The Palaszczuk Labor Government and its bureaucracy’s obsession with punishing law-abiding firearm owners like sports shooters and farmers is allowing gang-related gun crime to fester in south-east Queensland, Katter’s Australian Party Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto has warned.
Citing recently-published Queensland Police Service data that shows gang-related activity associated with concealable firearms has risen significantly alongside property crime in the last five years, Mr Dametto said the Government had its priorities back-to-front.
He said the Palaszczuk Government, and the QPS who manages weapon’s licencing in Queensland, needed to re-direct its focus and resources to the illegal firearms trade in Queensland.
“Nobody wants to see unlicenced firearms in the hands of criminals in our community, and police efforts should be targeting gang syndicates instead of going after the low-hanging fruit which is Queensland’s registered firearm owners,” Mr Dametto said.
“Last year, after an internal review, QPS dramatically tightened the ‘fit and proper person’ criteria associated with renewing and applying for a weapon’s licence.
“This has meant people’s traffic history from years gone by, charges that have been dropped or dismissed and even their health status is now being scrutinised.
“This includes speeding fines and drink driving offences, sometimes from a decade ago.”
Mr Dametto said the State Government needed to keep up the façade that they were protecting Queenslanders from firearms, which in reality they were failing to do.
“For all the effort being put into managing licenced firearm owners, you might achieve a nice little data set that gives the false perception that there will be less gun crime in the community and that’s about all you’ll achieve,” he said.
“It’s the guns we don’t know about – the ones being traded in the backwaters of Brisbane or sold on the dark web – that we need to be concerned about.”
According to the referenced Courier Mail story, there has been a 26 per cent rise in concealed weapons offences from 2015-2020 in the south-east Local Government Areas of the Gold Coast, Logan, Moreton Bay, Brisbane City, Sunshine Coast and Mackay (the one area that is not in south-east Queensland).
“I would be very surprised if any of the firearms involved in these offences were owned by sports shooters or farmers,” Mr Dametto said.