On 22 August 2010, my father was shot dead by my mentally-ill sister.
Dad hadn’t seen her in years -- so when she called him he couldn’t have been more excited. She asked him to come visit, so he rushed over. Instead of a happy reunion she waited until his back was turned, she pulled out a pistol and killed him with a shot to the head.
She’s got a severe mental illness and should never have been able to get a gun. But she got one from a gun club after filling in a one-page form - and walked out of the club with it.
And all of this could happen again -- a 2008 change to the firearms act makes it legal for clubs to give guns to unlicensed shooters. Anyone can go to a gun club, fill in a form, and gain access to a gun. There are no waiting periods, the answers to the questionnaire aren't even checked.
I am not against the ownership of legal firearms; but this law is the reason my father is dead -- and I want to ensure that anyone with access to a legal firearm has been appropriately vetted. As long as section 6B continues to operate this will not be the case.
This absurd law poses unacceptable dangers to our community. But I believe if enough of us speak out about Section 6B, the government will be forced to reinstate checks on everyone using guns in NSW.
Please sign and share my petition with your family and friends. Thank you for reading this and any support is appreciated!
You can also leave a message for NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell on his facebook page here: http://on.fb.me/KIMbvg We need to change this law before another person is killed because of it!
Over the Easter weekend in the Sydney Morning Herald, the Fernando family was interviewed for an article in the paper and an online video: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/a-father-killed-a-daughter-lost-20120405-1wfdz.html
I am very disappointed that government has failed to address the flaws in the Firearms Act that led to the shooting death of Vincent Fernando. Your government is well aware of the serious danger that section 6B of the Firearms Act poses. Your Ministry has made promises to a concerned community that this legislation will be considered. The Fernando family has been campaigning for reform since you were elected to office.
Your government rightly recognises that it would be dangerous to allow certain members of our community access to firearms. Yet all that stands between those unsuitable people and a firearm is lying in a questionnaire. The self report system is obviously inadequate and unacceptable. Yet still there is no sign of change.
Your inaction is irresponsible. Seize the opportunity to improve safety in this state. The most responsible choice is to repeal section 6B of the Firearms Act. If your government wishes to maintain legislation that is inconsistent with the National Firearms Agreement and allows unlicensed people to shoot then, at the very least, ensure that these people are independently vetted. Another tragedy is waiting to happen. Do not delay your action any further.
When you respond to my letter please provide a timeframe within which you expect the legislation to be rectified. We are waiting.