Guns collected by the Richmond Local Area Command during the state firearm amnesty, which concluded at the end of last month.
Guns collected by the Richmond Local Area Command during the state firearm amnesty, which concluded at the end of last month. Claudia Jambor

Greens criticised for linking crime risk with gun numbers

Update, 2.50pm: GUN owners have moved to quash attempts by the Greens to link the risk of a crime spike with gun ownership on the North Coast.

Northern Rivers Sporting Shooters Association president Scott Wagner said figures were a rehash of those released by the party in July.

"For the Greens to quote those firearm numbers per person as being a risk to the community I think is disingenuous," Mr Wagner said.

He said the party hadn't referenced to any evidence to suggest a correlation between the number of guns and an increase in firearm-related crime on the North Coast or around the state.

The ability for police to conduct random firearm storage inspections was just one of the strict laws Mr Wagner said are in legislation to regulate gun ownership and protect the community.

On the North Coast, he said the number of guns would likely to be spread among a large number of firearms owners.

He said people in the region use guns for "genuine reasons" entrenched in law including recreational hunting and shooting as well as farming purposes like vermin control.

Northern Rivers Wild Dog Control Association, Tom Amey said firearms are a critical tool for those living on the land.

One of the most important is to killing wild dogs that threaten livestock with disease that can cost farmers thousands of dollars.

Mr Wagner pointed to the ambiguities in the data around outliers like a resident who lives west of Ballina who owns 237 guns.

"There will always be these outliers statistically who have large numbers of guns," he said. 

"But one of the things we saw on the media reports on television reports yesterday is that many of those firearms are ancient, single or double shot shotguns or similar." *


Original story: MORE than 50,000 guns are owned on the North Coast with a Ballina resident alone acquiring 237 firearms, according to new research.

The NSW police statistics obtained under freedom of information laws by the Greens is part of its Too Many Guns campaign in a bid to stand up for safe gun laws.

Lismore has among the highest gun ownership in North Coast regional cities with the 2480 postcode raking up 5958 registered firearms between 1549 registered owners.

Over to the coast, the Byron Shire 2481 postcode has a fraction of firearms compared to neighbouring Lismore.

The data reveals 129 registered gun owners and 394 registered firearms in the shire.

Greens MP and gun control spokesman David Shoebridge said the party is concerned there is a growing favouritism towards the gun lobby that has led to private arsenals in suburbia.

"Fewer households own guns, but ownership has become more concentrated," Mr Shoebridge said.

"It is inevitable that some of these private arsenals will end up in the hands of criminals.

"The Liberal National and the Labor Party must stand up to the gun lobby and stop ignoring the community who overwhelmingly support serious gun control."

At the end of last month, the NSW Police concluded its three month firearm amnesty where gun enthusiasts who wanted to retain unregistered weapons and related articles would be able to surrender, register or supply those items to a participating firearms dealer or police station without fear of prosecution.

In August, the Richmond Local Area Command confirmed about 200 guns and hundreds of kilos of ammunition had so far been surrendered.


Registered Firearms:1378

Registered firearms owners: 399


Registered Firearms: 5,958

Registered firearms owners: 1,549


Registered Firearms: 3916

Registered firearms owners: 399


Registered Firearms: 1975

Registered firearms owners: 494

Byron Bay

Registered Firearms: 394

Registered firearms owners: 129


*An earlier version of the online story and the print edition implied Greens data did not exclude firearms gun collectors. This is incorrect and the story has been changed to reflect that fact. 

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