Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN News

Report on “Unprecedented” Criminal Firearm Misuse in Melbourne Undermines Hillary and Obama’s Calls for Australia-Style Gun Control

Friday, September 16, 2016

Report on “Unprecedented” Criminal Firearm Misuse in Melbourne Undermines Hillary and Obama’s Calls for Australia-Style Gun Control

While anti-gun politicians like Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama tout Australia’s gun control laws as a model for the United States, recent reporting on crime in Melbourne from newspaper The Age revealed the limitations of Australia’s stringent laws. According to the paper, “Despite Australia’s strict gun control regime, criminals are now better armed than at any time since then-Prime Minister John Howard introduced a nationwide firearm buyback scheme in response to the 1996 Port Arthur massacre.” The paper’s reporting illustrates what gun rights advocates have long contended; that gun controls merely disarm the law-abiding and are ineffective in confronting criminal conduct.

To fully understand The Age’s report, some context is necessary. Following a high-profile shooting in Port Arthur, Tasmania in 1996, Australia’s state and territorial governments agreed to enact severe gun controls. The centerpiece of the agreement was a ban on the importation, ownership, sale, transfer, possession, manufacture and use of semi-automatic rifles and semi-automatic and pump-action shotguns. The agreement also called for an integrated nationwide firearms registry and imposed severe gun owner licensing requirements. Further, the agreement made clear that an individual must have a “genuine reason” for owning a firearm, and determined that “personal protection not be regarded as a genuine reason for owning possessing or using a firearm.”

Australia’s gun ban did not grandfather firearms owned prior to enactment of the new laws. To carry out the prohibition on the mere possession of the banned firearms, the government embarked on a “buyback” program, where gun owners were required to turn in their prohibited firearms for predetermined compensation. Taken together, the ban on possession and “buyback” program amounted to firearm confiscation.

Despite the confiscation of roughly 700,000 firearms and the severe licensing and registration requirements imposed on law-abiding Australians, criminals have little trouble securing weaponry. The report noted that in Melbourne, “firearms offences have doubled in the past five years,” and that incidents where a prohibited person has been found with a gun increased five-fold from 2011 to 2015. Moreover, Victoria Police Assistant Police Commissioner Stephen Fontana conveyed to The Age that police are seeing “military-grade weapons” “more often than ever before.”

Those intent on breaking the law procure firearms in a handful of ways. The report cited a “senior law enforcement source” who made clear that criminals often acquire weapons “through theft or illegal sale.” The piece went on to note that “Despite Australia’s strict border controls, the smuggling of high-powered military-style firearms is also a growing problem.” Describing the extent of the issue, the authors explained, “Criminal networks also create caches of illegal weapons, including machine guns and pistols with silencers, that are bought, sold and traded among the underworld in ways that are difficult for police to track.”

The ineffectiveness of Australia’s severe gun controls will come as no surprise to many gun rights supporters. A 2013 DOJ National Institute of Justice memo on the efficacy of various gun control measures concluded that the Australian confiscation program, “appears to have had no effect on gun homicide…” Moreover, surveys of state prison inmates here in the U.S. conducted by the Department of Justice have shown that criminals often procure firearms in a manner unlikely to be effected by stiffer gun controls. In the 2004 version of the survey, 40 percent of the inmates surveyed answered that they obtained a firearm through a “street/illegal source,” with another 37.4 percent citing “family or friend” as their source.

Perhaps understanding the futility of ever-increasing restrictions on law-abiding gun owners, when it comes to confronting the criminal misuse of guns some Victoria officials appear prepared to place the emphasis where it belongs, on the criminal. 

The reporting cites the story of one young man who was twice found to have illegally possessed a firearm and drugs. Only five months after serving a nine month stint in jail, the convict was arrested again after allegedly pointing a stolen 9mm handgun at a police officer. Despite his prior convictions and the severity of his alleged actions, the young man got bail. Victoria Police Association Secretary Ron Iddles is quoted as stating that the incident “serves as a glaring example and a cautionary tale of why the courts can’t afford to get it wrong.” Iddles went on to ask, “How can someone with a long list of prior convictions for violence, drugs and firearms offences be granted bail after pulling a gun on an officer?”

The report also quotes Victoria Victims of Crime Commissioner Greg Davies, who told the paper, “It has become abundantly clear that Victorians will continue to become victims of violent crime if criminals are not given custodial sentences that take them out of circulation, protect the community and act as a real deterrent… If they can be rehabilitated, well and good, but we have to accept there are some people out there who are seriously bad and need to be dealt with.”

Unfortunately, there are some who have sought to address Melbourne’s issues by further burdening law-abiding gun owners. According to the report, Victorian Police Minister Lisa Neville has suggested the government may impose further storage requirements on gun owners and limit the number of firearms an individual may keep on certain types of property. Victoria’s gun owners are already subject to stringent storage requirements. Similar proposals that would burden gun owners with additional storage requirements and restrictions have been offered in New South Wales.

For its part, the Australian national government is pursuing legislation that would increase the maximum prison sentence for gun smuggling from 10 to 20 years, and set a mandatory minimum sentence of five years. The Commonwealth is also planning another gun “buyback” of prohibited firearms.

The new “buyback” has been met with justifiable skepticism by some, with Victoria Shadow Minister for Police telling The Age, that the government should target criminals, explaining, “Any response from Victoria Police and (state) government should be focused on this cohort, not lawful guns owners.” Similarly, Robert Borsak of Australia’s Shooters Fishers and Farmers Party, noted in a press release, “Has the Government considered how many criminals would actually participate in such a program?” adding, “The focus of any change to firearms laws needs to be entirely on targeting criminals and the illegal firearms market.”

Melbourne’s recent experience should serve as yet another example of the futility of gun control measures that burden the rights of the law-abiding. Given the ease with which Melbourne’s criminals arm themselves despite the severity of their country’s gun control regime, Clinton and Obama would be wise to look past Australia when putting together their next gun control speech.

TRENDING NOW
Court Rules Second Amendment Prohibits Federal Pre-Conviction Firearms Ban

News  

Monday, September 26, 2022

Court Rules Second Amendment Prohibits Federal Pre-Conviction Firearms Ban

Last week, a federal judge in the Western District of Texas ruled that a law which prohibits the acquisition of firearms by someone who is under felony indictment violates the Second Amendment. The decision to ...

Illinois Sets the Stage for Possible Unprecedented Crime Wave

News  

Monday, September 26, 2022

Illinois Sets the Stage for Possible Unprecedented Crime Wave

As part of a criminal justice “reform” effort, the state of Illinois is preparing to unleash the first statewide no-cash bail law, which will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2023, and the ramifications could ...

More Pushback on Credit Card Surveillance of Firearm Buyers

News  

Monday, September 26, 2022

More Pushback on Credit Card Surveillance of Firearm Buyers

As we’ve previously reported, on September 9, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) approved a Merchant Category Code (MCC) for firearm retailers. MCCs enable payment processors and banks to categorize, monitor, and collect data on various types of ...

Update: Further Dispatches from New York’s War on Guns

News  

Monday, September 26, 2022

Update: Further Dispatches from New York’s War on Guns

Speaking about her new gun control legislation, New York State Governor Kathy Hochul claimed that “we took swift and thoughtful action to keep New Yorkers safe…. we will continue leading the way forward and implementing ...

Shipping Companies Prohibit the Lawful Shipping of Firearms

News  

Monday, September 19, 2022

Shipping Companies Prohibit the Lawful Shipping of Firearms

Wondering what federal law says regarding individuals who do not have a Federal Firearms License (FFL) that need to ship firearms? Well, if you go to the website for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and ...

Brace Yourself: Biden Administration Reinterprets “Firearm,” Prepares Crackdown

News  

Monday, August 29, 2022

Brace Yourself: Biden Administration Reinterprets “Firearm,” Prepares Crackdown

When we say “brace yourself,” we’re not kidding. The pistol brace rule is coming as well. But first, a different sort of crackdown was unleashed on the nation this week, as an ATF rule published ...

OREGON: Vote NO on Ballot Measure 114!

News  

Thursday, September 15, 2022

OREGON: Vote NO on Ballot Measure 114!

Ballot Measure 114 is the nation’s most extreme gun control Initiative and will be voted on this November! The NRA has launched a website to inform voters why they must VOTE NO on Ballot Measure 114.  It ...

South Carolina: The City of Columbia Passes More Unconstitutional Gun Control

Friday, September 23, 2022

South Carolina: The City of Columbia Passes More Unconstitutional Gun Control

Last week, the Columbia City Council passed Ordinance No.: 2022-080 to require its residents to report their lost or stolen firearms to the police within 24 hours or face up to a $500 fine. This is ...

NRA Achieves Historical Milestone as 25 States Recognize Constitutional Carry

News  

Friday, April 1, 2022

NRA Achieves Historical Milestone as 25 States Recognize Constitutional Carry

Half the country will now enjoy the freedom to carry a handgun for self-defense without a permit from the state thanks to the tireless efforts of men and women of the National Rifle Association. 

New Credit Card Rule Creates Gun Registry

News  

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

New Credit Card Rule Creates Gun Registry

On September 9, the International Organization for Standardization (“ISO“) announced that it would create a new Merchant Category Code (“MCC”) specific to firearm and ammunition retailers. MCCs are the codes that payment processing networks (like ...

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -

More Like This From Around The NRA

NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.