For every two people there are 1.7 guns in Gympie

Kaleb Schefe staff member at Owens guns. Photo Renee Pilcher / The Gympie Times
Kaleb Schefe staff member at Owens guns. Photo Renee Pilcher / The Gympie Times Renee Pilcher

THE Gympie region may be a progressive and peaceful community, nestled on the cusp of the rapidly expanding south-east corner, but we still love our guns - perhaps more than anyone else in Queensland.

For every two people living in this region there are 1.7 registered weapons.

In Imbil, the ratio of guns per person is more than double that, with a population of less than 1000 owning 2759 weapons.

Queensland Police figures obtained by The Gympie Times reveal that within the boundaries of Gympie alone, as at May 26 this year, there were 18,243 registered weapons.

Throughout the region, taking in Kilkivan, Goomeri, Tiaro, Imbil and Tin Can Bay, there are more than 27,300 registered weapons.

This compares with about 600,000 state-wide.

Based on these figures, the Gympie region accounts for 4.5% of the registered weapons in Queensland.

Gympie gun dealer Ron Owen, however, says authorities are up to 11 months behind in processing new firearm registrations, so the true figure is higher.

He also believes police are downplaying the number of licensed gun owners in Queensland to avoid political action from a State Government that might suddenly realise gun owners represent a significant voting block.

Mr Owen moved to Gympie and opened his business, Owens Guns, on the northern outskirts of the city 34 years ago, drawn here because the region was so "firearm orientated".

He says that orientation has not changed much since then, in spite of the more restrictive gun control laws introduced in 1997-1998.

It's still a strong market, and getting stronger.

Apart from a small store at Bundaberg, Owens Guns' nearest competitors are in Brisbane to the south and Mackay to the north.

In the past 10 years, the business has sold 70,000 weapons, Mr Owen says. State-wide, the growth in gun sales averages 16% a year, and on the Gold Coast 32%, according to an article in The Courier-Mail two years ago.

Despite the seemingly high number of weapons in circulation here, Queensland Police say the process to obtain a weapons licence is stringent.

"To successfully apply for a weapons' licence, applicants must have a genuine reason to hold a licence, have access to secure storage facilities and have completed an approved weapons safety course for the corresponding weapons licence," a police spokesman said.

They must also satisfy a list of personal requirements, such as ensuring the person is deemed "fit and proper" to hold such a licence.

But Mr Owen says the system is too hard and labour-intensive, and that authorities are not keeping up with the paperwork, resulting in the long delays for gun owners.

"They've created this system and now they can't cope," he says.

According to Wikipedia, as of 2007 about 5.2% of Australian adults (765,000 people) own and use firearms for hunting, controlling feral animals, collecting, and target shooting.


Bargara 1503

Biggenden 1416

Bundaberg 8411

Childers 2948

Eidsvold 825

Fraser Island 11

Gayndah 1553

Gin Gin 2469

Goomeri 932

Gympie 18243

Hervey bay 4849

Howard 1920

Imbil 2759

Kilkivan 1700

Maryborough 6476

Monto 1892

Mount Perry 280

Mundubbera 1301

South Kolan 2496

Tiaro 2568

Tin can bay 1094

Wide Bay Burnett total 65,748

Gympie Times

Topics:  guns

Plenty of feud for Bruce's family

TV BECKONS: Miss9 discovers the joys of comparing Family Feud in the Devereaux household.

Bruce shares his hilarious tales of life with a big family

That was a crazy week

Women writing on paper with a pen on a white background.

Colin shares his views on the week that was.

Rattler business case raises plenty of questions

Gympie Regional Council wants to get the Rattler up and running again, but this letter writer says the business case has some serious flaws.

Mary Valley Rattler business case has plenty of holes: letter writer

Local Partners

Brad Pitt won't file legal response to divorce petition

Brad reportedly refused to send off the paperwork

Azealia Banks won't take legal action against Russell Crowe

Rapper Azealia Banks

Rapper drops legal action against Russell Crowe

Brad Pitt meets with his kids amid divorce proceedings

Actor Brad Pitt

Brad Pitt has met up with his oldest son Maddox

Pictures of Taylor Swift allegedly being groped are sealed

They could "complicate jury selection".

Bruce Springsteen finds therapy useful

Singer Bruce Springsteen

Singer encourages others to seek help

Kerry Washington wants one more child

Kerry Washington recently gave birth to her second child

Kerry has only just become a new mum again

Hit songwriter's Noosa mansion on market

SPECIAL PLACE: The Cintamani estate is going to tender, marketed by Tom Offermann Real Estate.

Is this Queensland's best property?

Kiwi siblings snap up Dotcom mansion for $32.5m

The new toy company owners of the Coatesville mansion want replace any controversy with positivity and fun. Photo / Barfoot and Thompson

The trio paid $32.5 million for the property in June

New $200 million development will create 580 jobs

Cassie And Josh with baby Alfie and daughter Andee. They have bought at new Lennox Head development Epiq.

Majority of new positions will be given to Northern Rivers locals

Cherrabah's mega resort plans axed

PLANS for a massive development at Cherrabah have been scrapped.

What our mayor thinks of the new draft SEQPlan

The plan to use the innovative technology as part of the new Maroochydore CBD was cemented on site today when Mayor Mark Jamieson and Envac Asia Region president Chun Yong Ha formally signed the contract for the $20 million underground waste collection system.

New plan accommodates Sunshine Coast Council's vision for growth.

Dusit Thani finance crisis 'just a small hiccup'

ON TRACK: Springfield Land Chairman, Maha Sinnathamby, Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale, Developer Richard Turner and Springfield Land Deputy Chairman, Bob Sharpless, at the recent resort sod turning ceremony.

Property developer says project remains firmly on track