'Gun stats in chaos, ownership understated, shooters wronged'
POLICE are misinforming the gun ownership debate with fake statistics designed to downplay the popularity of weapon ownership, according to Gympie firearms dealer and enthusiast Ron Owen.
And Gympie MP Tony Perrett said his questions in parliament show a system in chaos, in which Corrective Services Minister Bill Byrne has told him even police do not know how many weapons licence holders there are in each postcode.
Mr Owen said a big increase in legal gun ownership has coincided with a drop in relevant crime statistics, the opposite of what anti-gun lobbyists seem to be saying.
Mr Owen was responding to claims by national shooter's lobby group, Shooters Union Australia, that false assumptions and uninformed claims on gun issues had "unfairly affected the vast majority of responsible, law-abiding firearm owners."
"I would absolutely endorse what the Shooters Union people are saying," Mr Owen said yesterday.
Union president Graham Park listed "10 Firearm Myths," including a falsely claimed link between legally registered gun numbers and gun related deaths or crime.
Mr Owen says the Shooters Union claims were right but they are "being hoodwinked by inaccurate licensing figures (from) police.
"(Police) want to hide the real numbers of licensed shooters (because) they do not want to alert the politicians to the real numbers o f shooters that won't vote for them."
Mr Park says it was a myth that gun hand-backs reduce gun crime.
Criminals, he says, pay a fortune for guns and do not hand them in.
"People with criminal records are already prevented from legally owning a gun," he says, so further impositions on lawful gun owners have no effect on crime.
"Knives are the most common murder weapons, not guns," he said.
Mr Owen said gun deaths had been dropping since the 1980s, long before the national gun laws.