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Australia Cop on Gun Control

The following articles are the result of an exchange of e-mail on a law enforcement discussion list where it is not unusual for pro-gun U.S. LEOs to engage in "lively" debate with the anti-gun LEOs from other countries. It was a pleasant surprise, then, when Senior Constable Shane James entered the fray with a decidedly pro-gun attitude.

Second Amendment Police Department and have partnered in the effort to archive the writings of pro-gun cops to assure the Second Amendment Community that Janet Reno will not have the last word!

Another Word on Gun Control
from Down Under

Date: Fri, 7 Jul 2000 01:14:29
From: sjames
Subject: Re: Another Word on Gun Control

Dear Alan,

I am a serving member of the Victoria Police in Australia. I am also a licensed hunter of game species in Australia. In 1996 there was a tragic and senseless killing of 35 people by a maniac with some semi automatic weapons in Tasmania. This senseless tragedy brought about a knee jerk reaction from a Prime Minister who is about as sympathetic to the needs and wants of middle class Australia as Slick Willy Clinton is to the feelings of his interns.

Virtually overnight this man brought about gun reform that took away the rights of law abiding citizens to carry legal, licensed firearms that statistically were rarely, if ever, used in the commission of crime. Weapons such as pump action shotguns and semi automatic centre fire hunting rifles.

All of these licensed, registered, legally owned weapons were confiscated and destroyed in a buy back scheme that not only did not fully compensate the owners, but cost the Australian taxpayer close to a billion dollars.

This money was collected in a special addition to the health care levy that every tax payer must pay as part of their income tax. In other words, the licensed gun owners were compensated with the extra tax they had to pay to finance the gun buy back scheme. This sounds to me like something that Josef Stalin, or Adolf Hitler would have done in confiscating property from certain minorities during their time. While it is true that there have been no tragedies of the scale of the Port Arthur massacre in Tasmania in 1996 since this gun reform has taken place, this is no guarantee that it will not happen again, because the only guns that were actually handed in were the registered legally owned guns of the same middle class Australians that our benevolent Priminister has for so long ignored.

Crime statistics involving firearms have not changed since the introduction of these draconian laws, nor has the murder rate, because traditionally Australia has never had a high rate of crime involving firearms, even during the days of less stringent firearms legislation. The only reason that these laws were able to be passed was the lack of a strong gun lobby like the N.R.A., the knee jerk reaction to what was a random and senseless killing by a homicidal maniac, and the fact that the balance of power in Australian Parliament is held by a leftist leaning minority party that attracts approximately 8% of the people's vote. This in effect means that Australians have in large been disarmed by a socialist minority and an elitist Government for the ostensible reason of cutting down firearm related crime. This has not occurred, and due to the lack of a strong opposition in the form of a gun lobby there has been no outcry by the ordinary people.

One wonders if there are hidden agendas behind the disarming of the country.

Only time will tell. I look forward to any comments from other Police Officers not only in Australia, but worldwide.

Please send my letter to as many people who are interested in an Australian Police Officer's view of gun control. Maybe someone over here will listen too.

Senior Constable.

More on Gun Control From Australia


Although there has been an increase in armed robberies most statistics would indicate that they are with weapons other than firearms. Australia has never been a country with a high rate of firearm related crime so taking away our guns hasn't made any difference to this. As for home invasions, or what we called aggravated burglary, there has been a rise of this kind in Victoria, which is my home state, but this is partly due to the change in legal definition of what constitutes an aggravated burglary. Previously the law stated that to be an aggravated burglary that the offender on entry to the property had to be carrying a gun, knife, offensive weapon, or explosive. Now an aggravated burglary is any time any person is home. This means that more criminals are being convicted of aggravated burglaries thus inflating the figures. As you are probably aware more than one person has been guilty of manipulating statistics to make them appear more than what they are.

The gun control argument in my opinion has never been an issue of crime control. It is an issue of political power and the rights of citizens to own firearms.

As you are aware, the large majority of firearm owners are responsible citizens who store, handle and own their firearms in a responsible manner. They register their guns, they are licensed to shoot, and they comply with all legislative requirements pertaining to the ownership of same. These firearms are not used in violent crimes. As for the argument about firearms being used in suicides I say that the same responsible citizens, which are the vast majority, store them in such a way as not to be available to a person who is of suicidal risk. In addition to this most jurisdictions these days will restrict the ownership of firearms to people who have any psychiatric history or suicidal tendencies.

I have had many an argument with friends and colleagues over the years on this subject. The usual reasons for gun control that I get from them is: 1. You don't need guns to survive these days, we buy our meat from supermarkets. 2. It is cruel to shoot animals for sport, or even for the consumption of meat because the meat is available from the supermarkets. 3. What if someone came into your home and used the gun against you? 4. What if a child used his father's gun to kill or injure someone? 5. It is wrong to defend yourself against armed criminals with a firearm.

The list of reasons goes on but none of them have any basis in anything other than emotion or media propaganda. The media has a lot to answer for in relation to the way that they publicize violent crime. The public in Australia at least seems to have formed the opinion that a person only needs a gun if they are going to use it in some violent way, or that it will be misused in some violent way. To quote a small section from another letter I received from an American LEO. The American media has long had a policy of: If it bleeds it leads. This sort of policy does nothing but sensationalize the issue of violent crime and firearms in general. I wonder how many sickos out there have been prompted into action by a gory new story that caught their attention. I wonder how many school shootings in the United States would not have happened if the exploits of the offenders were not glorified for the next whacko to read about and create fantasies of his own. I know I am digressing, but I would like to show you what I see as a paradox in Australia. A number of politicians in my country state quite rightly that Australia is an isolated country with a number of politically instable neighbours. Even now there are two of our close neighbours engaged in military coups. The Solomon Islands, and Fiji. We also have powerful south east Asian countries near us, in particular Indonesia, with large powerful armies, unstable political climates, terrible poverty, and a lack of land for their populations. It is always a possibility that one of these countries will take it into their minds that we have more than our fair share of land in Australia and decide to come over and take some for themselves.

The same politicians tell us that we don't need to worry about owning firearms for self defence because the Government will look after us. I don't know about how prepared the United States is in the event they were invaded, but I do know that Australia has a standing army of perhaps 10,000 troops and a reserve force of about 30,000. Granted, they are a well trained and reasonably well equipped defence force, however, Australia being the world's largest island has a huge coastline, a lot of which is inaccessible especially during the monsoon season, giving ample opportunity for an invading army to enter the country and establish a bridgehead long before our pitifully small forces can get there to defend our soil. You may say this is fanciful thinking, but during the 2nd world war the Japanese had plans to invade Australia to create a base in the southern pacific region. It was only the efforts of the American navy in the battle of Midway that stopped their progress and crippled their navy to such an extent as they were unable to complete their plans. I don't think we have a couple of carrier battle groups cruising around this area now to call upon for the same reason. What would we do if the same thing happened with Indonesia?

My point: Do I trust the Government to defend me? Hell no. Do I want my fellow countrymen to be in a position to defend themselves and their families in this admittedly unlikely event? Hell yes.

We need the American public to stoutly defend their 2nd amendment rights so that the politicians of Australia don't have any more ammunition to further disarm us. We need our politicians to legislate against violent crime so that the criminals are not on the streets. We need more sensible reasoned debate on the civil rights of people to defend themselves. We need the political will and wherewithal to defend ourselves against the vocal minority advocating the disarming of the people. Finally we need the people in power to remember the words of a famous man. The price of liberty is eternal vigilance.

I am sorry if I bored you by expanding on your question to a much larger extent than you may have expected, but it is a subject about which I am fairly passionate.

The only thing I would like to say is that any views expressed in this letter are the opinions of the author solely. They do not reflect in any way the opinions or policies of the Australian Government, the police forces of Australia, or any of my colleagues, though I am sure that some of them would agree with me in private.

Please feel free to circulate this letter to any person you feel may be interested in reading the opinions of an Australian police officer. Please feel free to comment on or criticise any of the opinions that I have voiced. I may be passionate about what I say, but I am not deaf to reason.

Thank you for taking the time to read my letter.

Senior Constable.

Shane James, Senior Constable
Victoria Police


Disclaimer: All comments are the personal opinion of the writer and not intended to represent any government agency, whatsoever.

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Allowing riflery training while decrying gun violence doesn't send a mixed message any more than does supporting a wrestling team while opposing schoolyard brawls. CHICAGO TRIBUNE

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