Upper House Inquiry should now focus on how to strengthen gun laws

Health professionals have warmly welcomed the Premier’s announcement today that the Tasmanian government will not proceed with proposals to water down the Port Arthur gun laws.

A broad coalition of nurses, paramedics, doctors and health professionals have spoken out about the proposal to water down gun laws in recent weeks, over concerns it would lead to further injuries and deaths from guns. They have urged the Tasmanian government to instead of weakening gun laws, to now focus on how to further reduce injuries and deaths from guns through upholding and strengthening the National Firearms Agreement.

“The National Firearms Agreement, established after the Port Arthur Massacre, has been central to a dramatic reduction in deaths from guns in Australia,” said Dr Phill Pullinger, spokesperson for the Medics for Gun Control, “Weakening Tasmania’s gun laws threatened to not only put Tasmanian lives at risk, but seriously undermine the national agreement.”

“We welcome the Premier’s commitment to drop the proposal to water down Tasmania’s gun laws – and urge the Premier and the Upper House to now focus their efforts and attention on how to further reduce injuries and deaths from guns by strengthening the spirit and intent of the national agreement,” he concluded.

Since the National Firearms Agreement was established in 1996 after the Port Arthur Massacre, gun deaths in Australia have more than halved. Whilst there were 13 mass shootings in Australia in the 18 years leading up to the Port Arthur Massacre, there were none in Australia in the 20 years following the establishment of the Port Arthur gun laws, until Margaret River in May this year.

Medics for Gun Control are a volunteer group of health professionals concerned about reducing injuries and deaths from guns in Australia, including through upholding and strengthening the National Firearms Agreement.
Phill Pullinger, Medics for Gun Control