Meander Valley Gazette

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Debate on firearms shop

NewsJoanne Eisemann

November 2018 | Sharon Webb

A QUAMBY Brook resident has applied to build a modified 12.2m shipping container to store guns and ammunition he plans to sell to local farmers as a home business. Mr Ben Griffiths wants to establish Griffiths Guns and Ammo on his 9.3 hectare home block at 180 Wandilla Road, Quamby Brook.

Some Meander Valley councillors last month expressed concern at the proposal, although council’s role was simply to approve the reduced setback of the building and the business plan still needs Tasmania Police approval.

In response to Mr Griffiths’ application, council passed a motion to write to the Minister for Police, Labor and Greens spokespeople seeking a review of the Firearms Act 1996 to require community consultation before issuing licences to sell firearms and ammunition, including at Quamby Brook. Cllr Deb White said community questions about selling arms from such a secluded location were reasonable. And Cllr Rodney Synfield said he believes that particular land use does not comply with home-based business definition in terms of storage of hazardous munitions materials and the bushfire act.

But mayoral candidate Cllr Andrew Connor maintained, “It’s not our concern what might be coming out of it [the shipping container]”. Cllr Michael Kelly said he was comfortable with the proposal. “There’s a long way to go with the [permit] process. “There’s a lot of hype around this but having it out in the country is a perfect fit. It’s a business and we shouldn’t be pulling it to pieces.”

Guns and ammunition cannot be posted but according to the home-based business definition, Mr Griffiths can sell directly from the premises. In the business outline submitted to council, Mr Griffiths says he knows there is a high demand locally for firearms and ammunition. “Farmers find it hard to travel into Launceston and other areas where there are gun stores …

Through talking to locals there is already interest and a need for the business.” Mr Griffiths manages three 600 acre farms locally and 20 plantation properties. sharon.webb@ meandervalleygazette.com