The Firearms Legislation Amendment Bill 2020 was introduced at the Legislative Assembly by Minister for Police and Emergency Services Mick Gentleman on Thursday 13 February 2020.
Under the proposed changes, athletes, sports coaches, sporting organisations and officials will be able to use laser target shooting devices without permits to train, compete or participate in the sports of Biathlon and Modern Pentathlon.
This will ensure a valuable contribution to the Canberra sporting community and allow interstate athletes to participate in these sports in the ACT.
This is consistent with existing exemptions in the ACT provided to sporting organisations, officials and instructors possessing and using starter pistols. It is also consistent with legislation in New South Wales and Victoria.
These exemptions follow recommendations made by Olympic advocates from the biathlon and modern pentathlon community.
The amendments to firearms laws also include exemptions to allow Commonwealth aviation security inspectors employed by the Department of Home Affairs to carry imitation firearms and prohibited weapons to test the security systems within the Canberra Airport.
The security tests enable evaluation of the effectiveness of airport security processes and strengthen the inspectors’ ability to assess threats to public safety.
Firearm possession and use is a privilege that is conditional on the overriding need to ensure public safety.