Gun stores in the Australian state of Victoria are off-limits to most customers, after the police minister said she was concerned by the growing number of residents seeking to purchase firearms during the coronavirus crisis.
Lisa Neville made it clear that the new restrictions apply to basically everyone but law enforcement and security guards, which has prompted a furious blowback from gun owners in the region.
Shooters, Farmers and Fishers Party Victorian MP Jeff Bourman pointed out that gun licences were predicated on applicants having safe storage and described the move as “unmitigated bulls***”.
“Do us the courtesy of admitting it’s just another shafting of the most law abiding segment of society because it’s easy,” he said on Twitter.
Keep in mind, in Australia there is no right to own a firearm, and self-defense isn’t considered a legitimate reason to acquire one. Sport shooting and hunting are the primary reasons given for Aussies to purchase guns, but clearly the rise in people seeking to own firearms (the police minister said requests have doubled in the past week) is based on concern for personal safety, not a newfound desire to go plinking. The Victorian government is clearly uninterested in promoting the idea of armed self-defense, and so they’ll simply cut off access to firearms for those who don’t already own them.
The anti-gun agenda on display isn’t all that different from what we’re seeing in some jurisdictions here in the United States, though thankfully this week we’ve seen New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva rescind their orders closing gun stores after the Department of Homeland Security released new guidance over the weekend declaring that the firearms industry is considered an essential part of the workforce.
We won’t see any similar guidance in Australia, though the Shooters Fishers and Farmers Party says they’re working to make sure that firearm retailers are considered essential businesses in the state of New South Wales.
Certain people rely on the use of firearms in their everyday activities, like primary producers and rural landholders that need to conduct feral pest control, euthanise stock or slaughter meat for personal consumption.
“We would like these people to be able to continue their very important work, which often requires visits to their local firearms dealers for maintenance and ammunition,” said Robert Borsak.
The SFF believe that firearms dealers should be classified as an essential retail service and be exempted from future COVID-19 related closure.
“Our Party, and the broader community, accept the gradual tightening of restrictions being imposed by Federal and State Governments, and the enforcement thereof, to control the spread of COVID-19.
“We know that firearms dealers could and will implement stringent measures to comply with other restrictions at their place of business,” said Phil Donato, SFF Member for Orange.
I feel for gun owners in Australia. They’re fighting the same fights that we are here in the United States, but they’re doing so without the protection of the Second Amendment. With no right to keep and bear arms enshrined in the country’s laws, the government can dictate the most draconian of measures regarding the possession and acquisition of firearms, and there’s not much that gun owners can do about it. It’s yet another reminder of how important it is to fight to strengthen and secure our Second Amendment rights, and what’s in store for us if we don’t.