Waiting for Gun Control Australia to step in and explain this one. From The Age:
“Victoria’s riot police are to be armed with crowd control guns and rubber pellet grenades to confront violent demonstrations, running street battles and prison uprisings in a move Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton says ‘‘will be confronting to watch’’.
Initially 100 members of the Operational Response Unit will be trained to use the weapons that includes a pepper ball gun that fires a variety of rounds, including one that releases capsicum dust on impact. Eventually more than 300 police will be qualified to use the equipment.
The weapons, seen by The Age, include:
- A 175 shot pepper ball semi-automatic rifle that fires capsicum rounds, blunt force pellets the size of marbles or dye markers to brand offenders so they can be identified and arrested later.
- A 40-millimetre launcher that fires a hard squash ball like projectile that can hit an offender to a range of 50 metres and lands with the impact of a ‘‘very hard punch’’.
- Stinger grenades that can be rolled into a crowd, explode with light and smoke while releasing nine 32-calibre rubber pellets to waist height with a range of five metres.
- Flash/noise distraction devices designed to shock and disperse violent crowds.
- Capsicum canister – a crowd control weapon of last resort that detonates to release a cloud of capsicum in events such as a prison riot.
Chief Commissioner Ashton told The Age, the weapons were designed for: ‘‘Major incidents of public disorder, demonstrations that go over the top and where we need to disperse large crowds that are out of control. We need the community to be with us on this.’’
He warned that while there was a need for the equipment, ‘‘It is an ugly look to see police in riot gear in a suburban street. We now have some equipment that has not been seen before that may alarm people.
Police believe the equipment lowers the risk of serious injuries to police, rioters and members of the public as it should decrease hand-to-hand physical contact, baton strikes and reduce the risk of police being struck by projectiles.”
Apart from being the usual PR drivel from John Silvester and Victoria Police, Victoria Police has just made the argument for pepper spray, tasers and other non-lethal self-defence items for anyone.
If it “lowers the risk of serious injuries to Police and members of the public” then what’s wrong with allowing law-abiding members of the public similar or other non-lethal self-defence items?
Then there’s this:
All we can say is: appearance law, anybody? I thought something that looked like a “military style”, semi-automatic made it more deadly?
Sure, it’s not uncommon at all for paintball markers to bear that appearance and jesting aside, the hypocrisy of this argument from Australia’s Police continues unabated. We don’t need semi-autos but they need semi-auto centrefire rifles and now, semi-auto non-lethal rifles.
Oh and the public can’t have a Riverman OAF bolt action rifle because it looks like a “military style” semi-auto:
Sure, given crime in Victoria and the type of mass riot/gang attacks we’ve seen over the past few years there’s an argument for Police to have these tools for the job, we’re not disputing that. However, there is a far greater argument: what about the public and what are they going to do to protect themselves in the 20 minutes minimum it takes you to get there, when these kinds of situations develop?
The public that cannot even protect themselves with so much as a handheld pepper spray let alone a paintball marker version of the same because we’re apparently not trustworthy. Some of the comments under the article from the public are also interesting reading.
This isn’t very good PR for Victoria Police and comes across as more pointless authoritarian intimidation than anything else. It’s essentially meaningless if the public can’t protect themselves and further meaningless if the courts are going to continue to let violent offenders out on bail or corrections orders.
Coupled with watchlists, bollards, terror sirens and warrantless firearm prohibition orders, Victoria under a Labor government seems to be creeping towards a Police state.
For everyone bar the criminals, that is.