The private details of Australians on Medicare are in jeopardy after revelations that the national database has been hacked and details are being sold on the dark web, in one of the largest identity theft scandals in recent history.
Yet to comment on this is AMA President Michael Gannon who has previously called for a national firearm registry. To be fair, Gannon is probably busy coming up with an explanation for the recent revelations as to why people in Queensland are dying due to medical malpractice.
This is the latest in a string of IT failures from the Australian Government, as if the NBN, Census, DIBP leaks and the rest weren’t enough already. It’s not really surprising when you have an Attorney-General wanting encryption laws but opposed an FOI request to see his diary and can’t explain what metadata is.
This begs the question: how safe are the firearm registries? Well the answer to that is very simple: they aren’t. If the government is unable to protect the sensitive medical records of the Australian public how can they then be trusted to keep the data of over a million firearm owners safe? According to past accounts about NSWFAR, they can’t be trusted at all.
It’s already happened in Tasmania. The Department of Energy, Land, Water and Planning in Victoria released the details of over 8000 firearm owners via email last year. No one was sacked for their part in the fiasco and were instead offered “counselling”. And there was also the case of NSW Firearm Licences being sent to the wrong addresses earlier this year. To add to that, Victoria LRD, which costs nearly $10 million a year to run, is currently under investigation for handing out security licences to people that should not have them.
So why persist? What benefit does a firearm registry actually have to the community? Well, none. But they make people “feel” safe and feelings are apparently more important than facts in this day and age. They do not prevent firearm crime from happening and contrary to some people’s grandiose ideas of the realities of ballistic matching, do very little to solve it.
They also do not prevent firearm theft and, in fact, enable it by creating a centralised database shopping list for those with nefarious intentions. It’s even worse in Western Australia where the registry must see photos of your firearm safe before approval. So don’t only tell criminals you have guns, show them exactly where they are in the house too. At best, the registry might be able to recover your firearms. That’s a big if. Case in point – the massive theft at Barry’s Firearms where Western Australia Police still have no idea who did it and where they are.
Furthermore, do you really want your firearms back if a criminal has tampered with them (with the serial number more than likely defaced) or used them in a crime?
In the age of increasing gun sales and increasing numbers of new gun owners the registries are also increasingly redundant. More firearms are being bought by Australians than ever and the sheer volume of firearms makes it a pointless endeavour in the regulation of objects. Time and time again, we hear the stories of firearm owners who have inaccurate records maintained by the relevant registry of firearms they either didn’t have, disposed of long ago or were registered to someone else entirely.
New Zealand got rid of their registry long ago. Canada abolished theirs in 2012 because it was a waste of time and money for no benefit (both still register hand guns, which is still pointless). The sky has not fallen in either of those two countries.
It’s time Australia ditched firearm registration for good. There is no compelling case for it. It’s a completely pointless exercise in wasteful regulation, feelings’ appeasement and lazy authoritarianism. It’s also ridiculous in this age of heightened security threats.
Above all, in the age of wide open borders and flourishing illegal firearms, it does absolutely nothing for ‘public safety’. Ask the Lindt Café survivors, Curtis Cheng’s family, the family of Brett Forte, the family of the victims’ of Yacqub Khayre and the rest who have been victims to illegal firearms.