Questions are being asked about how Mr Edwards got hold of a gun. Picture: AAP Image/supplied
Questions are being asked about how Mr Edwards got hold of a gun. Picture: AAP Image/supplied

How killer dad got his gun

JOHN Edwards managed to buy two powerful handguns, one of which he used to murder his two children, despite having previous apprehended violence orders against him.

After the sickening attack on Thursday, his former partner Olga Edwards arrived to her home in the northwestern Sydney suburb of West Pennant Hills to find her two teenage children dead at the hands of their estranged father.

Now, the NSW government is considering how it can prevent a repeat of the brutal shooting even though Mr Edwards, 68, obtained the guns legally just months earlier.

The financial planner had been involved in a drawn-out custody battle with the children's mother and his previous apprehended violence orders should have raised a red flag in his quest for a handgun license.

Jack and Jennifer Edwards were killed by their father last week. Picture: AAP Image/Supplied
Jack and Jennifer Edwards were killed by their father last week. Picture: AAP Image/Supplied

However, it is understood that the red flags on his background declarations were overlooked when he applied for a handgun licence and permit.

Those applying for a license must declare criminal records, mental health concerns, apprehended violence orders taken out against them in the past 10 years and whether they have been rejected by other clubs.

If the applicant has crossed "yes" on the form, they have to then apply to NSW Firearms Registry for a Commissioner's Permit. Once they have that, they can be legally trained with a handgun even if they have a have breached one of the original conditions set out in the background declarations.

It is understood that Mr Edwards obtained a Commissioner's Permit in order to get hold of his two handguns.

This week, the NSW Police Minister Troy Grant and Police Commissioner Mick Fuller are meeting to discuss gun laws and whether they should be changed.

However, Shooters Fishers and Farmers Party MLC Robert Borsak said there are "a lot of questions to answer when it comes to last week's tragedy in Sydney".

"Existing firearms regulation and background checks should have prevented last week's tragedy in Sydney," Mr Borsak wrote on Facebook. "Why weren't these followed?

John Edwards later killed himself. Picture: AAP Image/supplied
John Edwards later killed himself. Picture: AAP Image/supplied

 

People continue to drop flowers for the victims. Picture: John Grainger
People continue to drop flowers for the victims. Picture: John Grainger

"Even expired apprehended violence orders are normally grounds to refuse a firearms licence in New South Wales.

"Countless others are refused for much less by the NSW Police Force every day.

"Not only did this man obtain a firearms licence after being twice denied one on the basis of character, but he was then able to obtain two firearms."

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the government didn't want families to go through such a tragedy again.

"We want to make sure what we have in place is as strong as it can be and that nobody falls through the cracks," Ms Berejiklian told reporters in Sydney.

"If there is anything we can do as a government to prevent these tragedies in the future, we will."

The talks will consider if police should conduct checks on firearms when court custody disputes are linked to a "notice of risk" to children.

Ms Berejiklian said the government also needed to make sure it doesn't "overreach".

"I feel personally responsible to make sure we keep the community safe at all times and if there is something we should be tweaking or doing, we will do that," she said.

- with wires


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