A Victorian man whose parents were shot in the Hungerford massacre in Britain eight years ago called yesterday for tighter gun control in Australia.
"Control laws must be uniform throughout Australia, there should be a government-sponsored buy-back of weapons and guns for sporting purposes should be kept under supervision," Mark Wainwright said.
His 67-year-old father, Douglas, was shot dead when 27-year-old Michael Ryan went on a shooting rampage through the streets of the small English town of Hungerford in August 1987.
His mother, Kathleen, now 70, lost two fingers and suffered a chest wound but survived.
Ryan, using high-powered weapons, killed 16 people and wounded 11 before killing himself.
It was 10 days after Melbourne's Hoddle Street massacre, in which Julian Knight, armed with two rifles and a shotgun, killed seven people in the suburb of Clifton Hill. Knight was a 19-year-old reject from the Duntroon military academy.
Mark Wainwright, 45, migrated to Australia in 1973, and since Hoddle Street and Hungerford has been a gun control activist.
In a cruel twist of circumstances, his brother Trevor, a police constable in Hungerford, had some months before the massacre, interviewed Ryan, a gun club member, about his application to renew his rifle licence.
"Trevor, the local bobbie if you like, went to his house, questioned him and granted him the renewal," Mr Wainwright said.
Ryan used the rifle in the shootings.
Mr Wainwright, criticising Australian gun control, said even the British practice of renewing gun licences every five years did not exist here.
Mr Wainwright said that gun control should be tightened in two stages.
In the first stage uniform legislation should be introduced banning all automatic and semi-automatic rifle and pistols, State or Federal Governments should sponsor firearm buy-back plans and private advertisements to sell firearms should be banned.
In the second stage, all firearms not used for farming purposes should be kept at police stations or other repositories.
They should be taken out for club activities only with 24 hours notice.