Tasmania: Calls for tighter gun laws as thefts rise

May 12, 2012

Original Story VIA:  ABC.net.au

There are calls for tougher gun storage laws in Tasmania, with police reporting hundreds of thefts over the past five years.

Police say 760 guns have been stolen since 2008 and there is evidence some are being stolen to order for criminal use.

The Assistant Commissioner Donna Adams said police conducted 800 random checks of licenced gun owners last year to make sure their firearms were properly secured.

“Ensuring that they’re securely retained will hopefully minimise the opportunities for them to be illegally obtained,” Ms Adams said.

The Coalition for Gun Control’s Roland Browne has called for even tougher storage requirements and spot checks.

“There’s something like 60,000 gun owners in Tasmania and 1500 police,” he said.

“It’s a huge job.”

There have been seven drive-by shootings in Tasmania in the past six months but police do not believe they are related to interstate gang turf wars.

Shots were fired at a house in the Launceston suburb of Ravenswood this week and last month a 17-year-old boy suffered serious injuries in a drive-by shooting at his Glenorchy home.

Assistant Police Commissioner Adams said the attacks were not gang-related.

“They’ve actually been the result of feuding parties so they’ve actually been directly targeted at a particular individual,” she said.

About 120,000 firearms are registered in the state.