Tougher gun checks call after kids' murder

Dominica Sanda

The horrific shooting of two teenagers in Sydney's northwest has prompted calls for Australia's firearm regulations to better protect women and children from gun violence.

Not-for-profit group Gun Control Australia has called for new family law firearm safety checks after Jack, 15 and Jennifer Edwards, 13, were killed in their West Pennant Hills home by their father John Edwards.

The 68-year-old took his own life shortly after the shooting.

GCA director Samantha Lee says current gun laws fail to adequately protect women and children because they require an AVO to be in place or a charge for a criminal offence before a firearm may be revoked or suspended.

"By then, it may be too late to save a life," Ms Lee said in a statement.

"What GCA wants to see happen is a more pro-active approach which gives women a voice in the gun licence continuation, application or acquisition."

The new checks would be compulsory and required to be undertaken once custody proceedings were lodged in the Family Court, GCA said in a statement.

They would include a firearm licence review where police would check if any person involved in family court proceedings had a gun licence and if there was any concern for the safety of that person, their immediate family or the public.

Police would also notify the partner if the other party had a gun licence, made an application for a firearm licence or an application to obtain a permit to acquire a licence.

The partner would be able to object to the application or continuation of the licence if they had safety concerns.

Under the reforms, police would have the power to suspend or revoke a licence and not issue a permit.

Police say Edwards had been involved in a custody battle with the children's mother Olga Edwards, for two years following the breakdown of their marriage.

The nature of their relationship and any violent incidents between them is still being investigated.

Two "quite powerful" handguns registered in the father's name sometime this year and used to kill the children, were found at Edwards' Normanhurst home, along with several other guns he owned, police said.

GCA says it has "various concerns" about the monitoring of Edwards' gun licence and ownership.