Monday, 20 August 2012

Australia is becoming America

How often have you heard journalists or politicians flippantly make the statement 'Australia is becoming like America' in the context of the gun debate?

Before I start to compare Australia with America, some background information regarding our firearms laws and history is in order....

After the Port Arthur massacre in 1996, Australia introduced the most comprehensive reforms to our nation's gun laws achieved by any government, excluding countries and dictators that had successfully introduced an outright ban.

It's fair to say we had some of the most relaxed gun laws prior to 1996.  So relaxed that even a moron with an IQ of 66, the equivalent of an 11 year old boy and with known mental disabilities, was able to buy a firearm without checks or balances.

The new laws swung the pendulum as far as possible to the opposite side and banned the purchase of semi-automatic firearms altogether.  Our firearms laws are so strict that police have the right to enter our homes to conduct firearms safety inspections.  No other country in the world has such legislation - a flagrant breach of our civil liberties as law abiding citizens.

If a licensed firearms holder has his firearms stolen, police conduct a comprehensive assessment and often charge the licensed firearms owner with breaches under the Act.  An Act so comprehensive that you need to have a legal degree to understand it.  The owner who has had his property stolen is treated as the criminal and can be charged for failing to not use the correct width and / or length dyna bolts to secure his safe to the ground or for it not being mounted perfectly flush to the wall.  The National Firearms Agreement was a framework that contained standards for the states and territories to adhere to in preparation for introducing their regulations.  Because the legislation is state-based there are inconsistencies between jurisdictions, making it almost impossible for the average Joe to understand something as simple as transportation guidelines if they are crossing sometimes several state borders on a hunting trip.

The gun laws are so complex that not even our very own NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione understands them.  In February 2012, he proposed the introduction of the Ammunition Control Bill 2012, justified by this statement "I could never understand why, if you owned a shotgun, you could go and buy ammunition for a pistol."  Read about it here....

Under the legislation, a shotgun is a category 'A' firearm, while pistols fall under a category 'H' firearm.  Read section 65 of the legislation here, which shows that you cannot buy pistol ammunition with a licence to own a shotgun.  Despite this being pointed out on many occasions, including in Parliament by the Shooters and Fishers Party, Barry O'Farrell still has not taken this duplicate legislation off the table - justifying their claim that they need to monitor and limit the sale of ammunition, which is ridiculous.  There is no evidence licensed firearms owners have supplied criminal gangs or associates with ammunition.  This is nothing but an administrative burden on firearms dealers, the NSW Firearms Registry, the police and hundreds of thousands of sporting shooters and farmers who obey the law every day.  

Ask your government to show you:
  • the cost benefit analysis for monitoring hundreds of thousands of transactions every year, taking into account the additional costs for farmers to purchase ammunition due to dealer administration costs and the additional costs (your tax will pay) to the NSW firearms registry to manage compliance and record keeping and maintenance of these databases.
  • how many drive-by shootings, murders, muggings and assaults with firearms they plan to prevent with this legislation.  
  • what is to stop people buying their ammunition across the border and / or reloading and recycling their shells and casting their own projectiles.  Tools most firearms owners have and no doubt criminals can acquire if need be. 
  • if pistols are the choice of weapon for drive by shootings, why regulate hunting ammunition?
  • ask why when advised farmers in rural communities will no longer be able to rely on visitors from the city to purchase ammunition to suit their firearms, that the Government, rather than exempting farmers from this legislation, instead agreed they would be willing to issue permits (at a cost) to these visitors to buy ammunition for any particular firearm they require.  
  • follow up the previous question inquiring why if  the purpose of introducing legislation is to restrict the type of ammunition being sold, how this purpose be met if anyone can simply apply for a permit to make a purchase?
  • ask what the quantities of ammunition shooters will be restricted to each year per firearm?
The Shooters and Fishers Party proposed sensible reforms, such as increasing the penalty for the supply of ammunition to someone who is unlicensed for that category of firearm.  But this reform was rejected by the Barry O'Farrell government.   A government akin to the Foghorn Leghorn Warner Bros Looney Toons series, with David Shoebridge mimicking little hawk, jibbing constantly a whole bunch of wonderful ideas with no real life experience, whilst Foghorn Leghorn doesn't seem to listen to anyone and certainly not his constituents.

The Greens love to jump on the bandwagon whenever there is the slightest talk about gun law reform, often making ridiculous claims that our laws are being relaxed and it's going to be armageddon on the streets, likening hundreds of thousands of law abiding sporting shooters, farmers and hunters to criminal gangs.  Criminal gangs who buy their firearms and ammunition from the black market - illegally imported and smuggled into the country via a container ships the same way drugs are.  Firearms are a lot more difficult to detect than drugs.  You can train a customs dog to sniff for drugs, but you can't train them to sniff for metal gun parts.  Yet drugs still get into the country somehow.


I fail to understand how our legislators expect us to understand these complex regulations when a politician can't seem to understand his travel entitlements.  Ask your local Greens member why he or she doesn't support the self sustainable and ethical practice of hunting.  Ask your local member why your taxes are spent maintaining an obsolete firearms registry at the cost of $70 million a year when this money could be better spent on police and customs intelligence work.

I think it's time the government cease the reckless, wasteful and offensive assault on law abiding farmers, sporting shooters and hunters and start prioritising their efforts in catching criminals.

End of rant...Now, is Australia like America?

I have put this table together to compare both great countries.  The green smiley faces represent a 'Yes', orange 'Maybe' and red 'No'

A firearms culture comparison

We are nothing like America when it comes to gun culture.  Here are a few more examples of what they do in other countries.

Switzerland - firearms training and ownership is compulsory (video linked below).
New Zealand - did not ban semi-automatic long arms.
Canada - recently removed it's long arms registry because it was ineffective and a waste of money.

None of these countries, let alone ours, has the same gun violence as you see in America.  Why?  Because it has nothing to do with gun ownership, but rather a large socioeconomic divide.  A divide we are creating in Australia because we have our moral head so far up our backside, taking up way too much time in the political debate discussing climate change, boat people and gay marriage.  I'm not saying these issues are not important, but there are real problems in our country like support for disability, mental health, general health and education.  These should be our primary focuses.  Politicians don't like to talk about these problems because they are not sexy and our apathetic population just seems to tune out.

I plan to write a blog on crime statistics in the coming week.  But to whet your appetite, did you know that you're three times more likely to be raped in Australia than you are in America?

Reference: Rape statistics.

Why does Switzerland have the lowest crime rate?  Because they don't waste money on a large defence program.  Every citizen is part of their militia and is responsible for the defence of their country.  If any country is like America when it comes to guns, it is Switzerland.

Yes Australia is the safest country in the west! Woohoo!!! WAKE UP!!!!!!

1 comment:

  1. Great Blog
    Thanks for the information.