How many guns are registered in your neighbourhood?
A COFFS Harbour gun owner has amassed one of the state's largest private arsenals, with 88 firearms registered in his name.
A freedom of information request by the New South Wales Greens has revealed the Coffs postcode (2450) is home to 5802 registered guns, spread across 1413 owners.
The area's biggest private cache was among the 100 largest in NSW.
Greens MP David Shoebridge sparked an online debate when he suggested on Facebook that allowing people to accumulate such vast weapons hoards was a public threat - especially if the guns were stolen.
"The Greens accept that there are people in the community who have a genuine reason to own a gun," he said.
"Farmers on rural properties often require firearms for euthanising injured stock or controlling wild, invasive animals.
"But it is impossible to see how any one individual can establish a 'genuine' or 'good' reason to have dozens or even hundreds of guns."
The party has set up a website listing gun ownership levels by postcode.
The data excluded weapons owned by firearms dealers and collectors.
There were 850,634 registered guns in NSW as of December last year - up from 619,000 in 2001.
Mr Shoebridge said a legal loophole in Australia's laws allowed gun owners to "endlessly recycle" the same reason they used to get their first firearm when applying for dozens more.
The Greens have called for reforms that would force gun owners to provide a separate and extraordinary reason for owning each weapon once they had five to their name.
Firearms Owners Association of Australia president Ron Owen said shooters were already unfairly targeted and mired in red tape.
"All this does is put restrictions on good people and waste time, money and resources on controlling them," he said.
"If you have over 30 firearms you have to jump through all the hoops - you have to have increased security.
"The idea of gun registration is just insane.
"In fact, you would be much safer without registration or ever telling the police where they are.
"We've had incidents in different states, especially Victoria, where police have actually been selling lists of licensed shooters.
"The whole thing is a leaky boat."
Former prime minister John Howard, who introduced gun control laws in the wake of the 1996 Port Arthur massacre, last week said restrictions should be made even tighter.
"No, the laws are not adequate," he told SBS's Insight program.
"I would have thought that everybody would agree if 15-year-olds can get hold of weapons like that, there is something wrong with the laws.
"I am wholly against any watering down of any existing laws.
"And I would encourage sensible strengthening of any existing laws to reduce access to firearms."
Check gun numbers for your postcode at http://www.toomanyguns.org. - ARM NEWSDESK
IN THE FIRING LINE
COFFS HARBOUR (2450)
- 5802 firearms
- 1413 owners
- 81 guns in biggest private arsenal
- 4.11 firearms per owner