Victoria Police are tooling up in a big way to fight a largely imaginary enemy, it seems, following news they are acquiring 800 .223 calibre AR-15s, ostensibly to “combat terrorism.” And also this segment on 3AW.

We believe Victoria Police have failed the genuine need test in this case. What, exactly, do they need 800 AR-15s for? And “Combating Terrorism” isn’t a valid answer.

Australia is a safe country and while we must never be complacent, there simply has never been a large scale terrorist attack in the country since the 1978 Sydney Hilton Hotel bombing, and AR-15s would be completely useless in that sort of scenario anyway.

There is no doubt specialist units and armed offender response teams require specialist equipment including semi-auto longarms, and we are not for a moment suggesting they should not have access to them.

But your average police officer, however, simply doesn’t need an AR-15. They don’t need one in the boot of their patrol car, they don’t need a gun cabinet full of them at their local station, and the Victorian Police force certainly doesn’t need 800 of them.

Just to put that number in perspective: 800 AR-15s are enough to equip literally an entire battalion of soldiers and still have plenty left over.

Is Victoria planning to secede from Australia? Are they expecting a military invasion? No? Then what on Earth justifies having 800 AR-15s In police station gun racks across the state?

There’s certainly a case for police needing access to repeating centrefire rifles, and we would suggest that the Remington 7615P or the CZ 527 Carbine – both .223 calibre Category B firearms which are also available to licensed shooters – are better choices. They fire the same round, fill the
same “more versatile than a handgun” niche, and don’t require arming the police with military-style rifles.

It’s worth noting there are almost certainly nowhere near 800 functioning Category D firearms registered in Victoria. Simply, if licensed, law-abiding firearms owners – large numbers of whom are accomplished shooters – are denied access to these guns because they can’t be trusted with them, what makes it appropriate for frontline police to have them?

Surely the Victorian government isn’t acknowledging that Australia’s NFA-based gun laws simply don’t work, because criminals have access to banned semi-auto centrefire guns anyway?

Regardless – if Victoria is about to acquire 800 AR-15s, then it’s time for a serious discussion about letting properly licensed shooters own them as well – after all, two decades of experience has shown they are among the most trustworthy and law-abiding people in the community and there’s no
factual basis for prohibiting the guns anymore.

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