As is often the case when evil acts are committed with firearms, the discussion often turns to gun control. The fact is fully automatic machine guns had already been banned long before the laws John Howard introduced following the Port Arthur massacre. The most important question we all want answered is how to stop criminal use of illegal firearms. We don’t need token gestures. We need real solutions.
Horrific incidents like this remind us of the reality of the sometimes-lethal threats that police face when protecting our families. My deepest condolences go out to the family and colleagues of Senior Constable Forte, and I cannot thank enough the hard-working members of the police force for risking their lives to protect my family.
In addition to being a dedicated husband and father, business owner, active within my church community and in politics, I am a law abiding licensed gun owner. I have decades of safe firearms training and skills.
So why is Australia’s famous gun control obviously failing?
1. Law Makers Fail to Differentiate Between Criminals & Law Abiding Firearms Owners
It might come as a surprise to some, but there are over 1.9 million firearms licenses in Australia and over 5.5 million legally owned firearms . This a considerable number given our population is just tipping 24 million. Contrary to popular misconception, Australia has a thriving and long standing safe, legal “gun culture”.
As we have been reminded this week, Australia also has violent criminals who often use guns (almost exclusively unregistered, illegal guns) to commit crime. The national debate surrounding guns and gun control almost always simplistically conflates these two groups of people. But is it reasonable to do so?
Rick Maddison (a known criminal – i.e. rigorously excluded from legally owning firearms) was able to access a fully-automatic machine gun despite Australia having some of the strictest gun control in the world. Both the police and media confirmed that Rick Maddison used a fully automatic machine gun to commit this heinous crime . Footage gathered by a local resident clearly contains the sound of a fully automatic machine gun being fired.
If our gun control laws are meant to keep these types of firearms out of the hands of criminals, they failed abysmally in this case, with lethal consequences. I can’t help but wonder if police weren’t tied up with policing the millions of sporting and hunting rifles owned by good guys like me, they might have intercepted this highly illegal machine gun before it could be used in such a horrific crime.
2. Current Gun Laws Create A False Sense Of Security
An unintended consequence of legislation that fails to fully take into account all of the evidence, or (as is the case with gun control) legislation that is surrounded by such hysteria that even the mere mention of reviewing its efficacy is met with howls of indignation, is that the community is lulled into a false sense of security.
Whilst legislative and policing efforts have so heavily focused on licensed sports and recreational shooters and farmers, a disturbing trend of illegal firearms being illegally imported via international post has emerged. A recent high-profile case saw the importation of 130 Glock pistols this way, 100 of which appear to still be unaccounted for . There is absolutely no way of knowing how many illegal firearms have been imported through Australia’s somewhat porous borders.
Given the strict prohibitions on fully automatic machine guns, that have been in place since well before the post Port Arthur laws were introduced, illegal importation appears to be a reasonable assumption as to the source of the fully automatic machine gun used to by Rick Maddison.
Could this be an example of how the misplaced legislative and enforcement efforts in one area has taken critical focus off another area, with lethal consequences?
3. There Is No Consistent Correlation Between Legal Guns & Gun Crimes
I often hear people argue that “more guns equals more crime”. This a simplistic argument that makes no distinction between legal and illegal gun proliferation. Australia has more legally owned guns now than before the post Port Arthur buyback . This argument is often backed up with the equally simplistic “we don’t want to be like America” claim.
Australia is not like, nor has it ever been like America when it comes to firearms. Even when Australia had very few gun control laws we never saw the level of gun violence that plagues some parts of the United States.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that the world contains only two nations (Australia and the United States) if you listened to the gun control debate in Australia. That being said, the verifiable data from the US paints a much more complex picture which actually suggests that the lion’s share of homicides occur in just a handful of jurisdictions.
In fact, over half of all homicides in the US occur in just 2% of the counties, with over a half of US counties having ZERO murders . Ironically, the 2% of counties that represent over half of all US homicides are the most strictly gun controlled jurisdictions, with Australian style gun control laws.
So What Do I Suggest?
A more mature approach would be to look at nations more accurately comparable to Australia. Take our nearest neighbours in New Zealand for example. Our Kiwi neighbours enjoy comparable (if not better) public safety , whilst avoiding the more draconian elements of our gun control laws.
Licensed gun owners in New Zealand can access all manner of semi-automatic rifles, shotguns and handguns, sound moderators and even functioning machine guns, and yet we see none of the supposed violence that should ensue from such laws (according to many in Australia) . Perhaps we should look to New Zealand a little more, and not the mythically homogeneous “America”, when looking at how other nations balance public safety with personal freedom?
It is interesting to note that despite Australia being touted as having “the world’s best gun control laws” not a single other nation on Earth has copied them. Canada briefly introduced a gun registry broadly modeled off Australia’s, but abandoned it soon after, citing its lack of efficacy and massive cost .
When known criminals can access machine guns and kill police officers in the line of duty; whilst the most upstanding and law abiding members of the community are shackled with draconian rules and regulations consuming precious police time and resources; it’s time that we had a more objective, mature debate surrounding gun control and did an honest review of the efficacy of over 20 years of some of the strictest gun control in the world.
Daniel Edmonds, BA
Daniel Edmonds lives in Brisbane with his wife and 3 kids. He is a dedicated Christian and family man and is active in politics. Graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in history and politics, he has gone on to build a successful mortgage brokerage after a 5-year stint in London. He is a leader within the pro-life movement and is on the State Committee of Cherish Life Queensland Inc. A strong advocate for law abiding gun owners and a fitness junkie, Daniel is a perfect antidote to today’s snowflake social justice warriors.
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