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Remains of siege victims' released as gun debate returns

A view of Martin Place from above, as Australia mourns the lost lives of two hostages after a gunman threatened 17 people in Sydney's Lindt Chocolate Cafe
A view of Martin Place from above, as Australia mourns the lost lives of two hostages after a gunman threatened 17 people in Sydney's Lindt Chocolate Cafe

THE bodies of Sydney's cafe siege victims Katrina Dawson and Tori Johnson will be released to their families last night as debate rages over whether gun laws should be changed.

The Australian Federal Police has taken responsibility for Prime Minister Tony Abbott's incorrect comments on Wednesday that Martin Place gunman Man Haron Monis held a valid firearm licence.

They issued a statement today saying Monis had never held a gun licence in Australia and that an investigation into how an incorrect entry had surfaced on their database was under way.

Debate has erupted over whether relaxing gun laws would have allowed hostages to defend themselves, after Liberal Democrat Senator David Leyonhjelm said Australia was a "nation of unarmed victims".

"That nutcase who held them all hostage wouldn't have known that they were armed and bad guys don't like to be shot back at," he told ABC radio.

His comments have been widely denounced, with former Prime Minister John Howard calling it "very simplistic and flawed analysis".

"The gun laws that were brought in after the Port Arthur massacre made Australia a safer place. Around the world those laws are praised," Mr Howard said.

"It's just an exercise in logic to understand that the more guns there are in the community, the greater the likelihood of mass murder."

The NSW State Coroner confirmed the bodies of victims Katrina Dawson and Tori Johnson were to be released tonight, with an autopsy on Monis's body expected to happen before the end of the week. Tributes for the fallen duo continued to flow.

Sydney chef Kevin Lay, who used to work with cafe manager Mr Johnson, told APN his friend's death had shocked the hospitality industry.

"Everyone who has worked with him knew he took the time to get to know everyone, no matter what position you were in," Mr Lay said.

"Whether you were the head chef, waitress/waiter, runner or even just a kitchen-hand, he made the time to get to know you and that's the person he was. He always put other people's needs before his own."

 

 

Topics:  martin place sydney siege



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