that interest and feedback.
Ultimately, we needed to make the Bill more readable, simpler, better able to be applied and less confusing for both gun owners and the police.