Australian Politicians Now Talking 'Knife Control' After Mall, Church Attacks

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The high-profile stabbings at a shopping mall and church could result in a crackdown on knife ownership in Australia, but its also prompted a wave of criticism over the country's current laws, which make it incredibly difficult for the average citizen to possess a firearm, and almost never for self-defense. Concealed carry? Forget about it. If you're a rural farmer you might be able to possess a pump-action shotgun to protect your family and your livestock, but almost everyone else is out of luck; even security guards.

"At least the cleaner's got a broom, but a security guard won't be carrying anything except a radio," said Ben Reis, a casual security guard from Newcastle, in a phone interview.

"I've been in a shopping centre and I've caught people stealing and I can't do anything, I can just watch them walk," he added.

The attacks have also lifted the lid on growing public unease about non-gun violence that drove the state government of New South Wales, of which Sydney is the capital, to double prison terms for public knife crimes months earlier. 

Sounds like a pretty good argument to allow people to protect themselves, doesn't it? Not to many Australian politicians, apparently. 

New South Wales Premier Chris Minns has said it would be "irresponsible not to look at" toughening knife laws further, although he didn't specify how. He said the state would review whether security guards could carry handcuffs, pepper spray or batons although he ruled out guns or tasers.

Roland Springis, a security guard who has worked in malls, has collected more than 3,000 signatures in three days for a petition calling for more protective equipment. 

"We don't have anything," said Springis.

Queensland state Premier Steven Miles said the Bondi attack added weight to the argument to extend warrantless stop-and-searches by police, local media reported.

A new law in that state lets police use hand-held metal detectors, or wands, to search people on public transport for suspected weapons and "we've been actively considering whether to expand the public spaces that police can wand in to include shopping centres", Miles said.

Of course, they're using these stabbings to expand the power of the state, and to diminish individual liberty. I'm surprised we haven't heard a politician call for an outright ban on sharp, pointy objects yet. Give it some time, I suppose. 

Laws around knife crime are different in each state but federal government minister Bill Shorten called for "nationally consistent laws" and "tougher penalties".

In New South Wales, the government doubled penalties for some knife offences following the stabbing death of paramedic Steven Tougher last year.

The changes included increasing the maximum prison term from two to four years if someone is found with a knife or wielding a knife in a public place or school. 

Federal government frontbencher Jason Clare suggested parents should also be penalised if they allow their children to leave the house with a knife.

"And if parents knowingly let their children out the door with a deadly weapon like that, then yes they should have the book thrown at them," he told Channel Seven.

Deputy Opposition Leader Sussan Ley told Channel Seven that she agreed.

"They're deadly weapons, they're silent weapons. The police are telling us that knife crime is a problem and that parents do have a role to play, so yes they do," she said.

Four years in prison for simply possessing a knife is horrifying to me. I generally have at least one knife on me at any given time, and usually carry two; one with a serrated blade and a smaller penknife. I use them daily, not as weapons but as tools, but I guess I'd be looking at close to ten years behind bars if I lived Down Under.


Australia has served as a warning to American gun owners for decades now, and the political response to the stabbings in Sydney are another reminder that the issue really isn't gun control, but people control. Every act of a disturbed individual can and will be used to assault the freedoms of everyone else, sacrificing liberty with the false promise of increased safety. The only way to truly be secure, at least in the minds of the anti-gun authoritarians, is to welcome the smothering embrace of a Big Brother government, and to give up your right to protect yourself and those you love. 

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