Following the theft of firearms at Barry and Son’s last week, WA Police Commissioner Karl O’Callaghan has used the opportunity to state that WA gun laws “should be tightened” to prevent further theft.
Yes Karl, what better way to make your case for stronger gun laws to prevent criminal theft which weren’t followed in the first place, than to politicise a theft by organized criminals from a highly secured centralised storage facility that was complying with already stringent storage laws, in the state with the strictest firearm laws in the country and when 24 hour Cannington Police Station was literally 4 minutes down the road?
The count from this firearms theft keeps getting larger and larger according to the esteemed members of the Australian journalism fraternity. First it was 60, then it was 100 and now it’s up to 130. Odds on 200 by the end of next week?
According to Channel Nine’s own report, Barry and Son’s were fully compliant with the law. So, what more could have reasonably been done to prevent a theft of this nature? Absolutely nothing, which makes O’Callaghan’s statement absurd, illogical and purely political opportunism.
But what about our “world class” gun laws? Saying they need to be changed is again an admission of failure. Western Australia has the most onerous and restrictive firearms laws in the country by a long way, which makes all this posturing a massive own goal.
Further, if you’ve ever had the displeasure of dealing with the bureaucrats at the WA Firearms branch, the processing times are currently the slowest in the country, not to mention the waiting period on firearm delivery. Hence, it’s their own laws, policies, systems and general incompetence that allow a theft of this magnitude to transpire and for places like Barry’s to become target rich environments with the high levels of stock they are forced to keep on hand.
Perhaps Karl might want to do his job instead of victim blaming Barry and Son’s who complied with the law and look into the performance of his own WA Police, who at this stage according to media reports, have no idea who did this and no credible leads? Could there even be an inside job and Police corruption in this case? Who knows, that’s just speculation and the facts around this case are still vague.
O’Callaghan’s statement also appears to be part of another media and political blitz towards firearms that we saw last year, in order to sell support for the running joke of the new National Firearms Agreement. It is also an attempt to attack the findings of the WA Firearms Review which was in favour of deregulation of firearms, particularly public land hunting and Airsoft.
Ironically, one of the recommendations put forward by WA Police in that same review was that people who own 10 or more firearms should have a mandatory alarm system fitted to their property. The theft at Barry and Son’s well and truly answers that question, even more so given the Police response time.
Way to undercut your own argument.
O’Callaghan’s statement is also a symptom of a much larger problem in the bureaucratic fraternity – the politicisation of Police Commissioners. We don’t get to vote for them, so why should they act as if they are elected? What happened to merit and appointing someone who worked their way up? Why shouldn’t Police members get to choose who leads their service?
Political appointments often do not end well particularly for firearm owners – whether it be Queensland Police Commissioner Ian Stewart’s involvement in taking away Category H licences for farmers, NSWPOL’s Andrew Scipione and his handling of the Lindt Café siege or Victoria Police’s Graham Ashton ongoing crime fiasco in Victoria. And let’s not forget the worst political appointment of all time, Christine Nixon.
The exact same can be said of members of the Australian judiciary although given the current standard, we’d be holding monthly recall elections if that were an option.
Further, a point that is not often made is that being anti-firearm in the Australian Public Service is also used by those in charge as an incentive to further careers. Coming out in support of disarmament of the populace, while enjoying the benefits of taxpayer funded armed security and not having to face any consequences for your decisions which affect ordinary Australians, has been used as a financial and social weapon and as a way to continue the agenda of gun control within Australia – be it the Police, Attorney General’s department or in the party room.
The recent appointment of former Victoria Police Commissioner Ken Lay to the board of the Alannah and Madeline Foundation, further illustrates this point. You scratch our back, we’ll load you up with tax free money and speaking tours until your sense of self-importance is stroked beyond measure.
Just imagine if an Australian Police Commissioner came out as pro-gun as Sheriff David Clarke. AMF, GCA, the Greens and John Howard would be fighting each other over media opportunities to denounce them and try to destroy their career.
In the meantime Karl, focus on catching the perpetrators of this crime and spare us the victim blaming.