Police ministers from around Australia are convening today to advance discussions on the establishment of a national firearms register aimed at tackling gun violence.
This move comes in response to the fatal shooting of two police officers and a neighbor in Wieambilla, Queensland, last December. The decision to pursue a register was made during a meeting of the National Cabinet in February, and police ministers were tasked with reporting on options to implement the register by mid-2023.
The meeting will seek to agree on the purpose and capabilities of the national register. Federal Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus will chair the meeting, stating that "Australia already has some of the strongest firearms controls in the world," and that "a national firearms register will ensure police across all Australian jurisdictions have timely and accurate information to assess any firearms risk posed, and protect the community from harm."
The Australian Federal Police Association has been campaigning for the national registry since 2019, with the association's president, Alex Caruana, stating that the database would make the job for police officers "immeasurably safer".
The national register will provide a central database for all firearm owners, including those with prohibited or unregistered firearms, enabling police to better identify and address firearms risks.
The establishment of a national firearms register will further strengthen Australia's firearms controls, which were implemented following the 1996 Port Arthur massacre.