Monday, July 02, 2018

Australian Media Frames Gun Law Reform as "Kick in the Face" to Survivors

The Australian media was the major proponent of the extreme firearm restrictions put in place in 1996. Today, as the restrictions have been shown to be largely ineffective, they fight any attempt at reform. The headline in the article published in Ten Daily is "Gun Law Changes 'Kick In The Face' For Port Arthur Survivors" From
Australia's gun laws have long been admired by countries across the world. Following repeated mass shootings in the United States, it was Australia's response to its worst mass shooting, in Port Arthur, that many have pointed to as a best-practise for dealing with gun crime.

Strict gun laws heavily restricted the sale and use of shotguns and other long arms, and many have since called on America to follow Australia's lead. But this public praise has not stopped the Tasmanian government from looking to change these very laws.

The Tasmanian government has come under fire for proposed changes to firearm legislation which would widen access to pump-action shotguns and semi-automatic rifles, reforms which police say could breach the landmark National Firearms Agreement.
The National Firearms Agreement is the tool used by former Prime Minister John Howard to create the extremely strict gun regulation scheme passed in record time during an all-out, emotional push from a unanimous Australian Media.

The agreement gutted Australians traditional right to self defense, creating an interlocking scheme that made it impossible to legally use a firearm for self defense.

It declared that no one had a right to a gun, that guns would only be allowed to be possessed by anyone as a privilege granted by the state.  This was directly in contradiction with an Englishman's right to arms, which existed at the time the Australian Constitution was signed in 1916.  One of the stated purposes of the 1996 law was to declare that there was no right to arms.

It created a national category of prohibited weapons that include slingshots, crossbows, nunchaku (nun-chucks), side handled batons, Tasers, telescopic batons, and more. Essentially, Australians are not allowed to carry any device that may be used for self defense. Permits to possess these prohibited weapons may be issued by the State Commisioner of police, upon his discretion.

Australia is an incredibly law abiding country. There is very little crime, and a very low homicide rate. That is one of the reasons the extreme gun restrictions were able to pass. Few feel any need to defend themselves, and voices speaking of Australian rights to self defense were ignored, drowned out, and denied a platform.

One of the more draconian aspects of the 1996 law is to require the confiscation of firearms and the loss of the firearms license, for the smallest breach of strict firearm storage requirements. The law requires all ammunition be locked up separately from firearms, and that all firearms and ammunition be locked up at all times they are not in actual use.

As abuses of these draconian laws became apparent, some Australian states began to listen to their voters and to reform some of the worst aspects of the law. Here are some of the reforms:

Longer terms for licenses have been enacted

On-line renewal of licensing is possible.

Trained private citizens administer firearms tests for profit instead of wasting police resources that are costly and provide poor service

Reform the storage laws to allow civil fines for minor storage breeches.

Tasmania is considering a number of these reforms, including allowing pump shotguns and semi-automatic rifles for those directly involved in pest control, instead of only for farmers.

The reforms may pass. The Liberal party, which had agreed to the reforms, won the Tasmanian election with a majority. That is unusual given the Tasmanian complicated election set-up.

We will see who controls the Australian state of Tasmania. The Liberal government, or the media.

©2018 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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1 comment:

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