Tim Fischer gives up gun for democracy

Former deputy prime minister Tim Fischer has given up one of the first rifles registered under Howard-era gun laws to a new exhibition celebrating democracy.

When Tim Fischer bought his father's farm he also bought the Enfield 303 rifle that's been in his family for eight decades.

"Dad didn't give much away," the former deputy prime minister joked in Canberra on Thursday, as he handed over the gun for a new exhibition at the Museum of Australian Democracy.

It was one of the first guns registered under the gun reforms he developed with his boss, former prime minister John Howard, after the 1996 Port Arthur Massacre.

Mr Fischer registered the weapon and took out a shooting licence to comply with the new laws, but now the farm has been sold and he no longer has a need for the gun, the donation allows him complete the circle "in a happy way".

He once used the heirloom for fox shooting, but isn't afraid to admit he stopped out of fear in the 1970s.

"I got terrified of my own weapon - it had a bit of a kickback in the shoulder so I preferred a .22," he said.

The National Firearms Agreement was a significant moment in Australia's democratic history and a new exhibition will celebrate those moments, museum director Daryl Karp said.

"Australia has an outstanding history in terms of one of the world leading democratic nations and what we want to do is start encouraging people to be a little more active and engage with the process of democracy," she said.

Democracy: are you in? opens at Old Parliament House in June.

Published 12 April 2018 at 9:30am
Source: AAP