National Cabinet will consider reforms to how information on gun ownership is collected and collated across state and territory borders at their first meeting of 2023 following the Wieambilla Siege tragedy.
Queensland Police Union president Ian Leavers and Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk have been leading the most recent calls for a national gun register, after two Queensland police officers were killed in the event on a remote property in Queensland. It is understood Nathaniel Train had a a suspended gun licence in NSW but it is not known if police on the ground were aware of that, as they are unable to access the NSW database.
There is already a national database run by the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, called the Australian Firearms Information Network, as well as state databases, but there are issues in the management of the systems. Mr Leavers told the ABC the current system is “chunky and cumbersome”.
“What I believe we need is a nationalised system which would record you being a licence holder, any weapons that you acquire, dispose of, have in your possession or that have been reported stolen, and any offences which have been committed that relate to firearms,” Mr Leavers said.
Queensland’s own firearms register was found to be “not accurate and up to date” and not “fit for purpose” by the State Auditor two years ago, in a report that detailed manual data entry and conflicting information between Queensland’s two systems as examples of the lack of reliability.
Nationals leader David Littleproud, whose electorate of Maranoa includes Wieambilla, has backed the called for a national gun register as “common sense”.
A national gun registry has been suggested multiple times over the past 30 years since it was first recommended after the Queen and Hoddle Street mass killings in Victoria in 1987. It was also a recommendation made following the 1996 Port Arthur Massacre, and the 2014 Lindt Cafe siege.