COAST gun clubs have welcomed a State Government plan to introduce a gun amnesty in a bid to help clear the community of illegal firearms.
Media reports yesterday revealed the amnesty plan that will be followed by the introduction of tough new gun laws including mandatory jail terms of up to five years for illegal gun supply and possession.
It would be the state's first weapons amnesty in almost 10 years.
North Arm Pistol Club president and Australian representative shooter Lex Carroll said while the amnesty would have no bearing on club members, who had their firearms registered, it would help clear up the perception that every one with a gun was breaking the law.
"The problem is that legal gun owners tend to get put in the same basket at those who have them illegally - that we are a risk because there are guns in the community," he said.
"Amnesty is always a good thing.
"How effective it will be remains to be seen."
The government move follows a sudden rise in gun thefts.
In 2010-11, 551 weapons were reported stolen, up more than 50% on 2008-09.
Mr Carroll said there were plenty of half-truths about who could own a gun legally.
"There's always a very strong push by anti-gun lobbies to paint everyone in a bad light," Mr Carroll said.
Clive Sommer, from North Arm Rifle Club, said members of any gun club also had to be members of the National Rifle Association of Australia and hold a firearms licence.
"In my experience, no one says we're a radical lot because we've got a gun," he said.
The president of the Sunshine Coast Branch of the Sporting Shooters Association of Australia referred the Daily to the state office when contacted yesterday, saying they were unable to provide comment.
QUESTION: DOES THE PRESENCE OF ILLEGAL FIREARMS IN THE COMMUNITY WORRY YOU?
John Decker, 27, Buderim - Yes, Guns are about power, domination. i.e. If a policeman asks you to do something you're going to listen (because he has a gun) [with reference to someone illegally in possession].Les Massey, 65, Cotton Tree - Hadn't really thought about it much to be honest, but yes, it's definitely a worry. Guns can be lethal.Walter and Shirley Thom, Coles Creek, Nambour - All guns should be banned. There's no need for them. There are more illegal guns now than there ever was.Fiona, 35 Maroochydore - Yes, because I have children. Safety is a concern because guns are so final.