Radical reforms to stop gun violence
GUN clubs may be asked to report suspect shooters and GPs permitted to break client confidentiality to stop a repeat of an incident like John Edwards' savage slaying of his children.
The Daily Telegraph can reveal Police Commissioner Mick Fuller and Police Minister Troy Grant are holding crisis meetings today and "everything is on the table", including working more closely with the Family Court where children are identified as at risk.
Edwards, 67, was turned away from three gun clubs in the months before he shot dead his son Jack, 15, and daughter Jennifer, 13, last week but there was no way to alert either 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 powerful handguns he signed out in the 24 hours before last week's murder.
As well as being the subject of an apprehended violence (AVO) order about 11 years ago, a lawyer acting for his wife had sought a provisional AVO against him but withdrew the application.
In another move under discussion, police may be alerted to perform firearms checks when Family and Federal Circuit Court custody disputes are linked to a "notice of risk" to children.
Mr Fuller said discussions would include whether GPs should be able to break patient confidentiality and reveal mental health issues during checks for a firearms licence.
"I fully support a review of the firearms legislation and will do everything in my power to ensure guns aren't in the wrong hands," he said.
"Issues I'll be discussing with the Police Minister include the processes in place for members of the public and organisations like gun clubs to raise concerns in regard to individuals applying for or already possessing licensed firearms.
"But I also want people to remember this heinous crime was not just about a firearm. This is about domestic and family violence and the despicable actions of a man who had no regard for the lives of his children or his ex-wife."
Edwards and his former wife Olga, 36, had been involved in a two-year custody dispute which was supposed to end in February when they came to an agreement that the children would live with their mother and the father would have no contact.
In cases where the risk to children is flagged, the courts automatically alert Family and Community Services but FACS confirmed yesterday that it does not automatically contact police or chase up whether anyone in the family has a gun licence.
Anyone who has had an AVO taken out against them is not allowed to hold a licence until 10 years after the order runs out, as happened with Edwards.
A spokesman for Sporting Shooters' Association Australia said the St Mary's club was working with police.