The Australian anti-gun narrative takes yet another body shot.
Justice Minister Michael Keenan announced yesterday that a joint operation between Victoria Police and the Australian Federal Police claims to have seized more than 300 firearms and firearm parts, including 11 automatic long arms, in Melbourne and Sydney.
This comes just hours after Keenan put the Liberal Party and their banking mates in serious jeopardy by not showing up to vote on a banking royal commission motion. I’m sure legions of Chinese shell companies, er real estate developers, had minor heart attacks at the prospect of having to explain to said commission about their imaginary equity and made up loans.
Not available for comment surprisingly, were David Shoebridge, Samantha Lee or Philip Alpers. Because why would you when you’ve made a living claiming “legal firearms are supplying the black market” only to have it continually blow up in your face? In the case of Alpers it’s even more of a farce, considering just two months ago he appeared on Jane Marwick’s Drive program on ABC Radio Perth claiming that “illegal importation of firearms is an urban myth”.
Alpers academic qualifications are the only urban myth around these parts.
Are we really surprised? No, we are not. Particularly after footage was recently released of an Armaguard robbery in Sydney with illegally acquired SKK’s.
However, most interesting was this statement from Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner Steve Fontana. You know, the guy that claimed a Cat B bolt action rifle was a machine gun?
The article states:
Many of the firearms came from a registered gun seller, Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner Steve Fontana told reporters on Friday.
“This gun dealer had a large number of guns but also we seized a number of weapons that we’re alleging were illegal,” he said. During the operation, which involved the AFP’s national anti-gang squad and Victoria and NSW police, investigators realised a consignment of 11 assault rifles had also been trafficked into Australia. Only four have been recovered to date, Mr Fontana said.
“These (11) weapons are not used for duck hunting or pig shooting – these are assault rifles for killing people,” he said.” They’ve been used in armed robberies, they’ve been used in drive-by shootings and a whole other range of offences.”
First of all, what does this statement from Fontana even mean? Yes, of course the gun dealer had a large number of guns, that’s kind of why they are dealers. It’s also not clear from his statement whether the automatic firearms in question were imported by the dealer or if the dealer was merely suspected and his firearms seized.
Could the gun dealer have been crooked? Sure there’s that possibility, but even if this is the case one bad egg is not representative of everyone and certainly no reason to come down on everyone else in the usual collective punishment style we’ve been dealt for 20 years. And besides, you don’t have to have a dealer’s licence to even attempt something like this for reasons discussed below.
And what does Fontana mean by “already used in armed robberies and drive by shootings”? He means to say they’ve been aware they’ve had them all this time and they’ve only picked them up now? Sure, Police resources are scant and underfunded and firearms are hard to trace but when you consider it’s taken the AFP and two state Police forces this amount of time, money and resources to track down 11 firearms and only recover 4, it’s not a very positive message being sent to the public. The fact that they made it onshore is the concerning part. This is similar to the Sylvania Waters case where 220 Glocks were imported and only 4 ever recovered.
The point I’m making is not to throw the Police under the bus at all – it’s to point out how easy it is to import illegal firearms into Australia and just how much manpower, time and energy it takes to enforce gun control and regulate objects. The AFP even admitted at the Senate Inquiry last year that they only “know about what they intercept”. And what they don’t intercept is the overwhelming majority when you look at the numbers.
This comes off the back of Michael Keenan’s recent announcement that more money will be allocated to fighting firearm trafficking online. Of course it’s a step in the right direction and not a case to say do nothing, but to be frank they are whistling past the graveyard.
Australia has 24,000km of mostly unprotected coast line with a small navy and no coast guard. Put simply – it’s a smuggler’s paradise
Furthermore, as revealed by the Sydney Morning Herald, on average more than 2.6 million shipping containers enter Australia every year. Of those, roughly 130,000 are checked for contraband. Only around 14,000 are physically inspected. So that’s 2.47 million that are not checked for drugs/guns/anything else that falls under the ban hammer (in Australia that means anything fun). Add to that, virtually no security at any of our ports.
And then there’s the low scanning rates of air freight (or not at all by some private firms) and the corruption in Customs and the baggage handlers.
This latest seizure has just re-affirmed two things:
1) Banning only leads to a lucrative black market – the market always wins
2) Firearms Registration and the recently created National Firearm Interface are two completely and utterly epic wastes of police time, money, resources and energy that do nothing to stop, prevent or keep track of illegal firearms or prevent crime.
Further, what we’re not seeing though is the other side of the bargain. Keenan has made a move on illegal firearms, and plans to introduce more legislation that criminals will ignore next week, but is doing nothing to deregulate those who do not need regulating – LAFO’s. Because just maybe if they did that then there would be actual money and resources to put into a concerted effort against illegal firearms?
And until that happens, I’ll take this with a large grain of cynicism and salt.