Wednesday, August 11, 2004


"Gun owners have been paid almost $94 million in compensation by federal and state governments for surrendering 68,727 handguns and 328,891 firearm parts and accessories in the national buyback scheme. Final figures for the buyback obtained by The Sunday Age reveal Victorians handed in 18,626 handguns - more than any other state. Victorians also surrendered 45,229 gun parts and accessories and were paid a total of $23.18 million. In NSW, 17,735 guns were collected, while 15,777 guns were given up in Queensland.

The buyback and tougher rules for obtaining and keeping handguns came after two students were killed by a licensed gun owner at Monash University in October 2002.

Federal Justice Minister Chris Ellison said the buyback exceeded expectations. "This really does put to rest the critics of this plan, who said it was just a sham," he said. Senator Ellison said he believed the Government had struck the right balance between not penalising genuine sporting shooters while removing from the community the types of guns favoured by criminals. "Criminals like concealable handguns and that's what we targeted in this handgun buyback," he said.

But sporting shooters and the anti-gun lobby said the buyback failed to tackle the problem of criminals with guns and did not substantially reduce gun numbers, because shooters used the cash they received for illegal guns to buy legal ones or to upgrade. The Victorian president of the Sporting Shooters Association, Bob Cooper, said all the guns handed in came from law-abiding sporting shooters. "The actual success of the buyback can't be measured by the number of firearms handed in," he said."

More here


Email from a Melbourne correspondent

"The vast majority of firearms surendered at the 1996 and 2002/03 "Buy-backs" were legally owned by licenced persons, and mostly used for hunting and target shooting on police approved ranges.

As for the benefit of such activity as a method of controlling crime, in the first twelve months following the 1996 buyback, murders involving the use of a firearm increased 200% in Victoria. Such projects are described by criminologists as "crime control by photo opportunity"

I was a "victim" of both buy-backs, losing about a dozen legally owned firearms over those two periods. I also lost the legal authority to participate in a sport that I had legally and harmlessly enjoyed for over twenty years. I have never been charged (or convicted) of any criminal activity, I am a former soldier, who for the past dozen or so years has been employed by the Victorian Department of Justice. My guns were never "on the streets", they never harmed another person, they were at the range, a mate's farm, or safely and securely locked in a police approved cabinet, with amunition stored separately. My guns and I (like thousands of other law-abiding Australians)were the target of these buy-backs.

Gun buy-backs have nothing to do with "crime control"."

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