It seems we just can get enough guns on the Sunshine Coast
THOUGHT you wouldn't find many guns on the Sunshine Coast? Think again.
Figures provided by Queensland Police show there are 26,261 registered weapons in the region, or one gun for about every 10 residents.
The weapons don't all belong to farmers, as you might expect, and the numbers and interest in gun ownership are growing daily.
Maroochydore has the largest number of weapons, with 3832 registered weapons, followed by Nambour with 3689 weapons.
Several weapons may be licensed to one owner.
Russell Davis, from the Sunshine Coast Shooting Club Inc., said there was likely to be "hundreds" more unregistered weapons on the Sunshine Coast.
Is there any reason why there should be 26,2611 registered firearms on the Sunshine Coast?
This poll ended on 03 May 2015.
Absolutely not. It’s not the wild west.
I’m not sure - it doesn’t make me feel real safe.
Who cares! It’s a free world.
Big deal. I’ve got six of them!
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
Interest in shooting was steadily on the increase, with many new people enrolling in the New Shooter Program offered at the shooting club in Yandina.
AT the last event, held two weeks ago, 67 new people turned up, of which "70% were women".
Mr Davis said a large number were also younger children, aged between 11 and 18, who were discovering shooting with pistols to be a fun, safe and exciting sport.
The State Government's $150 "Get Started" voucher to encourage youths to get into sport was also helping more children get involved.
Interest in guns and weapons prompted the opening of a gun shop in the heart of the region's principal activity centre - on Aerodrome Rd in Maroochydore - about 12 months ago.
This shop received "about five inquiries for gun ownership" each day.
Mr Davis said the interest was from those keen to learn a new and exciting sport and had little to do with concerns for safety.
He was confident the gun control rules in place in Queensland were adequate to ensure gun control didn't get out of hand or cause the kind of shootings becoming more and more common in America.
Mr Davis said the American rules were "very different" to those in Australia.
"The laws are absolutely different to America, they should have more of what we've got," he said.
"You cannot use even a pen knife if it is for personal protection anywhere in Australia, and that is a good thing."
He said the laws which required gun owners to be involved in clubs like the shooting club helped keep a close eye on potential rogue elements.
"If we think someone is dodgy, we won't give them an application form (for a licence) and we will pass the information on to other clubs to be wary of them," he said.
"This is because if anything goes wrong, it comes back on us."
The club also caters for birthday parties for children over the age of 11 and provided an outlet for those with a disability.
"We have a blind fellow shoot with us. He only has 5% vision in the one eye," Mr Davis said.
"This is how safe the sport is. People are not going to turn into serial killers.
"Anyone who looks to shoot sideways, we tell them to rack off and they are not going to do it here."
Mr Davis believed the amnesty on unlicensed guns needed to happen more regularly to ensure more people came forward to register their weapons.
"There should be a permanent amnesty so that people can get their guns registered without concern.
"Very few guns owned by licensees get stolen. Those that turn rogue who are licensed are extremely minor, maybe one a year in Australia.
"It just doesn't happen."
LICENCE AND WEAPON COUNT BY DISTRICT:
- SUNSHINE COAST: 7560 licences, 26,261 weapons
- GOLD COAST: 7995 licences, 38,307 weapons
- DARLING DOWNS: 17,484 licences. 69,528 weapons
- NORTH BRISBANE: 10323 licences, 70,743 weapons
- WIDE BAY BURNET: 14,986 licences, 65,592 weapons
- LICENCE AND WEAPONS COUNT BY DIVISION:
- MAROOCHYDORE: 1083 licences, 3832 weapons
- NAMBOUR: 986 licences, 3689 weapons
- CALOUNDRA: 695 licences, 2184 weapons
- NOOSA HEADS: 536 licences. 1652 weapons