Triggering Thoughts of Tyranny in WA

A disarmed population is defenceless in the face of tyranny. America’s Founding Fathers mistrusted the monopoly of government to weaponry and believed, on the basis of English history and their own colonial experience, that governments are prone to oppress the people. They believed that whenever governments plan to destroy our inalienable rights to life, liberty, and property, they always attempt first to disarm their prospective victims.[1]

In societies with a real concern for the protection of human life, self-defence is understood as a fundamental right of the individual. In countries like Australia, however, firearm ownership is not considered a right of the individual but a mere concession of the state.[2] Guns are allowed only under limited circumstances, such as for recreational shooting or hunting animals on eligible private properties. A familiar, repetitious message heralded by the 1996 (updated 2017) National Firearms Agreement (NFA) states: “personal protection is not a genuine reason for acquiring, possessing or using a firearm.” [3] 

The former Soviet Union had a gun ban for over 70 years. And yet, during the 1970s and 1980s, the murder rate was twice higher than the murder rate in the United States. [4] Obviously, disarming law-abiding people did not succeed in stopping criminals obtaining firearms.[5] Need it be said that the former Soviet Union had a deeply oppressive government?

Considering that the possession of a firearm in Australia is only allowed as a concession of the government, an Australian citizen might not be allowed to use a firearm on her premises while experiencing a home invasion in which she reasonably fears death or grievous bodily harm.  It is hard to believe that any Western democracy would go to the extremes of the former Soviet Union in making sure citizens have no weapons for self-defence and,  should the need arise, to fight against political tyranny. Of course, disarmed citizens are defenceless, not only in the face of external aggression and but also in face of political tyranny.

The Labor government in Western Australia, not especially known for its regard for basic human rights, is now preparing an extreme form of gun control legislation.[6]  If crime, or the potential for crime, is the reason behind the new laws, perhaps such a government would be better off concentrating on the reasons behind the rise in crime, which are generally related to drugs, gangs and organised crime. 

While it is understandable that increased scrutiny be placed on some individuals, it is not socially helpful to publicly point at a portion of the population and make a case they are a threat to security.  Of course, the licensed citizen is easy to locate, easy to target and easy to intimidate. Such people are obviously much more compliant than the criminal. Accordingly, law-abiding citizens with access to legal firearms are increasingly vulnerable to government fear-mongering and disingenuous messages designed to promote fear, claiming that these socially responsible individuals are a threat to others and the Police.

Dr John Lott is the former president of the Crime Prevention Research Center, a U.S.-based organisation dedicated to conducting academic quality research on the relationship between laws regulating the ownership or use of firearms, crime, and public safety. Israel and Switzerland, he notes, have the world’s highest gun-possession rate and some of the world’s lowest homicide rates; indeed, Switzerland actually has the lowest homicide rates in Europe. When we look at all the countries for which date is currently available, “we find that those countries that tend to have higher gun-ownership rates tend to have lower homicide rates”.[7]

The problem with banning firearms is that the criminals always end up getting a hold of illegal weapons.[8] In the United Kingdom, most guns were banned in January 1997 but over the next eight years that nation experienced a 45 per cent increase in homicides.[9] Crimes committed by use of a firearm in the UK more than doubled over the 5½ years following the confiscation of firearms.[10] Just to give another example, firearms were banned in Ireland in 1972 and what had been a relatively stable homicide rate then became a three-fold increase in homicides after that ban.[11]

The United States provides a good laboratory because it is relatively easy to compare the 50 states and Washington DC. One may find almost every kind of gun legislation, varying from liberal laws about gun ownership such as in Texas and Tennessee, all the way to an almost total ban of firearms in places such as Chicago and Washington DC. When we look at the complete firearm bans in Chicago and Washington DC, there was a huge increase in murder rates and violate crimes in both places after the gun bans went into effect.[12]

Of course, some people claim that banning firearms would have the positive effect of preventing suicide. However, a firearm is just a means to an end and not the end in itself. If someone wants to kill himself he will find a way. This might explain why since the 1996 federal gun legislation firearm suicides have reduced but hanging has correspondently gone up.[13] According to Sarah McKinnon, legal affairs manager at the National Farmers’ Federation, no link can be found between access to firearms and suicide rates. The notion that more firearms lead to more suicide is “dangerous because it can cloud the message around suicide prevention”, she says.[14]

While WA Police does not publish official gun crime statistics, the WA Police Minister, Paul Papalia, acknowledges that most gun crime is committed by individuals not licensed to possess a firearm.[15] Indeed, almost every single gun used for criminal activity is not licensed and not owned by a licensed gun owner. Criminals who seek to acquire, say, a semi-automatic pistol, know that Chinese semi-automatic pistols or Czech made blank firing pistols (easily converted to use real ammunition) are available for little money on the black market. As noted by Dr James Arthur Lemon from the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (University of New South Wales): “There are very few firearms that have been stolen and subsequently used in illegal acts or established as coming from pathway from a registered firearm owner, through theft, into a recorded crime”.[16]

Gun violence is almost non-existent among the licensed firearm owners using registered firearms. And yet, WA Police has been diverting massive financial and strategic resources away from combating violent crime and towards bureaucratic micromanagement and control of farmers, competitive target shooters, antique collectors and other licensed firearm owners, a grouping of arguably the least likely people likely to commit any type of crime. According to Brian Allan Cheers, president of NSW Amateur Pistol Association Inc.,

Shooters as a group, seem to be condemned for the actions of either a few or someone who is not even a shooter, merely a criminal. What most people must, or should, realise that we in the shooting organisations condemn gun crime more than normal people, because we are going to be tarred with that brush. Unfortunately given the way the police work, and with laws preventing communication about crimes, the details of thefts – the modus operandi and causes of theft – are kept form us so we are not able to react to those sorts of things. [17]

The WA government claims to be “committed to ensure our community and our Police Officers have the best possible protection from gun violence”.[18] But this has not prevented such government from recklessly releasing a map that reveals the exact location of thousands of handguns and long arm firearms across the state, which has caused a reasonable concern that such a release could be used by criminals to target and steal guns. The map was pulled from an internal WA Police database on 22 March 2021.[19] As noted by Paul Fitzgerald, president of the WA Sporting Shooters Association, “responsible gun owners have been unfairly targeted, and their safety has been compromised by releasing of data which can easily identify where our members”.[20]

Indeed, it is hard to see how placing thousands of firearm owners at risk of having their homes broken into, and have their licensed firearms stolen by criminals, will improve community safety! As noted by a veteran WA police officer,

It’s dangerous [to reveal the location of these firearms]. I’m actually worried now … They were trying to cause fear and panic by showing people, ‘here’s a map, you’re surrounded by guns!’ But what you’ve done is actually show the criminals where to go to get the guns.[21] 

While many would agree that a reform of the state firearms legislation is necessary, it should be noted that the Firearms Act 1973 (and its regulations) underwent continual and consistent amendments over the last 50 years to meet community needs and technological developments.

Above all, when considering any need for legislative reform and update, it should be especially noted that, on 30 October 2015, the Law Reform Commission of Western Australia (LRCWA) released its comprehensive 198-page (318 pages including the annexures) “Review of the Firearms Act 1973 (WA)”, a discussion paper that sought submissions from stakeholders regarding responses to 46 proposals and 44 questions.

In the course of preparing its Final Report, the LRCWA undertook extensive consultations and the reference garnered an enormous amount of public interest. By the close of the public consultation period, the LRCWA had received an unprecedented level of responses to its call for submissions. It was clear that the individuals and organisations preparing these submissions had gone to considerable lengths to consider and respond to the questions and proposals. Through the consultation period an understanding was formed that “most crimes involving firearms are carried out by people who are not licensed to carry the firearms”.[22]

Ultimately, the Commission received 1,244 written submissions. This included submissions not only from ordinary gun owners but also those who wished for greater restrictions on firearms, as well as from various agencies and organisations, including WA Police. In sum, that was the largest response that the Commission has ever received on one of its referrals.[23]

Released to the community in October 2016, the LRCWA’s ‘Final Report on the Review of the Firearms Act 1973 (WA)’ contains 143 recommendations, many of which are broken up into sub-recommendations to provide specific guidance on recommended reform.[24] First of all, the Final Report informs us that “the vast majority of firearm users in Western Australia are law-abiding”. The Commission thus found no reason to recommend any legislative change that could make it more difficult for firearm users to abide by the law.[25] As such, a new legislation is recommend that merely strikes a better balance between the need for firearms regulation while reducing red tape for the users of firearms. Two recommendations read as follows:

Recommendation 52.2: The fact that an applicant [to a firearm] already has a firearm or firearms similar to the firearm that is the subject of an application, should not of itself be a reason to assess the additional firearm as being unjustified.

♦ Recommendation 54: There should be no upper limit on the number of firearms a single Firearm License holder may possess.

Firearms are often categorised by considering factors such as action type, magazine capacity and ammunition. The Law Reform Commission of Western Australia Final Report recommends the categorisation method to be maintained as the basis of the regulatory firearms scheme because, as the report explicitly says, no evidence was provided to suggest that the current system has been a threat to public safety.[26]

Presently, Category D firearms are not allowed to the average citizen. To satisfy the ‘genuine test’ for firearms under Category D, the applicant must satisfy the Police Commissioner that the firearm is required for government purposes. WA Police Minister Paul Papalia even talks about further gun restrictions and confiscation of firearms.

However, the LRCWA Final Report notes that other Australian jurisdictions currently permit the use of a Category D firearm for hunting or culling. Since the Commission was fully satisfied that a Category D firearm could be genuinely required for some types of pest control, the Final Report also recommends:   

A professional shooter whose occupation is the extermination of feral animals or a Prime Producer may obtain approval for a Category D firearm where the Licensing Authority is satisfied that the use of such firearm is for that specified purpose.[27]  

These recommendations were made only a few years ago and absolutely nothing has changed to justify another “community consultation”, let alone any legislation that ignores the LRCWA’s Final Report recommendations. Still, the WA government has ignored the Report in order to achieve what may be described as the biggest gun control and gun confiscation in Australia’s history. Indeed, the WA government is now promising a complete overhaul the firearms legislation but such a government has no right to ignore the 143 recommendations made by the Law Reform Commission just a few year ago. There is nothing in the LRCWA’s Final Report that recommends further gun restrictions or the confiscation of existing licensed firearms.

Of course, this aggravates the strong suspicion that the new consultation is only a set up and the government will push their anti-gun agenda regardless of any feedback provided. The government may contemplate an overhaul of the present legislation but this should not be done in complete disregard of the 143 recommendations provide by the LRCWA after a very comprehensive process that involved consultations with thousands of organisations and members of the community.  Unfortunately, these new laws are destined to be enacted because Western Australia because both houses of Parliament are controlled by the WA Labor government, thus facilitating the enactment of virtually any law unimpeded.

  • The above is an edited version of a paper delivered at the Firearms Bill 2024 (WA) Roundtable, April 14, 2024

Prof. Augusto Zimmermann is a former member of the Law Reform Commission in Western Australia. He is also head of law at Sheridan Institute of Higher Education, in Perth, Western Australia, and a former associate dean (research) at Murdoch University, School of Law. During his time at Murdoch, Professor Zimmermann was awarded the Vice Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Research, in 2012. 

[1] Nelson Lund, ‘To Keep and Bear Arms’, in: Edwin Meese II et al, The Heritage Guide to the Constitution, The Heritage Foundation, 2005, 319.  

[2] Essenberg v The Queen [2000] HCATrans 297; Essenberg v the Queen B12/2002 [2003] HCATrans 836

[3] https://www.abf.gov.au/prohibited-goods-subsite/files/2017-national-firearms-agreement.pdf

[4] Senate Committee Hansard, ‘Ability of Australian law enforcement authorities to eliminate gun related violence in the community’, Senate, Friday, Canberra/ACT, 31 October 2014, 4. 

[5] Senate Committee Hansard, ‘Ability of Australian law enforcement authorities to eliminate gun related violence in the community’, Senate, Friday, Canberra/ACT, 31 October 2014, 4. 

[6] https://sportingshooter.com.au/news/wa-to-impose-five-gun-limit-on-hunters-10-for-target-shooters/

[7] Senate Committee Hansard, ‘Ability of Australian law enforcement authorities to eliminate gun related violence in the community’, Senate, Friday, Canberra/ACT, 31 October 2014, 3. 

[8] Senate Committee Hansard, ‘Ability of Australian law enforcement authorities to eliminate gun related violence in the community’, Senate, Friday, Canberra/ACT, 31 October 2014, 3. 

[9] Senate Committee Hansard, ‘Ability of Australian law enforcement authorities to eliminate gun related violence in the community’, Senate, Friday, Canberra/ACT, 31 October 2014, 3. 

[10] Brian Allan Cheers, President, NSW Amateur Pistol Association Inc., ‘Ability of Australian law enforcement authorities to eliminate gun related violence in the community’, Senate, Canberra/ACT, Monday 13 October 2014, 34.

[11] Senate Committee Hansard, ‘Ability of Australian law enforcement authorities to eliminate gun related violence in the community’, Senate, Friday, Canberra/ACT, 31 October 2014, 3. 

[12] Senate Committee Hansard, ‘Ability of Australian law enforcement authorities to eliminate gun related violence in the community’, Senate, Canberra/ACT, Friday 31 October 2014, 3. 

[13] Senator Reynolds, ‘Ability of Australian law enforcement authorities to eliminate gun related violence in the community’, Senate, Canberra/ACT, Monday 13 October 2014, 20.

[14] Sarah McKinnon, Manager, Workplace Relations and Legal Affairs, Senate Committee Hansard, ‘Ability of Australian law enforcement authorities to eliminate gun related violence in the community’, Senate, Canberra/ACT, Monday 13 October 2014, 19.

[15] Daniel Khmelev, ‘Western Australia Takes Aim at Gun Ownership Laws’, The Epoch Times, 24 March 2022, at

[16] Gary Bryant, General Manager, Firearm Safety and Training Council, Senate Committee Hansard, ‘Ability of Australian law enforcement authorities to eliminate gun related violence in the community’, Senate, Canberra/ACT, Monday 13 October 2014, 5. 

[17] Brian Allan Cheers, President, NSW Amateur Pistol Association Inc., ‘Ability of Australian law enforcement authorities to eliminate gun related violence in the community’, Senate, Canberra/ACT, Monday 13 October 2014, 30.

[18] ‘New Firearms Act Information’, Western Australia Police, 21 February 2023, at https://www.theepochtimes.com/western-australia-takes-aim-at-gun-ownership-laws_4358776.html https://www.police.wa.gov.au/About-Us/News/New-Firearms-Act-Information

[19] Daniel Khamelev, ‘Outrage After Exact Locations of Aussie Gun Owners Shared by Government’, The Epoch Times, 24 March 2022, at https://www.theepochtimes.com/outrage-after-exact-locations-of-thousands-of-aussie-gun-owners-distributed-by-police_4361160.html

[20] Daniel Khamelev, ‘Outrage After Exact Locations of Aussie Gun Owners Shared by Government’, 24 March 2022, at https://www.theepochtimes.com/outrage-after-exact-locations-of-thousands-of-aussie-gun-owners-distributed-by-police_4361160.html

[21] Daniel Khamelev, ‘Outrage After Exact Locations of Aussie Gun Owners Shared by Government’, The Epoch Times, 24 March 2022, at https://www.theepochtimes.com/outrage-after-exact-locations-of-thousands-of-aussie-gun-owners-distributed-by-police_4361160.html

[22] ‘Review of the Firearms Act 197 (WA) – Final Report’, Project 105, Law Reform Commission of Western Australia, October 2016, 9. 

[23] ‘Review of the Firearms Act 197 (WA) – Final Report’, Project 105, Law Reform Commission of Western Australia, October 2016, 9. 

[24] ‘Review of the Firearms Act 197 (WA) – Final Report’, Project 105, Law Reform Commission of Western Australia, October 2016, 14. 

[25] ‘Review of the Firearms Act 197 (WA) – Final Report’, Project 105, Law Reform Commission of Western Australia, October 2016, 9. 

[26] Recommendation 58.1, ‘Review of the Firearms Act 197 (WA) – Final Report’, Project 105, Law Reform Commission of Western Australia, October 2016, 59. 

[27] Recommendation 80.1, ‘Review of the Firearms Act 197 (WA) – Final Report’, Project 105, Law Reform Commission of Western Australia, October 2016, 78. 

42 thoughts on “Triggering Thoughts of Tyranny in WA

  • Podargus says:

    WA has, for many years, gone over the top with firearms restrictions. But the other states are not much better. The police are at the base of this problem. Their preferred situation is that they be the only ones to have easy access to firearms. The way that they swagger around the country side armed to the teeth amply illustrates that aspect of the police culture.
    They can be accurately described as government thugs and that is why they have a very influential voice in government matters.

    • Clive Bond says:

      I have lived in four different states in communities that did not have guns. Life was free and happy and there were no worries about nutters with guns ready to use them at any time. We don’t need guns in a community. If they are needed police can supply the necessary force to protect us.

      • Podargus says:

        So, Clive, these 4 communities that did not have any firearms – you are sure about that are you?
        As for the police supplying necessary force, the police can’t possibly be on hand at every emergent situation when needed. It is the responsibility of every adult citizen to defend themselves and their dependents at the very least.
        Your naive attitude is all too prevalent and that is one of the many reasons why we have an increasing crime problem.

        • melb says:

          Agreed, when seconds count, the police are minutes away.
          There have been many cases in Australia where people (often elderly) have been killed by scum who knew that their victims could not defend themselves.
          When the police arrive you are already dead. These days with the locks on cars the scum have to invade your home to get the keys.

      • RykD says:

        Those must have been four very remarkable and exceptional states. I have lived and worked in many countries in four continents and in every single one there was a percentage of violent crime carried out by criminals with unlicensed and illegal firearms. Also, almost universally, licensed owners of legal firearms very rarely commit offenses with those firearms. The statistics are available, but unpopular with many who have other agendas.

  • Michael says:

    I am reminded of the old adage about the drunk looking for his keys not where he may have dropped them, but under the street light, because that’s where he can see.

  • Katzenjammer says:

    I’ve wondered when news reports come from the USA about another school shooting whether any are with guns owned by a member of the NRA. The anti-gun lobby, rather than be in conflict with the NRA, maybe they should demand mandatory training by the NRA for prospective gun owners, especially about safe storage in the home.

  • dolcej says:

    ‘National Firearms Agreement (NFA) states: “personal protection is not a genuine reason for acquiring, possessing or using a firearm.”’

    Probably one of the dumbest and most out-of-touch sentences ever written.
    What about protection of your family members?
    There’s an old saying in the States: ‘Better to be judged by 12, than to be carried by 6.’
    Even more so when it comes to protecting your loved ones.

    • Paul W says:

      You are correct that is dumb – but it is also backwards. That is the most important thing. Self-defence is the only genuine reason for owning a firearm because self-defence means the preservation of life without which no other right or reason can have meaning.

      • Occidental says:

        Sorry Melb but the horse has well and truly bolted. Your argument is self evident, but even ventilating it is a waste of time. Australia should be a study on how you start a country with some of the toughest hardiest people on the face of the planet, and within five or six generations their descendants are servile sheep, like farmed animals docile and waiting to go to the abattoir.
        Generally Australians are offended by any idea that challenges the zeitgeist, terribly frightened of physical violence, and totally unprepared to manage it. The notion that you call the police to protect yourself is so mind boggling stupid, but that is the sort of idea that comes out of the minds of old pensioners and women. The sad thing is most of the younger generation, the children and grandchildren of those old pensioners, also think that is a rational plan. Australians today are like the sheep or the moose who try not to be on the outside of the herd as a preservation strategy.
        It was all laid bare during Covid, when the old pensioners demanded a virus free world, everyone had to stay home, everyone had to get the experimental vaccine, no one was allowed to voice a contrary opinion, it is these same people who demand the eradication of firearms, but then, with nothing to protect themselves, argue the police will. But deep down they know there is no chance even diligent police can protect them, what they really hope is that the break and enter happens to the neighbour and not to them.

  • Botswana O'Hooligan says:

    Back in 1951 I was given a single shot .22 for my 10th birthday with the proviso that I supplied a wallaby once each week for dogs tucker and fish trap bait, could shoot vermin but anything else I shot I had to eat so that took care of random mayhem of other stuff. Most if not all other kids in rural areas back then also had access to firearms and not one of us ever killed anyone or ourselves. Usually, every household had a .303 or a Winchester .32/20 or a Martini Henry .310 Cadet plus a shotgun and invariably a .410 “snake gun” and even politicians got about freely without fear during election cycles. Crims shot each other and others back then exactly the same as they do now and always will do so all Mr. Howards legislation did was to disarm those who were responsible people and allow the crims free reign knowing that the likelihood of anyone trying to use a firearm to protect themselves is about zero.

    • lbloveday says:

      Howard took some of our guns.
      He took my 5 shot semi automatic Ruger .44 Magnum rifle. But I received enough to buy a bottle of good wine and a 9 shot lever action .44 Magnum, which, if you’ve watched The Rifleman you’ll know can be fired almost as quickly if aiming between shots, and you have the extra 4 bullets (I wrote to Howard thanking him for my free “upgrade”).
      He took my 5-shot pump action 12g shotgun, and I replaced it with a 2-shot side-by-side “coach gun”.
      He left my 2 single-shot .22s, AND a 2-shot Winchester Model 70 .458 Magnum. Bullets cost $5 each and a female friend was sat on her backside when she fired it (I made sure she had it tucked in firmly so as to not damage her shoulder).
      I was far from disarmed, and don’t understand why people keep saying we were.
      Disarmed when I had a 9 SHOT .44 MAGNUM!

      • Robert Kennedy says:

        Yes, that idiot brought in his “uniform” gun laws. I have been a target shooter for over 50 years, and have travelled and competed all over Australia, Everywhere except Western Australia my Queensland gun licence was sufficient, but to travel there to compete in a National Championship event, I and ALL other interstate visitors had to apply for a special permit to bring our target rifles into their backwards state. God only knows why sane people would want to live there!!!

  • pgang says:

    Thankyou John Howard. Who needs the left when you have so-called conservatives ready to control your life?

  • ianl says:

    Governments firstly and repeatedly take as many guns as they can, then secondly attempt to take most of the money (the order of that sequence is critical). Thirdly, we are told all of that is for our own safety, not theirs.

    It’s interesting to note that the policewoman (dubbed “hero” by the corrupt MSM) stopped that Bondi Junction psychotic by shooting him – she didn’t bother phoning the office for instructions first. Yet this aspect, easily the most critical in the whole horror, is now glossed over by the media; we are simply not allowed to protect ourselves.

    • Paul W says:

      Instead they hit upon the idea that gun control made it better because otherwise he would have had a gun – a suggestion wholly without merit and which strangely has not stopped any other shooting.

  • Ken McNamara says:


    So much illogic….

    Domestic firearms (shotguns etc.) wielded by disgruntled citizens will never be a match for military rifles (and tanks and mortars …) wielded by trained soldiers. Scratch one furphy for firearms.

    As for self-defence, that’s an even stupider reason. It just exposes bystanders to stray bullets from both the “bad guys” and the “good guys”.
    If it’s in my own house – well burglary isn’t a capital offence but would be “dirty Harry’s” would make it so.

    As to suicide – the more effort the more chances for rescue. Guns are the tool of choice for impulsive suicides

    • Occidental says:

      Well Ken if ordinary citizens are already proficient in the use of firearms, it is much easier for them to become proficient in military style weaponry, but that is not the point of the reference. It is to underline that the basis of individual liberty as contemplated by founders of the United States is individual capacity. If you disarm your populace, it is because you distrust your fellow citizens and you remove their capacity.
      I see fear in the face of most Australians whenever I come back to visit relatives. I had either the fortune or misfortune to grow up in outback Queensland, where you could rely on people to help you in times of need. I never called the police, but would sometimes ring a friend or acquaintance. But I also carried a .30 cal carbine in the boot of my car. Simply because if the need arose I could defend myself and others.
      I believed Australia was the greatest country on earth, then I moved to the coast. The people there were shorter fatter and frightened, and I thought “my god what sort of a place is this”. As soon as I got the chance I left Australia before all my good memories of it faded.
      I suppose in the end my advice to most Australians is to move to the retirement village as soon as possible. There they can swap stories of their adventures in the Public Service, or the money they made when they sold some house or block of land, and all in relative safety.

    • Botswana O'Hooligan says:

      Just a question Ken, your assertations would also apply to the crims would they not for apart from them not having weaponry training. many times they are under the influence of something mighty powerful? Without going into details, I have found that a shotgun is the most lethal weapon around, especially a “coach gun” for the spread of shot over an average range really does overcome any wavering caused by nervousness. I do agree with you that a revolver is probably more lethal to the person wielding it than to any potential target for I was once issued with a Webley Scott .455 complete with a swivel on the butt for a lanyard, a weapon probably invented around WW1 and it had the potential of inflicting a lethal wound on my carcass had I used the wretched thing.

  • Paul W says:

    I have never understood the logic behind the idea of licensing firearms instead of licensing a person. Any rifle firing a bullet can kill or injure – it matters not one iota what the mechanism or capacity is. You are either a fit and proper person or you are not.
    A firearms license should be a general handling and use license. If you want to own one, you apply, give your reason, and get it.

    • Bosun says:

      You’re right. People with or without the use of guns kill people.

    • lbloveday says:

      In SA at least, people are licenced and firearms registered à la motor vehicles, Also similarly to motor vehicles a person’s licence lists the valid categories of firearms that person can own or use.
      Formal training is required as below:
      You will need to personally visit a Police Station with 100 points of identification to lodge your ‘Application for a Firearms Licence. SAPOL will conduct a background check to verify if you are a fit and proper person to hold a firearms licence. If you are considered a suitable person, Firearms Branch will send you a ‘Training Approval Letter’ advising you of the training you will be required to undertake. The training locations will differ depending on the Category of Licence. For example;
      For Category 1 (Shooting Club) – This category of licence authorises you to possess firearms for the purpose of use as, or by a member of, a shooting club. You will be required to arrange training through your club. The clubs training officer will provide you with the relevant information concerning the clubs specific training program and schedule.
      For Category 2 (Target Shooting), 3 (Hunting), 4 (Paint-ball Shooting) and 5 (Primary Production) – You will also need to undertake training through TAFE SA. Information of venues of courses is supplied with the ‘Training Approval Letter’.

  • favfern says:

    I don’t think that this article is proposing open-slather gun ownership a la the USA, but it is venturing close!
    I have only owned two firearms in my long life — a single shot .22 calibre rifle as a very young man, and a single shot Stirling shotgun when I was in my late Thirties. Because I owned a Weimaraner gundog I got the shotgun so he could retrieve the ducks I shot in the wetlands around Rockhampton. I eventually sold it because my faithful dog got sick and tired of sleeping under a tree while I kept shooting at but missing those damn ducks!
    Therefore, I am probably not the best person to comment on the virtues of gun ownership — but I will tell you this for free — the day that Quadrant starts to promote unrestricted gun ownership (including handguns) as in many parts of the USA — is the day I cancel my Quadrant membership!

    • melb says:

      The USA does not have “open slather” gun ownership. As well as the varying State laws which impose restrictions, Federal law prevents a person from owning guns who —

      (1) Has been convicted in any court of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding 1 year;

      (2) Is a fugitive from justice;

      (3) Is an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance;

      (4) Has been adjudicated as a mental defective or has been committed to a mental institution;

      (5) Is an alien illegally or unlawfully in the United States or an alien admitted to the United States under a nonimmigrant visa;

      (6) Has been discharged from the Armed Forces under dishonorable conditions;

      (7) Having been a citizen of the United States, has renounced his or her citizenship;

      (8) Is subject to a court order that restrains the person from harassing, stalking, or threatening an intimate partner or child of such intimate partner issued after a hearing at which notice was given to the person and at which the person had an opportunity to participate, and includes a finding that the person subject to the order represents a credible threat to the intimate partner or child or the intimate partner OR explicitly prohibits the use, attempted use, or threatened use of force against the partner; or

      (9) Has been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence cannot lawfully receive, possess, ship, or transport a firearm or ammunition,is prohibited from shipping, transporting, possessing, or receiving firearms and ammunition.
      It is interesting to note that the State of New Hampshire with the most permissive laws has a lowest, if not the lowest crime rates. When I last checked a homicide rate lower than Australia’s .
      Your comment, whilst probably well intentioned, is typical of those who refuse to undertake the intellectual challenge of weighing the evidence.
      In Australia we have have had massacres of the innocent. Bondi, the Bourke Street car murders, the deliberate fires are examples. At present we have mushroom poisoning also in the news in a domestic setting. We have had women in particular raped and killed, the Ballarat tragedy the latest example. The 86 killed by a terrorist truck driver in Nice, France shows that the potential for “nutters” to kill the the helpless is not restrained by gun laws.
      We also have had a number of studies which have shown that our 1996 gun laws have been ineffective.
      The fundamental question is whether it is right to deny sane, law abiding, trained people the best method of self defence against an emotional restriction which is demonstrably false.
      The gun banners in Australia have to answer why it was justified to prohibit those innocent murder victims from protecting themselves. I would not want that on my conscience.
      Finally, no one is obliged to own a firearm. The fact that they may though, provides a crime deterrent because the scum do not know who is able to protect themselves.

      • pgang says:

        Yes, another American myth. The USA has a problem with managing people with serious mental illnesses (ie – they don’t manage them). That is the lesson we need to take from them, just as it was the lesson we should’ve taken from Port Arthur. Unfortunately it was too easy for our diminutive PM to introduce popularity-seeking, nanny-state virtue signalling into politics, so we went down that path instead.

      • favfern says:

        Melb, you overlook one big loophole. The federal laws at the moment only apply to licensed gun dealers! If you go to a gun show, or shop online from a “private” individual, your list of checks does not apply. Of course, many of these “private” individuals are really just dealers who never bothered to get a license. Much more profitable if you are able to sell to all and sundry without the inconvenience of a background check!

        • melb says:

          Favfern The list I quoted was taken directly from the website of the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. It is a list of persons who cannot legally receive or possess firearms and/or ammunition. It applies to individuals and a person who is in breach is a criminal liable to be prosecuted.

          • favfern says:

            Melb, only applies to purchases from a licensed gun dealer! Does NOT apply to purchases from a non-licensed gun dealer because the purchaser can buy without necessity for ANY background check If they can buy without any background check, how can anyone know if they are on the prohibited list or not?

  • Daffy says:

    The Florida sheriff who recently said: if someone breaks into your home, you do not have to warn them, you do not have to retreat to a safe room, you do not have to wait for them to draw a gun. You have the right to shoot to kill, and in so doing would do the community of service! My man!!

  • David Isaac says:

    It comes down to a question of short-term safety versus liberty. The majority of Australians has unequivocally demonstrated in the last decades that it cares far more for the former.
    Benjamin Franklin: “ Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety…”
    Australia is a catastrophically diverse and fundamentally fractured bloated remnant of itself. Revolutionary conditions are not far away. There is zero chance of any easing of gun restrictions in the meantime. Gun control may not be necessary to implement tyranny but it’s sure nice to have.

  • ChrisPer says:

    All comments here miss the point for actual licence holders in Western Australia. The practical reality is that there is a narrow set of definitions of lawful shooting that we can own our firearms for, restricted criteria of who can have or use them, and a process to do it all legally.
    The cost in money, time wasted and general fuckery was already out of hand.
    Now the abusers in power are making it much worse for no benefit except to their own political smugness; for a few moments of attention from a pathetic, fawning media.
    As the author has said YEARS of work had gone in through the Law Reform Commission, and this entire current process completely ignores it all.

    • melb says:

      ChrisPer, I suggest that Western Australians should threaten all State politicians that if they vote for this law that they will be placed last preference when the next election comes. This putting their seat in Parliament and the Government in danger.
      Your comment mentions the cost of present laws in time and money wasted. This means that resources that otherwise would be directed towards crime control are wasted. The result is a danger for all Western Australians, not just firearm owners and should provide an incentive for non gun owners to also vote this way.

      • ChrisPer says:

        Yep, ‘sitting member last’ seems to be the most powerful voting strategy but its hard to communicate and hard to deliver in response to fleeting stupidity in the media.
        I am told that the shooters’ march in about 1999- 2000 to the office of Police Minister Michelle Roberts was effective, as were the mining industry rallies against The Lying Slapper’s resource tax (famed for Ditch the Witch) . We had about 5000 marchers, 100 times as many as the more usual Union marches and demos.

        Todays media have the same intellectual weight as a duck.

        Nevertheless I believe that we now have much better tools in technology if we could mobilise a sophisticated persuasion strategy – yet there is no leadership, no systems approach, no credible public debate against the moral panic strategy of Labor and their lame, tame media.

  • S A Benson says:

    If Orlando, Columbine, Sandy Hooks, Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino Las Vegas and Port Arthur have taught us anything, it is that whilst we cannot control or regulate evil, we can disarm it. Australia has not had a mass shooting since Port Arthur after which we entered into a social compact that lives matter more than the right to own a gun. There is a mass shooting, defined as an incident where 4 or more people are killed or wounded, every day in the US. There is a world of difference between what we can do, and what we ought to do.

    • ChrisPer says:

      The mass shooting events have taught us more than that simplistic catchphrase.
      Or they would have, if the resulting gun control were not just another Australian media-driven social mania.

      Firstly, they are copycat crimes. The social imitation model shows that motive was created by media teaching the behaviour pattern and offering millions of dollars worth of publicity in payment for following it.

    • lbloveday says:

      Quote: There is a mass shooting, defined as an incident where 4 or more people are killed or wounded, every day in the US.
      There is NOT. “Every” is a plain unambiguous English word, and while there are more mass shootings per year than days in a year, there is not a mass shooting EVERY day.

    • melb says:

      It is difficult to politely reply to such outlandish and demonstrably false assertions such as Mr. Benson has made here.
      A Wikipedia search of “List of massacres in Australia” will show that there have been a great many incidents where 4 or more people are killed or wounded in Australia. For Mr. Benson to claim otherwise shows either an amazing ignorance or deliberate endeavor to mislead, a tactic often employed by his ilk.
      I point out that Mr. Benson has also willfully ignored the many non gun massacres that have occurred in Australia. He fails to acknowledge also the many innocents (including the aged and women) who have been murdered and raped in their own homes.
      It is people such as he who have condemned vulnerable Australians to be defenceless with the resultant encouragement of criminals to prey on us in our homes. This whilst he pursues a society control agenda. I would not want that on my conscience.
      He fails to answer my comment above how the US State of New Hampshire with about the most permissive gun laws has a murder rate lower than Australia’s.

  • lbloveday says:

    What would have happened to this elderly couple if the man did not have a firearm?
    Police in Perth have decided not to charge a 77-year-old man who shot an intruder during an alleged burglary at his home in Herne Hill.

    Police say two intruders forced their way into the home of Eugene Valenti and his bed-ridden wife last Wednesday night.

    They say Mr Valenti armed himself with a shotgun, locked himself and his wife in a bedroom and warned the men he was armed.

    The men forced their way in and, in the ensuing struggle, a shot was fired, wounding one of them.

    Police believe Mr Valenti used reasonable force defending himself and his invalid wife and say his version of events is supported by forensic evidence gathered at the scene.

    Inspector Bill Munnee says Mr Valenti discharged the shot during a struggle with the offenders.

    “So it wasn’t like Mr Valenti was waiting to do a pop shot as they were running away or before they even came in,” he said.

    “He gave them plenty of warning before they entered his bedroom that he had a firearm, please don’t come in.

    “When he was telling me the story it was like a scene out of a horror movie, it was your worst nightmare.

    “He had a bed-ridden wife and he had nothing else to defend himself with and there was violent force used to enter his property and his door was kicked open.

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