Murwillumbah gun registry under review after Sydney murders
THE Murwillumbah firearms registry will undergo a "full review" by police following the murder of two children by their father in Sydney last week.
NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said police were conducting a review into the firearms registry, which works on behalf of all NSW, after Sydney man John Edwards was able to access two powerful handguns despite a history of violence against his family.
The 67-year-old shot dead his son Jack, 15, and daughter Jennifer, 13, in their West Pennant Hills home last Thursday before shooting himself.
Edwards and his former wife had been locked in a long custody battle over the two children.
In the months before the murders, Edwards was turned away from three gun clubs, but there was no procedure in place to alert the NSW Firearms Registry or other clubs about their concerns.
The loophole allowed Edwards to join St Mary's Indoor Shooting Centre, where he stored the two handguns before he signed them out in the 24 hours before last week's murder.
Commissioner Fuller said it was likely stricter rules would be put in place for gun applicants in the wake of the tragedy.
"We're currently doing a full review of the firearms registry and we have new leadership coming in," he told Sky News.
"From our perspective, it's about ensuring that the legislation we have in place is being applied appropriately, that we have the power to cancel a gun licence, suspend it or refuse it if an individual doesn't have the right character to own a firearm."
The review comes just weeks after Labor Candidate for Tweed Craig Elliot slammed the State Government for slashing up to 30 jobs at the Murwillumbah Firearms Registry.
The former police officer said the job cuts would risk public safety if remaining staff were overworked and background checks became less rigorous.
At the time, a source from within the gun registry told the Tweed Daily News there was already a huge backlog of work with "hundreds" of permit applications sitting around because "they're not replacing staff that are leaving".
It is understood the workers who lost their jobs were on short-term contracts which had previously been renewed on a month to month basis.
But despite the NSW Public Service Association getting involved and making a visit to the registry, Lismore MP Thomas George denied any jobs had been lost as he had not seen any "evidence".
Today, Mr George again denied any jobs had been lost but said the registry was undergoing structural changes.
"On behalf of the community I want to extend our deepest sympathy, support and prayers to Olga Edwards on the loss of her two children and the tragedy that occurred in Sydney," he said.
"I've been in touch with the police minister and the commissioner and they have reaffirmed to me that yes they are re-organising the leadership of the gun registry, but as far as the gun registry is concerned, there is no loss of employment."
Mr George said the gun registry's director and deputy had both stood down on Friday and there would be "a process to fill those positions between now and the middle of August".