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The Folly of Gun Registration – Part 2

The “folly of gun registration” articles are reprinted here with the kind permission of the author, Derek Bernard, firearms researcher, shooter and businessman based on the Island of Jersey. The opening article is actually the sixth in the series and is the most relevant to Australia.This article originally appeared in Gun Trade World Magazine

Experiences of Gun Registries from Around the World

Click here to read The Folly of Gun Registration – Part 1

VICTORIA

“I would therefore recommend that firearms registration be forthwith abolished… “The above quote is an extract from Alex Newgreen’s report of February 26th, 1987. He was the chief inspector and registrar of firearms for the state of Victoria, in Australia.

In 1984 a new act came into force that required all firearms to be registered. Chief Inspector Newgreen was appointed registrar of firearms and charged with introducing the new system and reporting on it after three years has passed. He did so – and his report of February 26th, 1987 was damning. Clause 25 included: “Experience in New Zealand and South Australia, and now indeed in the state of Victoria, indicates that firearm registration… is costly, ineffective and achieves little.”

Clause 28 was the bombshell: “I would therefore recommend that firearms registration be forthwith abolished…” He went on to state that, in his opinion, firearm education “would be less costly and achieve far more…”

This sort of thing was not at all what the government of Victoria wanted to hear – so it didn’t hear it and the report was suppressed. Fortunately for the rule of reason, rumours of the existence of the report began to circulate and a ‘freedom of information request brought it to light.

Sadly, however, in a perfect example of the well-known government principle of “don’t confuse me with the facts, I’ve made up my mind,” the government of Victoria did not abolish the system and, indeed, retains it to the present day. But cost, waste of resources and inconvenience to the law abiding has never had any significance to the disciples of gun control.

Indeed, in more than 30 years of research in this field, the author cannot recollect ever having read a government report on gun control that contained any attempt to quantify the costs and inconvenience to the citizen.

SOUTH AUSTRALIA

South Australia introduced firearm registration in1980 without, so far as is known, any analysis of the likely costs and benefits. In 1985 the government launched a task force to carry out a major review of government controls to check the justification and cost-effectiveness. At the request of the Chamber of Commerce & Industry the taskforce included a review of the firearms act and, specifically firearms registration.

“Registration of firearms does not… reduce the use of firearms for antisocial or illegal behaviour.” “The registration system is grossly inaccurate.” “The registration system is costly to both the state and traders.” “… inaccuracy… and cost indicate that the objective cannot be achieved. “The task force recommends complete review of the firearms act, clearly identifying objectives and examining the feasibility of achieving these objectives.

To date those recommendations have not been carried out.

THE ISLAND OF JERSEY

In 1920, Jersey, the author’s home jurisdiction, substantially copied the UK firearm act of the same year, including the procedure of registering all rifles and pistols, without either jurisdiction carrying out any meaningful research of any sort into the likely costs and effects of the procedure. We then rolled the clock forward 75 years to 1995 and a Jersey government proposal to expand the system to include shotguns, once more simply intending to copy the UK, whose registration scheme included shotguns in 1988.

With the help of an unusually clear-sighted lawyer and ex-attorney general, Senator Vernon Tomes, the proposals were easily defeated. But, a few years later, after Vernon’s death, and riding on the emotion generated by the appalling multiple infant murders at Dunblane in Scotland in 1996, a new Jersey law was passed in 1999 and the registration system was expanded to include shotguns.

At no stage were those in favour of expanding the system able to identify even a single case between 1920 and 1999 in which the data collected was useful in solving a crime or catching a criminal. The main argument seemed to be that perhaps one day it might prove useful. No attempt had ever been made to carry out a cost/benefit analysis, despite this being a Jersey government policy requirement. The concept of gun registration spread around the world during the 20th century. So far as is known, no serious prior assessment of the likely costs and benefits in any jurisdiction has ever been published. Fortunately, here and there attempts have been made subsequently to study the procedure for cost-effectiveness

NEW ZEALAND

The New Zealand 1920 Arms Act substantially copied the UK’s firearm act of the same year and introduced gun-owner certification and firearm registration, also without any meaningful research whatsoever into the costs and effects. As with the UK, the government of the day did not trust its own men, who were returning from the battlefields of the First World War, where they had been fighting – and dying in large numbers – for their country. The fear of revolution, perhaps something similar to the Russian Revolution of 1917, rather than fear of crime, was the driving force.

When reviewing the history of New Zealand gun control in1983, the official New Zealand police Project Foresight report of 1983 stated: “The First World War had ended with many returned servicemen bringing pistols and automatic firearms into the country. They were freely available from stores. Revolution had occurred in Russia and there was a fear that large-scale industrial demonstrations or even riots could occur here.”

But the New Zealand government found it difficult to be honest and publicly state that it didn’t trust its own citizens, so “crime control” was given as the reason for the law. By 1928 the administration of the new law was proving very burdensome to the police and it was proposed that the registration of rifles and shotguns be abandoned. There is no published evidence of any cost/benefit analysis having been carried out; it was just too much work. The proposal was lost, but the problem of too much paper work remained and in 1930 a compromise was reached and the registration of shotguns abandoned.

In 1967 the police themselves started a process of questioning the effectiveness of the registration system. Evidence of benefit proved very difficult to find. The end result was the Arms Act 1 983, which abandoned all long-gun registration and introduced lifetime shooter licences. Thus, once a shooter had been issued with a licence, he would be free to buy and sell long-guns from and to other licensed individuals and shops without any further reference to the police unless and until he committed an offence that required his licence to be withdrawn.

This resulted in a dramatic reduction in paper work for both the police and licensed shooters. On November 28th, 1985, the then New Zealand minister of police, Ann Hercus, responded very positively to the author’s inquiries in to the effects of the law. These are some highlights from her letter…

“The administration of the new system… has seen a dramatic reduction in visits and…administration time.”

“. . . there has been no discernible effect on the criminal use of firearms since the-reintroduction of the new system.”

For some, the concept of the police not having records of every gun is worrying and the question of reintroducing the long-arm registry has been re-examined a number of times since 1983–always with the same result: it cannot be justified.

NEW YORK STATE AND NEW YORK CITY

In 1911 New York City introduced the Sullivan Act, named after a particularly corrupt politician. The Act gave the police discretion on issuing or refusing pistol licences. If issued, registration was required. Those discretionary powers have been and still are – regardless of recent decisions of the Supreme Court – consistently used to routinely deny licences to all except retired police officers and wealthy, influential individuals.

In 1967 and 1968 economist Dr Alan Krug carried out an exhaustive review of the effectiveness of the law and its registration procedures (Does Firearms registration work? 1968). In particular he compared the situation in New York City – where the police had the powers of the Sullivan Act and routinely used them – with the situation in the rest of New York State, where the Sullivan Act did not apply.

At the time New York City had about 44 per cent of the population of New York State. The results were salutary in 1966, after 55 years of the Sullivan Act. Crime rates were massively higher in the city than in the rest of the state – 74 per cent of the murders and 90 per cent of the robberies in the whole state took place in the city.

Not a single crime was committed with a lawfully owned pistol, or, to put it another way, every single pistol crime involved an illegal pistol that was not in the system. Not a single crime was solved, or criminal convicted through the registration system. The President’s Commission on Crime reported that: “Any contention that the Sullivan Law has been effective as a crime-control measure rests on speculation. The entire weight of available evidence rests on the opposite premise, ie that the law has not been effective.”

Sadly for both New Yorkers’ safety and wallets, the present mayor, Michael Bloomberg, continues to believe in any gun control measure, including registration, regardless of costs, or whether it generates social benefits in excess of disadvantages. The president’s Commission on Crime reported that: “Any contention that the Sullivan Law has been effective as a crime-control measure rests on speculation. The entire weight of available evidence rests on the opposite premise, ie that the law has not been effective.”

Sadly for both New Yorkers’ safety and wallets, the present mayor, Michael Bloomberg, continues to believe in any gun-control procedure, including registration, regardless of costs, or whether it generates social benefits in excess of disadvantages.

USA AS A WHOLE

The US does not have, and never has had, a nationwide registration system for all civilian firearms. But all gun dealers have to record the details of all buyers, retain the records permanently and make the information available to the police. In addition to the dealer records throughout the US, during the period analysed, 1958 to 1967, four states – Hawaii, Massachusetts, Mississippi and New York – also required the police to register all pistols to their owners. The cost of these procedures is not known, but it will have been very substantial.

Proposals for a nation-wide system that would apply to all individual owners have been made many times. To try to assess the likely benefits and costs of such a large system, Dr Krug carried out an extensive investigation, covering 1958 to 1967, into the benefits generated by the existing registration systems (Firearms Registration – costs vs benefits, 1970). The investigation sought to identify the number of murders, aggravated assaults and robberies that had been solved through firearm registration records over the ten year period 1958 to 1967.

The total of such serious crimes committed during that time was more than three million.

Responses were obtained from 44 state police forces. Forty were unable to identify a single case that had been so solved. A total of eight cases were identified by the remaining four states; thus, on average, the solution of approximately one serious crime out of every 375,000-plus such crimes was aided by the registration system, or rather less than one per year across all 40 states.

CONCLUSION

Solving any serious crime is a valuable social result. The more that can be solved, the better. But, if cost is ignored, then resources are likely to be misallocated and the numbers solved will be fewer, possibly a great deal fewer, than if the resources had been applied with optimum efficiency. The consistently poor results found by every known investigation into the efficacy of firearm registration systems indicate strongly that firearm registration is not an efficient or sensible way of allocating resources.

This article originally appeared in Gun Trade World Magazine

Canada to pass Common Sense Firearms Licencing Act

This article appeared on www.energeticcity.ca website on the 3rd of June 2015. https://energeticcity.ca/article/news/2015/06/02/zimmer-supports-passing-of-common-sense-firearms-licensing-act-in-house

Zimmer supports passing of Common Sense Firearms Licencing Act in House

Described as a Bill that will enhance safe and sensible firearms policies, the Common Sense Firearms Licensing Act is set to become law in Canada. Energetic City reports that the Bill will see safety training for potential first-time firearm owners, a streamlined licensing system and the removal of the requirement to carry a separate document when transporting firearms to activities such as target practice or a shooting range competition. Co-chair of the All-Party Outdoor caucus Bob Zimmer welcomed the passing of the Bill, saying it was “one step closer to bringing common sense to our firearms licensing regime”. The Bill will now move to the Senate as part of the legislative process.


Prince George-Peace River MP, and Co-Chair of the All-Party Outdoor caucus Bob Zimmer welcomed the passing of Bill C-42 on Friday, the Common Sense Firearms Licensing Act through a third reading in the House of Commons.

The Bill was introduced in the House in October of last year which was geared towards enhancing safe and sensible firearms policies. Specifically the Bill calls for safety training for potential first time owners, a streamlined licensing system, and no longer being required to carry a separate document to transport firearms to activities such as target practice or a shooting range competition.

In a release Zimmer is quoted as saying, “Our government remains committed to supporting law-abiding firearms owners, while also protecting the safety of Canadians. With the passage of Bill C-42 in the House we are one step closer to bringing common sense to our firearms licensing regime.”

Zimmer continued by saying, “These amendments continue our balanced approach to firearms, one that is helping us protect the safety of Canadians, while at the same time reducing the administrative burden for law abiding hunters, farmers, or sport shooters.

The bill will now move to the Senate as part of the legislative process.

Chase Charney chase@moosefm.ca

NIOA Highlights Ridiculous WA Gun Control Legislation

This is Gun Control Legislation gone mad.
How would you feel when approved gun control legislation for firearm owners in Western Australia, can be declared null and void simply by the whim and opinion of one person? Welcome to WAPOL.

NIOA TV has released a special episode highlighting the ridiculous gun control legislation that allows the Police Commissioner or any authorized representative to deny approval for category B firearms based purely on their appearance.

Queensland boasts similar Gun Control Legislation

Interestingly, similar gun control provisions are in place in Qld as published on the QLD Police website:

a) a self-loading centre fire rifle designed or adapted for military purposes or a firearm that substantially duplicates a rifle of that type in design, function or appearance

Instructions for individuals to lobby the WA Govt are included at the end of the video. To watch the video, click on the link below.

https://www.nioa.com.au/nioa-tv/nioa-tv-season-3.html

McKenzie: Gun Control Reform shouldn’t demonise legal gun owners

Media Release | Senator Bridget McKenzie | Senator for Victoria

The Nationals Senator for Victoria Bridget McKenzie said today the demonisation of licensed and responsible firearms owners by the Greens must stop, following the tabling of the Senate’s Inquiry into the ability of Australian law enforcement authorities to eliminate gun related violence in Australia.

Senator McKenzie said the report, tabled today, found that only four hundredths of one per cent of all registered guns in Australia were stolen and only five per cent of those were used to commit a crime.

“Greens Senator Penny Wright has been waging a relentless scare campaign trying to demonise licensed and responsible firearms owners,” Senator McKenzie said.

“Many of the claims made by Senator Wright, including her statement that ‘most illegal guns are not trafficked into Australia, but stolen from registered owners’ has not substantiated in the findings of this inquiry.

“What we have found is clear evidence provided by witnesses, including law enforcement agencies, that most guns used to commit a crime do not originate from licensed firearms owners but are in fact illegally imported.”

Senator McKenzie said the Firearm Safety and Training Council and NSW Police submitted evidence which showed that illegal importation of firearms was a more significant source of illicit firearms than theft, with Victoria Police raising internet facilitated firearm trafficking as an emerging trend.

“Adding more layers of red tape to licensed and responsible firearms owners will not get illicit guns off our streets when the problem is at our borders,” Senator McKenzie said.

“During this inquiry, no case was made for any increased regulation around gun ownership laws; no evidence was shown to us that banning semi-automatic handguns would reduce the number of illegally held firearms in Australia; and no evidence was found that supported stricter storage requirements having any impact on gun-related violence.

“This inquiry was an attempted stitch-up of Australia’s highly regulated, responsible and licensed firearms owners by the Greens – a stitch up that has fallen flat on its face.”
Senator McKenzie acknowledged illicit firearms on Australia’s streets was a concern and said that a continued focus on stamping out illegally imported firearms must be a top priority for Government to reduce the level of gun related violence in the community.

“However our efforts to get illicit firearms off our streets mustn’t come at the expense of licenced and responsible firearms owners, who provide significant social, economic and environmental benefits to our country,” Senator McKenzie said.

“Responsible recreational shooting has produced many Olympic, Commonwealth and World Champions for Australia and hunting is a culturally important activity and legitimate industry that creates jobs and injects billions of dollars into the national economy.

“Equally, farmers use firearms as a ‘tool’ of their trade for the control of pests who wreak havoc on the environment and the humane treatment of stock.”

 

 

Australia Needs Harsher Penalties for Gun Theft

We have had enough: Australia NEEDS Harsher Penalties for Gun Theft

The anti-gun lobbies are continually claiming that most gun crime is committed using guns stolen from legal firearm owners and they are using these exaggerated claims to support their case for tighter gun controls and bans.

Shooters Union of Queensland has decided to put this issue back in the laps of our lawmakers and accusers by challenging them to impose harsher penalties for gun theft.

Shooters Union President Graham Park led the charge on April 8 with articles in 14 newspapers across the country, news items on channels 9 and 10, live interviews and grabs on radio and TV. In doing so he has made it clear that legal firearm owners have had enough of being the whipping boys for gun crime.

To add weight to the ‘fight back’ it is now up to you and other shooters to send this information to your local MPs and media.

A list of the media responses to date is at the end of this message. Look for your paper, radio station and send the item and expressions of your concern on to the decision makers in your area.
As an example, here’s the link to Graham’s interview with ABC Longreach:https://soundcloud.com/abc-western-queensland/shooters-union-calls-for-harsher-gun-theft-penalties

Below is the item in the Courier mail. It applies throughout Australia.

Gun owners demand action on weapon thefts

QUEENSLAND gun owners say the government must bring in tougher penalties for criminals who steal weapons.
THE Shooters Union of Queensland says it’s absurd that anyone who breaks into a house and steals a gun faces the same penalty as someone who swipes electrical goods.
“It is ridiculous that the same penalty would be applied for the theft of a television as the theft of a firearm,” union president Graham Park said in a statement on Wednesday.

“We believe the community expects sensible gun legislation, and would be surprised at the gap between the seriousness of this offence and the penalty.”

Mr Park said legitimate gun owners were subjected to very strict regulations on the licensing, ownership and storage of firearms.

But he knew of cases where a firearm owned by a family for generations had been stolen and the culprit had ended up with nothing more than a good behaviour bond.

“We are urging the Queensland government to create a specific offence for stealing a firearm,” he said.

Harsher sentences should apply to anyone convicted of gun theft, he says.

“This move would clamp down on people targeting gun owners and free up police resources to focus on illegal (gun) imports,” Mr Park said.

Here’s the list of media which carried the story………..

  • WIN News Rockhampton – Phone interview this afternoon – will run on tomorrow night’s (Thurs) news
  •  Nova 106.9 – Pre-recorded grabs for afternoon bulletins
  • Sporting Shooter – Are looking to publish something online
  • 4ZZZ Radio– Published a story online: https://www.4zzzfm.org.au/news/headlines/2015/04/08/qld-gun-owners-call-harsh-penalties-gun-thieves
  • Brisbane Times – Are interested will pass around and contact us for more information if needed
  • ABC North Queensland – Live interview on Mornings with Paula Tapiola at 9:35am
  • ABC Longreach – Live interview on Mornings with Ash Moore at 9:05am – will send through audio tomorrow (Thurs)
  • 2FM Sydney – Pre-recorded grabs for news
  • 4BC News – Pre-recorded grabs for news
  • Queensland Country Life – Very interested, passed on to journalist concerned, will be in touch
  • AAP – picked up and passed through the wire, published on:
    o The Courier-Mail – https://www.couriermail.com.au/news/breaking-news/gun-owners-demand-action-on-weapon-thefts/story-fnihsfrf-1227295061764
    o The Cairns Post – https://www.cairnspost.com.au/news/breaking-news/gun-owners-demand-action-on-weapon-thefts/story-fnjbnvyh-1227295061764
    o Geelong Advertiser – https://www.geelongadvertiser.com.au/news/national/gun-owners-demand-action-on-weapon-thefts/story-fnjbnvyf-1227295061764
    o The Mercury – https://www.themercury.com.au/news/breaking-news/gun-owners-demand-action-on-weapon-thefts/story-fnj6ehgr-1227295061764
    o Perth Now – https://www.perthnow.com.au/news/breaking-news/gun-owners-demand-action-on-weapon-thefts/story-fnhrvfuw-1227295061764
    o The Advertiser – https://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/breaking-news/gun-owners-demand-action-on-weapon-thefts/story-fni6ul2m-1227295061764
    o The Gold Coast Bulletin – https://www.goldcoastbulletin.com.au/news/breaking-news/gun-owners-demand-action-on-weapon-thefts/story-fnjbnvyk-1227295061764
    o news.com.au – https://www.news.com.au/national/breaking-news/gun-owners-demand-action-on-weapon-thefts/story-e6frfku9-1227295061764
    o Townsville Bulletin – https://www.townsvillebulletin.com.au/news/breaking-news/gun-owners-demand-action-on-weapon-thefts/story-fnjbnvyi-1227295061764
    o NT News – https://www.ntnews.com.au/news/national/gun-owners-demand-action-on-weapon-thefts/story-fnjbnvyj-1227295061764
    o Weekly Times Now – https://www.weeklytimesnow.com.au/news/national/gun-owners-demand-action-on-weapon-thefts/story-fnjbnvyg-1227295061764
    o Herald Sun – https://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/breaking-news/gun-owners-demand-action-on-weapon-thefts/story-fni0xqi4-1227295061764
    o The Daily Telegraph – https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/breaking-news/gun-owners-demand-action-on-weapon-thefts/story-fni0xqi3-1227295061764
    o Daily Mail (International) – https://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/aap/article-3029435/Gun-owners-demand-action-weapon-thefts.html
    o Nine News – https://www.9news.com.au/national/2015/04/08/07/05/gun-owners-demand-action-on-weapon-thefts
    o Seven News – https://au.news.yahoo.com/qld/a/27007986/gun-owners-demand-action-on-weapon-thefts/

Canada: Firearm homicides down by 25%

Statistics Canada have released figures for the first full year after the abolition of the longarms registry.  Quite predictably, the murder rate has dropped by 8% and the rate of firearm homicide has decreased by 25%.

Nevertheless, the Canadian anti-gun lobby and symapathetic politicians are still pushing to have the totally useless and financially irresponsible registry reinstated.  This is further proof that evidence is constantly being ignored when formulating policy.

Australia has already invested over $1Bn in taxpayer funds implementing and maintaining a very similar registry that has never once contributed to public safety outcomes or been used to solve a crime.  This is nothing more than a waste of taxpayer funds that could have been spent in other areas. Anti-gun activists often use the term ‘public health’ when spewing their vitriol against law abiding gun owners.  If they were really concerned about public health, they would support the scrapping of the registries and redirecting those funds into the health system.

More details on Canada’s experience can be read at the below link.

https://www.edmontonsun.com/2014/12/02/civil-gun-owners-no-threat

SUA Respond to Gun-related Violence Senate Inquiry

SUA has been invited before the Senate Inquiry into Gun-Related Violence in Canberra.

You will remember the long-winded-named Senate Inquiry into the ability of Australian law enforcement authorities to eliminate gun-related violence in the community?

SUQ and SUA both put in submissions and as a result, SUA was invited to appear before the inquiry in Canberra. There were two other public hearings in other states SUNSW was invited to appear before the one in Sydney. We don’t really know what the criteria were that prompted the invitations. We would like to think it was the quality of the submissions, but it’s probably something much more mundane than that – maybe because SUA, which is headquartered in Queensland, had no other opportunity.

In any case, president Graham Park attended the hearing and presented the views of the members of Shooters Union as a national organisation. As a result of that, SUA received a “Question on Notice” from the Inquiry. We think all of the other shooting organisation presenters did too, so they weren’t just picking on Shooters Union.
The interesting thing about the question is that it seems to misrepresent the submission from which it quotes The submission is from the Australian Institute of Criminology. Whether the apparent misrepresentation was deliberate or the result of simply not reading it properly is not known. The question relates to page 12 of the submission (number 76 on the list) which can be viewed by following the link:
https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Legal_and_Constitutional_Affairs/Illicit_firearms/Submissions

The Senate Inquiry’s Question on Notice:

The evidence the Shooters Union gave to the committee emphasised the compliance of their members. The Australian Institute of Criminology’s submission states firearms were stolen from an approved firearms safe in 58% of reported incidences, and a quarter of all gun owners were determined by police not to be storage compliant. Does the Shooters Union dispute these figures or have an explanation for them?

Shooters Union Australia’s Response to the Senate Inquiry into the eliminate of gun-related violence.

  1. The AIC submission states:
    1. Firearms were stolen from an approved firearm safe or other secure receptacle in 58 percent (n=1,493) of reported firearm incidents in 2005-09 (see Figure 6), although not all these receptacles were determined to be secure at the time of the theft (ie unlocked, easily breached or the key was located by the offender). Firearms had been left in vehicles in just under 10 percent (n=236) of incidents and in 11 percent (n=269) of incidents firearms were described as unsecured or in the open. Firearms not stored appropriately at the time of the theft comprised almost a fifth (18%) of all reported stolen firearms during 200509 (Bricknell 2010); and
    2. On average, over a quarter of firearm owners (27%, n=705) were determined by police not to be storage compliant.
  2. Point (b) above relates specifically to those owners who reported a theft.
  3. It is therefore incorrect to assert, as this QoN seemingly does, that a quarter of all gun owners were determined by police not to be storage compliant.
  4. Based on the AIC submission, over the five-year period studied, a total of 705 owners who reported a theft were not storage compliant. On average, over the five-year period studied, this equates to 141 owners per year who were non-compliant.
  5. The AIC report does not provide a particularly detailed breakdown of how many of those non-compliant owners were private licensees, businesses, or otherwise (see p.12 of AIC submission), and cross-tabulated details as to storage compliance by the location of theft are only provided for a selection of examples (e.g., theft from a vehicle, theft from private premises).
  6. In addition, the precise way in which storage compliant has been defined for each recorded theft in each jurisdiction is not stipulated; variations and inconsistencies in how non-compliance is assessed may generate erroneous results and artificially elevate estimated non-compliance figures.
  7. A recent decision from the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal illustrates this possibility. In the matter of Hijazi v Commissioner of Police, NSW Police NSWCATAD 148, NSW Police alleged that the licensee was non-compliant with firearm storage requirements for Category A and B licences, because the licensee did not have bars on the windows of their residence. This assertion was dismissed by the Tribunal.
  8. With these points noted, and for the purpose of hypothetical illustration, we will now proceed on the assumption that each of the 705 non-compliant owners over the five-year period represents a private licensee who was not properly storing their firearm/s.
  9. Based on law enforcement agency estimates of the number of legally owned firearms in Australia, which typically place the number of licensed firearms owners at around 750,000, a total of 705 non-compliant owners equates to around 0.09 per cent or a little less than 1 in 1000 of the total number of licensees in Australia.
  10. Considered on an average yearly basis, rather than an accumulated five-year total, these figures are even lower (just under 0.02 per cent of total licensees).
  11. In addition, the extreme rarity of firearms theft (which has been quantified in other submissions made to the Inquiry, as well as borne out by various witnesses during public hearings) demonstrates that the experience of theft is simply not representative of the experience of the overwhelming majority of Australian licencees.
  12. Those licensees who experience theft represent an extremely small subset of the total pool of licensees.
  13. From this, it follows that the experience of theft due to non-compliance is even more unrepresentative of firearms ownership in Australia, with those persons constituting a fractional sub-set (licensees who experience theft and are non-compliant) of an already very tiny sub-set (licensees who experience theft).
  14. Shooters Union Australia (SUA) members comprise a representative sample of all Australian firearms licensees.
  15. Therefore, based on the above facts, it is correct to state that SUA members being a representative sample are overwhelmingly compliant.

The Inquiry was headed by a Greens Senator and has been given an extension of time for their report until 26th March 2015 (which is a fairly impressive extension). We think they were surprised by how many submissions they received and how good they were – many of our members are responsible for that! Congratulations and thank you!

SUA President responds to Federal Senate Inquiry into Gun-Related Violence

Senate Inquiry into Gun-related Violence

SUA PRESIDENT GRAHAM PARK’S OPENING STATEMENT

Senators, Thank you for the invitation to participate.

18 years ago Australia began a huge social experiment.

With the stated intent and hope that this experiment in highly restrictive laws would make Australia a safer country using the federally driven National Firearms Agreement (NFA).

So began one of the largest mass confiscations of private property in the history of any modern western democracy, followed by an ongoing radical shift in private firearms ownership and law enforcement focus.

However, in the 18 years since that time, all objective and credible evidence strongly suggests that not only has this huge social experiment failed to make any significant difference in violence levels in Australia, BUT that it has likely reduced the ability of Australian police agencies to combat violence (and especially gun-related violence) in our communities.

EXAMPLES:
Since 1996, New Zealand, Canada and the USA have all experienced a lowering of homicides equal to or substantially greater than (and in the case of the USA, almost double the drop of) Australia, and NONE of those nations have felt the need to enact such restrictive legislation on legitimate firearms use and ownership.

In fact both New Zealand AND Canada have now totally abandoned the concept of any type of long arms registration due to cost explosions and ineffectiveness brought on by technological advances.

The concept of government registries and manually generated PTA’s is nothing more than a holdover from a time before electronic data retention and is not only completely ineffective but incredibly expensive to maintain.

However, here in Australia the vast majority of state and federal law enforcement resources and strategy are now (and have been for 18 years) mistakenly focused on spending massive amounts of their time and efforts monitoring and restricting the activities just one sector of society, the licensed firearm owner.

Which every statistic, every example, shows are responsible for almost NO gun related violence.

The NFA experiment has diverted massive financial and strategic resources away from combatting violent crime and towards bureaucratic micromanagement and control of farmers, competitive target shooters, antique collectors and other licensed firearm owners, (a grouping of arguably the least likely people in the nation to commit any type of crime).

This massive diversion of police strategy and resources away from active crime fighting and into bureaucratic roles has greatly diminished police abilities to focus on the more than 95% of violent crimes not committed by legitimate firearm owners.

This experiment has already cost Australia potentially more than $2 Billion so far and continues to cost as much as $340 million more each year in combined ongoing costs.

(approx. $100 mill maintain registries, PTAs, licences etc + 60 mill++ in physical audits and safe inspections police costs +$180 Mill in feral animal damage – total feral damage is estimated at least $720 mill annually and has risen dramatically since reduction in firearms access in 96 , we used a minimal 25% of the annual cost as being related to legal changes)

At a time of limited budgets and reduced funding for education, mental health and other critical programs, surely Australian governments have a responsibility to seriously consider reforming and streamlining this deeply flawed social experiment.

No matter how well intentioned any legislation may be, it needs to stand up to the simple test of “is it effective”.

If we really want to assist law enforcement to radically lower violence of all types in our community then we should redirect law enforcement back to focusing on violent crime and criminals.

Thank you.

Senate Enquiry into Semi-automatic Handgun Ban

The federal government has recently announced a Senate inquiry into “The ability of Australian law enforcement authorities to eliminate gun-related violence in the community”

We consider this to potentially be the worst threat to firearm owners since the Howard government gun-grab. One of the terms of reference identifies “The effect banning semi-automatic handguns would have on the number of illegally held firearms in Australia”. Obviously the effect of banning semi-automatic handguns would have a similar effect to banning vehicles with automatic transmissions. The ban would remove lots of vehicles from the road, but would it have an effect on the road toll? The same correlation is true of semi-automatic handguns. The road toll has nothing whatever to do with the type of gearbox a vehicle has, any more than the type of handgun action has to do with criminal intent and/or violence in the community.

Sounds laughable? Maybe, but this is not a laughing matter. We are facing a very real and imminent threat and we need as many submissions as possible.

Have a look at the link below and consider putting in a submission of your own. Obviously, we and most, if not all, the other shooting bodies will be doing their own submissions, but you can help too!

We are in the process of preparing ours and if you would like some ideas of what to put in yours, we’ll be sending out some information as soon as we are able. In the meantime, you might like to start on something yourself.

https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Legal_and_Constitutional_Affairs/Illicit_firearms

Send us a copy when you’re finished but please note that the deadline is 15th August.

Gun laws fall short in war on crime

This article was first published in the Sydney Morning Herald on the 29/10/2005. It was written by Robert Wainwright.

Gun ownership is rising and there is no definitive evidence that a decade of restrictive firearms laws has done anything to reduce weapon-related crime, according to NSW’s top criminal statistician.

The latest figures show a renaissance in firearm ownership in the state – a 25 per cent increase in three years. And the head of the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, Don Weatherburn, said falls in armed robberies and abductions in NSW in the past few years had more to do with the heroin drought and good policing than firearms legislation.

Even falls in the homicide rate, which have been steady, began long before the gun law debate provoked by the Port Arthur massacre in 1996.

Nationwide, the proportion of robberies involving weapons is the same as it was in 1996, while the proportion of abductions involving weapons is higher, the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics fiures reveal. They show a mixed result in firearms-related offences since the mid-1990s. There has been a fall in firearms murders (from 32 to 13 per cent) but a rise (19 to 23 per cent) in attempted murders involving guns.

“I would need to see more convincing evidence than there is to be able to say that gun laws have had any effect,” Dr Weatherburn said. “The best that could be said for the tougher laws is there has been no other mass killing using firearms [since Port Arthur].

“There has been a drop in firearm-related crime, particularly in homicide, but it began long before the new laws and has continued on afterwards. I don’t think anyone really understands why. A lot of people assume that the tougher laws did it, but I would need more specific, convincing evidence …

“There has been a more specific … problem with handguns, which rose up quite rapidly and then declined. The decline appears to have more to do with the arrest of those responsible than the new laws. As soon as the heroin shortage hit, the armed robbery rate came down. I don’t think it was anything to do with the tougher firearm laws.”

The Shooters Party MP John Tingle agrees with this analysis but has decided to retire from politics next April because he is frustrated in his attempts to prevent further restrictions, even though the number of registered guns in NSW has jumped from 516,468 to 648,369 since 2002.

“If the laws had worked there would be much less illegal gun crime … we are continuing this perception that if you tighten firearm laws you are going to control firearm crime, even though the opposite is true. Restrictive laws against legitimate ownership and use do nothing to stop gun-related crime because only law-abiding citizens will adhere to laws.”

The Police Commissioner, Ken Moroney, supports the laws irrespective of the statistics. “I don’t think the laws have been designed to eliminate every firearm off the face of the Earth … but it has achieved proper registration, storage and more effective licensing. These measures have all been successful and John Tingle’s role should be acknowledged … he is a man of objectivity and fairness. He hasn’t been an advocate for advocacy sake.”