Michael Keenan announced today that there will be a three month national firearms amnesty where unregistered firearms could be handed in “no questions asked.”
This is also in addition to the bomb amnesty that NSW Police announced just a few weeks ago. Yes, that’s a real thing. Next week, ICE, tobacco and nuclear weapon amnesties are set to be announced. We’re kidding, but we won’t speak too soon either.
Although announced late last year, this follows on from a string of embarrassments for gun control in Australia in the past couple of weeks, where Rick Maddison acquired an apparent full auto firearm and Yacqub Khayre did similar in Victoria with an illegal shotgun. Both used them to commit murder and shoot at Police before being killed. Throw in the debacle of the Lindt Café findings and there’s really no place to hide for the NFA these past few weeks.
What Keenan also failed to mention, that this is no different to the already permanent amnesties in many states that exist already.
Criminals didn’t hand their firearms in back in 1996. They certainly won’t be handing them back in 2017.
So, why the amnesty? Aside from being lazy governance, it does have the benefit of collection of firearms from deceased estates. However, the tragedy of that is Police certainly destroying many great heirlooms and antiques from yesteryear that many shooters would love to have.
“260,000 illegal firearms”
Again, the figure of “260,000” illegal firearms came up. Where is this continual figure of “260,000 illegal firearms” even coming from? Where’s the maths, evidence and the rest? Well, it’s literally pulled out of thin air by none other than pseudoscientist extraordinaire Philip Alpers. Labor MP Clare O’Neill once claimed it was 600,000 and both place it largely on firearms never surrendered in 1996.
The reality is, no one knows how many illegal firearms are out there and all this does is further strengthen the case for the removal of the firearms registries and their absolutely pointless existence. Keenan kept re-iterating the importance of firearm registration during his press conference, while not mentioning once that New Zealand, Canada and a slew of EU countries abandoned their registries.
This also begs the question: why should firearms never handed back in 1996 be considered “illegal” when the owners of said firearms never committed a crime in the first place, and were purely found to be criminals overnight because the government said so?
Well, perhaps ask Australia’s biggest welfare queen John Howard, who Channel Nine for some reason decided to pull out of irrelevance to grab some soundbites. We won’t devote anymore time to that clown.
In a refreshing display of civility from the mainstream media and in stark contrast to their previous effort with Howard, Shooters, Fisher and Farmers Party MP Jeff Bourman gave a great interview on Channel Nine with Brett MacLeod and correctly pointed out the futility of the amnesty, and that the 1996 “buyback” was purely compensated confiscation by Howard. Liberal Democrats Senator David Leyonhjelm also chimed in with this piece.
Well, a buyback is in no way justifiable considering Australia is now $500 billion in debt and the simple fact that no law abiding firearm owner, nor criminal, will be handing their guns in. Too bad, so sad.
Keenan said he will also spend $88 million on ABF and AFP to combat sea and air freight smuggling. The reality is that this money, while a welcomed step in the right direction, isn’t really that much in the grand scheme of things and will do very little to curtail already well established illegal importation. If you can’t stop illegal drugs entering the country, you definitely can’t stop illegal firearms either – the two are correlated in many ways.
To add to that, Australian Border Force is currently one of the lowest paid departments in Australia while doing some of the most important work in the country, and have been locked in a pay dispute for the past 3 years. Several rolling strikes have seen the matter now heading to the Fair Work Commission. Will any of this money actually go to Border Force staff or will we see further unmanned ports and greater opportunities for smuggling?
Furthermore, Border Force and the AFP have many resources tied up trying to stop the illegal drug and tobacco trade – problems the federal government have themselves created through prohibition and obscenely high taxes on tobacco. Essentially, a dog chasing it’s own tail.
Keenan’s amnesty is nothing more than virtue signalling by a very mediocre Justice Minister. He and the government need to be seen to be doing something, when he won’t admit that our borders are wide open and his portfolio is responsible. Keenan is the complete opposite of his New Zealand counterpart Paula Bennett who just delivered a big win for NZ firearm owners this past week.
He and other Police Ministers refused to listen to firearm owners during the Adler and NFA debacle and then even had the nerve to tell the Combined Firearms Council of Victoria that “shooters were the problem.” I think projection is a more apt analysis. We await to see how many people actually hand firearms in.
But maybe, just maybe, someone will hand those stolen M72LAW’s in. Anytime now….
*If you have an unregistered firearm – DO NOT TAKE IT TO THE POLICE. TAKE YOUR GUN TO A LICENCED DEALER or contact Firearm Owners United and we will assist you. There are a plethora of firearm owners, collectors and new shooters that would love to take them off you.
Keep our heritage. Keep our tradition. Keep our firearms.