Gun numbers increase in Eurobodalla: 'This isn't a collection of tennis racquets' says Greens MP

Picture: Stock image
Picture: Stock image

The largest number of guns owned by a single person in the Eurobodalla is 73.

That's according to the latest data on private firearm ownership obtained through a freedom of information application to the NSW Police by the NSW Greens.

Released on the party's website Too Many Guns, which lists the reported number of registered guns and gun owners in the state by postcode, the data also states there are 7,239 firearms in the Eurobodalla possessed by 1,616 owners.

NSW Greens MP David Shoebridge said the information showed the number of guns in the state overall was back to what it was before the laws tightened following the Port Arthur tragedy, as well as an increase in private arsenals.

"I think what this data shows is there are too many guns in NSW," he said.

"This isn't a collection of tennis racquets, guns are designed to kill things - and that's the distinction."

Concerns Mr Shoebridge expressed included that private arsenals could be targeted by organised crime and data showed stolen firearms were a factor in crime; while another was that someone who owned a gun licence could "endlessly recycle the same reason" when applying for a new gun.

Guns by postcode

When it came to the postcode 2536 - which covers a large part of the Eurobodalla including Durras, Batemans Bay, Mogo and Nelligen - there were 593 registered firearms owners who had a total of 2711 registered firearms.

This was an increase of 193 guns from figures two years ago, which is also listed on the Too Many Guns website.

In the postcode, the largest number of guns held by one owner was 47.

But this did not even make it into the list of the top 100 highest-owning individuals in NSW, excluding firearms held by collectors and arms dealers.

Coming in first was the postcode 2353 which covers the region of Moonbi north of Tamworth, where one owner had 311 firearms.

In the postcode 2537, which runs from Tomakin in the north to Tuross Head, there were 476 registered firearm owners and 2224 registered firearms.

In Bodalla's postcode of 2545 there were 100 owners and 410 firearms.

Narooma's postcode of 2546 had 447 owners and 1894 firearms.

Mr Shoebridge believed there were genuine reasons to own up to about five guns, for instance for controlling different pest animals such as pigs and rabbits.

"We understand why someone, perhaps on a rural property, will need access to more than one firearm," he said.

"But what does someone need 50 firearms for? That's what we're concerned about."

Claims of public safety risk 

Shooters, Fishers and Farmers MLC Robert Borsak has criticised Too Many Guns, saying the biggest risk to public safety was the release of this personal information and data.

"The Greens provided criminals with a shopping list of addresses, when they published the locations and the number of firearms that can be found at those locations, on the toomanyguns.org website," he said.

"This provides a criminal with all the information they need to target, locate and steal firearms from farmers."

But Mr Shoebridge said it was a "ridiculous notion" that identifying the suburb where guns were kept would lead to thefts.

"The idea someone would rob every house to find the one place where 50 guns are stored is nonsense," he said.

He said would-be thieves were instead known to eavesdrop in pubs or follow people home from gun clubs to learn where arsenals were located.

Mr Shoebridge said the data in Too Many Guns related to individuals not gun clubs, excluded collectors and firearm dealers, and referred to physical guns, not licences.

Nor did it include paintball guns, with him saying it did not record "Napoleonic muskets" but were all "functional firearms".

The Greens are calling for police to "properly enforce firearm laws" by ensuring people had a genuine reasons for each additional firearm, as well as a "stringent test" when someone already owns five guns yet wants more, he said.