A group representing Queensland gun owners has called for tougher penalties for criminals who steal guns, calling the current penalties “ridiculous”.
Shooters Union (Queensland) president Graham Park said currently, criminals who broke into a house and stole a gun faced the same penalty as someone stealing a television or a laptop.
“It is ridiculous the same penalty would be applied for the theft of a television as the theft of a firearm,” Mr Park said.
“We believe the community expects sensible gun legislation, and would be surprised at the gap between the seriousness of this offence and the penalty.
“There are very strict regulations surrounding the licensing, ownership and storage of firearms for legitimate, legal firearm owners, but not enough focus is placed on punishing criminals who use firearms.
“We are aware of cases where a firearm, owned by a family for generations, has been stolen and the offender has received a good behaviour bond.
“We are urging the Queensland Government to create a specific offence for stealing a firearm and to impose harsher sentences that reflect the nature of the crime, to deter criminals more than just a slap on the wrist.”
Mr Park said research has shown the vast majority of guns making their way to criminals are through illegal importing.
“This move would clamp down on people targeting gun owners and free up police resources to focus on those illegal imports.
“Those stealing firearms pose a public safety risk, and a deterrent needs to be set.
“We believe this approach will reduce firearm thefts and ensure Queensland communities are safer, and that legal firearm owners in Queensland are not targeted by criminals.
Established in 2005, Shooters Union (Queensland) is a member-based organisation that represents the views of firearms owners in Queensland.
The Union, with thousands of its own members, also supports the interests of the almost 200,000 legitimate firearms users across Queensland.
It aims to actively promote the rights of responsible firearms owners, educate the general public about firearms issues and support sensible firearms legislation covering licensing, use and storage.