CHANGES NEEDED: Gympie gun shop owner Ron Owen says legislation needs to be geared towards business owners have the right to carry.
CHANGES NEEDED: Gympie gun shop owner Ron Owen says legislation needs to be geared towards business owners have the right to carry. Tom Daunt

Gympie gun shop no soft target

GYMPIE gun shop owner Ron Owen is not worried about having his business robbed.

However, he is concerned employees in one of the state's most criminally targeted industries don't have the opportunity to protect themselves.

Lobbyists have said southeast Queensland gun shops are soft targets for criminals, with the majority of firearm shop fronts ill-equipped to repel ram raids.

It follows the armed robbery of a Melbourne gun shop this week.

Queensland law requires gun shops to have some security, but some shop owners fear only stronger legislation will protect them from organised crime.

An outspoken critic of current firearm legislation, Mr Owen believes if law changes were to be made, they needed to be directed at a business owner's right to openly carry guns in store.

"We feel our security is certainly strong enough," Mr Owen said.

"We have to conform with legislation that basically makes us put everything in a vault with 10cm of concrete and reinforced steel.

"But we not happy with the fact that the staff and people in the gun shops have been disarmed. That leaves them defenceless.

"The (existing) legislation has actually made firearm shops a target," he said.

Sporting Shooters' Association president Geoff Jones said most shop owners felt safe but called for legislative revision.

"With the sorts of vehicles getting around these days, there is a risk of big four-wheel-drives," he said.

Gun Control Australia spokesman Roland Browne said firearm dealerships were a "buffet" to criminals.

"If they are being targeted by thieves and fetch a lot of money on the black market, gun storage requirements need to increase proportionally because we have to stem the flow," Mr Browne told The Courier-Mail.

Despite ram raid concerns from shop owners, the number of guns stolen decreased from 777 in 2016 - the highest since 2013 - to 581 in 2017.

Gympie Times


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