The Greens recently commissioned a Senate inquiry to investigate the ability to eliminate gun violence in Australia. The inquiry included three full days of hearings from subject matter experts, with the final hearing held in Canberra on the 31st of October 2014. Submissions were heard from NSW Police, Victoria Police, Australian Federal Police, the Australian Institute of Criminology, the Australian Crime Commission, Customs and Border Protection, the Sporting Shooters Association of Australia, Pistol Australia, Crimtrac, Attorney General's Department, the International Coalition for Women in Shooting and Hunting, Armament Research Services and the Crime Prevention Research Center.... to name just a few.
You can expect a lot of media focus on the inquiry now that the hearings are complete. The Chair of the inquiry, Senator Penny Wright, is due to submit the final report to parliament in the coming months. Stay tuned for that gem...
Despite the hype, that did not stop "The Project" from jumping on the bandwagon and hashing together another sloppy, amateur, fear-mongering diatribe of a story on the night the final hearing closed. The cast, "Where's Wally Aly" and "Carrie Bimbo Bickmore" were quick to pounce, parroting the Greens Senator's belief that almost all firearms on the black market are stolen from licensed firearms owners.
Victoria Police gave evidence that of the 48,000 registered handguns in the State, only 6 were stolen in the previous year. When you consider the Australian Institute of Criminology estimate conservatively there are at least 10,000 illicit firearms on the black market, the numbers just don't add up to support the claims made by 'The Project'.
Did the researchers of the program actually attend the inquiry? Did they watch it online? Did they read the Senate submissions made to the inquiry? The answer is obviously 'NO'! Yet the executives that run the sloppy operation at Channel Ten still remain perplexed as to why viewers are tuning out whilst their station is slowly going broke. When will they admit they are completely out of touch with the broader community?
On the flip side, shooting sports have seen massive growth as Australian's are becoming more educated about firearms, refusing to buy into the fear that the mainstream media attempts to shovel down their throats for the perceived belief it might result in ratings.
But back to the topic.... surely any single cell amoeba, bored enough to tune in, would have been smart enough to know that only the theft of firearms from legitimate firearms owners would be reported to police. Why would a criminal report a stolen firearm? Of course illegal gun theft is never reported to the police, and thus never recorded in their statistical reports. When it comes to the illegal importation of firearms, how could the Police or Customs possibly know how many are entering the country illegally? They cannot possibly know what they don't know! Just because more firearms are reported stolen than Customs are able to intercept doesn't automatically draw the conclusion that most illicit firearms were stolen from lawful firearms owners.
I don't expect you to blindly agree with my opinion, but I do encourage you to watch a snippet of the senate inquiry that actually addresses these very points.
On a side note, the entire premise of the Senate inquiry is completely flawed. Does any rational human being really believe it's possible to eliminate gun violence? The United Kingdom banned semi-automatic handguns in 1997. Despite this, the Home Office reported in 2010-2011, 3105 offences related to handguns.