Here we go again:
“Police are investigating the hacking of a gun club database that may have exposed where more than 1500 semi-automatic handguns are stored. The private details of 540 members from the Port Melbourne club, including the types of weapons they owned, is believed to have been compromised this month, potentially exposing them to the theft of guns worth at least $5000 each on the black market.
Most members own multiple guns, and store them in their homes. One Melbourne International Shooting Club member who stores nine handguns in his home, including a 9mm Glock and Colt .45 automatic – both highly sought-after weapons in the underworld – urged police to confirm whether he was at risk. “Criminals would see those guns as quite valuable,” he said. “I fear for the safety of my family should this information get into the wrong hands.”
Most members own at least three guns, another member said, estimating that as many as 3000 could be registered in the club database. Police are investigating what was accessed during the breach, and will not comment on how many gun clubs have similar databases, how they are regulated, and whether the existence of such databases undermines the integrity of efforts to crack down on the spread of illegal firearms.
It is unclear how many guns have details stored in similar databases, and police declined to confirm how often these databases were audited for operational reasons. “Inquiries are being made and it would be inappropriate to make further comment,” a police spokeswoman said. She said the Firearms Act regulated the information handgun shooting clubs had to provide police.
But the act appears to make no mention that clubs must have the address of the member stored in a database, only that they inform police of the member’s name, and the firearms they used during competition. Gun thieves have repeatedly been found to have stolen to order and supply the underworld, but police have previously denied that the thieves used information stolen from police or gun club databases.
This is despite numerous examples, particularly on farms and other remote locations, of properties with guns being ransacked while neighbouring properties that do not have registered firearms are left untouched. The breach came to light amid internal ructions at the club following a decision by the Victoria Police licensing and regulation division to close its 25-metre shooting range on November 8 because of safety fears.”
And on it goes. It also appears that Bucci hasn’t bothered to consult the Firearms Act, as to what data is required by clubs to report to Victoria Police with regard to attendances and firearm class. The usual lazy, anti-firearm journalism from Fairfax.
However, FOU have learned that allegedly no firearm information was contained in the emails that were sent out, they were purely about the upcoming committee elections at the club and the email database was being used by a member to distribute their views about said election. Irresponsible, yes. But not apparently as serious as what Fairfax is trying to spin.
We will be following this case as it develops and further information comes to light.
That being said, all this incident does is again show you how dangerous and useless this kind of authoritarian bureaucracy is. It doesn’t take much for those emails and information to fall into the wrong hands and you’ve suddenly got a targeted theft on your hands.
According to the Victorian Crime Statistics Agency, less than 0.10% of all firearms are stolen from licenced owners. It’s almost an insignificant number and when criminals can import over 200 Glocks illegally through the post, theft is the least of your concerns.
Back in 2015, criminals were eavesdropping on Police radios in rural areas when conducting storage inspections. Licensing and Regulation Division, which costs $9 million annually to run, is also currently under investigation for supplying a known organised crime syndicate in the security industry with handguns.Victoria Police couldn’t account for over 200 of their own firearms back in 2010. And the details of thousands of hunters were made public knowledge by the Victorian DELWP back in 2016.
Whether this is part of a bigger push to close down the Melbourne International Shooting Club is unclear. Given it is a prime piece of Melbourne inner city real estate it would not be surprising from the Andrews’ government, however, this range is used by Victoria Police, the Australian Federal Police and Australian Border Force for their firearm qualification shoots and training so this is unlikely.
There’s also been a wider push to close down LRD and move it to the almost completely anti-firearm Department of Justice, but they seem to have their hands full with Victoria’s ridiculous crime wave.
As we’ve stated before, firearm registration is useless, puts firearm owners at risk and serves no purpose other a shopping list for criminals. It’s time to do as Canada, New Zealand and a slew of other countries have already done and ditch it for good.