Blunder down under: Australian state moves to limit gun ownership

How many times have you heard some gun control nut wonder why we can’t do what they did in Australia back in the 1990s and just ban and collect all the guns in the United States? The truth is that Australia’s gun “buyback” didn’t completely disarm Australians, though it did ban them from owning semi-automatic rifles and imposed strict limits on the ownership and possession of handguns and even commonly-owned bolt-action rifles and pump-action shotguns.


It’s estimated that the compensated confiscation program imposed after the Port Arthur murders in the 1990s ended up collecting about one-third of all lawfully-possessed firearms in Australia, but in the years since Australians have still been purchasing plenty of guns; so much, in fact, that there are now more guns in civilian hands in the country than before the “buyback” was put in place. As we discuss on today’s Bearing Arms’ Cam & Co, the gun control lobby down under didn’t fold up their tent and fade away after their success thirty years ago. Their efforts continue to this day, and in the state of Western Australia their now poised for one of their biggest victories in years.

Farmers and gun club members will be restricted to 10 firearms while recreational shooters will only be able to own five in a move the government expects will reduce the number of legal firearms in the state from 360,000 to about 347,000.

The ownership cap is included in the government’s firearms bill consultation paper to be released on Tuesday, along with a state-funded voluntary firearm buyback plan.

Police Minister Paul Papalia said the new limits would only impact about 5 per cent of individual licence holders but would remove thousands of firearms from the community.

“Public safety is paramount, and that has been the key consideration when drafting the proposed legislation,” he said.

“If there are fewer firearms in the community, there are fewer opportunities for them to be used illegally.”


We hear that same rationale used in the United States all the time, whether it’s Gavin Newsom signing legislation restricting the right to carry or the House Speaker in Massachusetts calling for passage of an omnibus gun control bill aimed at legal gun owners. It’s a ridiculous argument that completely rejects any lawful use of a firearm, whether for self-defense, recreational shooting, hunting, or predator control, and while Australia may not have the right to keep and bear arms enshrined in its constitution as we do in the U.S., blaming lawful gun owners for the actions of violent criminals is still a terrible idea.

Papalia says that the number of lawfully-possessed firearms in Western Australia has increased by 65% since 2009, and clearly that is a bigger problem to authorities than the rise in both violent and property crime in the state over the past few years. There’s no evidence that crimes committed by legal gun owners has increased by 65%, but they’re still being scapegoated for the increase in assaults, sexual offenses, and violations of restraining orders… again, just as we see here in the states.

American gun control activists would love to take a page from their Australian counterparts and impose “common sense” and “reasonable” limits on the number of firearms that we can own. Heck, they’re already taking their first steps by imposing gun-rationing laws that limit purchases to one per month, and there’ve been attempts to limit the amount of ammunition that someone can purchase as well.


So far those restrictions have been largely placed on the sale, not the possession of guns and ammo, but you don’t have to be Nostradamus to see where the anti-gunners are heading. Australia remains the gold standard for the gun prohibitionists, and if Western Australia is imposing limits on the number of guns that lawful citizens are allowed to possess, it probably won’t be long before we see similar bills introduced in states like California, New York, and New Jersey.

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