House debates

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Bills

Criminal Code Amendment (Firearms Trafficking) Bill 2017; Consideration in Detail

5:16 pm

Photo of Michael KeenanMichael Keenan (Stirling, Liberal Party, Minister for Justice) Share this | Hansard source

That is exactly what I'm saying. Police forces all around the country every single day use their discretion about whether or not to prosecute matters, and they are required to take into account the public interest in whether they do so. The same applies for the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions as it does for other offices that the states run around that as well.

I do want to take issue with a couple of other things that the member for Kennedy said which are completely and utterly inaccurate. I've said in this place and outside of this place on many occasions that the threat to community safety in relation to guns is in the illicit and black market. That is where the threat to community safety is. Our focus since we arrived in office in 2013 has been cracking down on that. Legal firearms owners, who are registered firearms owners who actually store their weapon well, are not a threat to community safety. I repeat that over and over again. We have been targeting the black market for guns, and that's what this legislation is about. It's the people who smuggle in guns, the ones who have intent to cause harm, who are going to be captured by this.

And I do talk to the firearms-owning community on a regular basis. In fact, I have a firearms consultative committee that has met on a regular basis since I have become minister. It's got representatives from a very broad cross-section of the shooting community on it—both owners and sporting shooters—and I've been meeting with them on a very regular basis since I have become minister. I will continue to meet with them. We've got very good relationships with them. The advice that they give me is always welcome, and we act on it as appropriate.

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