Illawarra shooters return fire over 'arsenal' figures

LEGAL: Chris Sainsbury (left), President of the Sporting Shooters Association of Australia Illawarra branch, pictured with hunting club chair Mark Banasiak.
LEGAL: Chris Sainsbury (left), President of the Sporting Shooters Association of Australia Illawarra branch, pictured with hunting club chair Mark Banasiak.

There’s nothing wrong with gun owners accumulating dozens of firearms – even as many as 141 – the president of the Sporting Shooters Association of Australia Illawarra branch said.

Chris Sainsbury was responding to government figures showing levels of gun ownership per postcode.

The Illawarra’s largest gun arsenal (aside from collectors) was 141 guns in Corrimal. Other major gun owners had 79 firearms (postcode 2517) and 62 (postcode 2502).

Mr Sainsbury said this was not sensational, as people had to get each weapon registered, and demonstrate a genuine reason for each one.

“The NSW Greens [say] law-abiding firearms owners are the problem here, and people are building up arsenals,” he said.

“They’re not arsenals. These people have gone through checks and balances and inspections and everything in between.

“I hold multiple firearms, of different calibre. They serve different purposes.

“I have a short action, I have a long action, I have particular firearms for sporting shooting events. I have firearms of a particular calibre for long-range shooting. I have them for hunting, I have them because I like them.”

Asked why someone needed 141 guns, Mr Sainsbury said they were legal.

“Why shouldn’t someone be able to have 141 guns? Why should people be able to have multiple cars?”

He said hardware stores had many hammers; kitchen stores had many knives, and guns were simply a tool.

Police Minister Troy Grant said each gun needed a separate permit and a “genuine reason” for owning it. “Registered firearms are subject to strict regulations with the owners having to undergo a range of criminal and suitability checks,” he said.