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Rodger Muller’s wandering the miles of aisles of the NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibits here in Louisville this weekend, watching tens of thousands of attendees ogle and finger thousands of items he and his fellow Australians can’t legally own. The founder and president of Gun Rights Australia‘s goal in being here is simple: figure out how to start the process of de-stigmatizing and re-legitimizing firearms ownership in the land down under. But given the lack of a constitutional civil right to keep and bear arms — not to mention Australia’s disastrous post-Port Arthur National Firearms Agreement — Muller’s got a long road ahead of him. It’s an instructive, cautionary example of what a tough row it is to hoe getting something back once you’ve lost it . . .

As Muller told me, in Australia, “gun ownership is a privilege, not a right.” Which means Aussies can only arm themselves at the pleasure of their government. Six month “cooling off” periods before they’ll process your pistol permit application. No-notice visits from police to ensure that registered firearms owners have their guns stored in accordance with the law. “It’s what you sign up for when you’re granted a gun license.”

So while like-minded Americans read news of another state on the brink of making constitutional carry the law, and more favorable court rulings, Muller has to concentrate on the heavy lifting needed to regain the ability of his fellow Australians to carry a gun. In addition to the Sisyphean task of accomplishing the cultural change needed to make gun ownership socially acceptable in polite society again, he has three legislative goals:

  • make self defense a valid reason for owning a gun (it’s not now)
  • legalize concealed carry (currently verboten)
  • tightening (and enforcing) laws on the illegal weapons trade

That last one, because the typical Australian legislator (never mind citizen) conflates crimes committed with illegally owned firearms with legal civilian gun ownership.

So he made the long journey here to tap into the NRA’s deep reservoir of experience fighting for civilian gun ownership and beating back the never-ending attempts of the professional left to curtail it. Those are fights the previous generation lost in Oz and one that will probably take at least another generation to begin to claw back. Let’s hope the NRA can provide Muller some much needed expertise. And that his predicament never becomes ours.

32 Responses to Gun Rights Australia’s Long Road Back to Firearms Freedom

  1. Australians will get their gun rights back when there’s a serious military conflict in the South China Sea, and they wake up to the fact that, their large beautiful country is situated in a very hostile, over-populated neighborhood.

  2. Hitlery says we need Australian style gun control so we now know that it will all be good with the Hildebeast running the show.
    Hitlery has even said that she does not want to take away our guns.
    What the Australian Government has been having forced gun buy backs and have banned entire classes of firearms types?
    Sounds reasonable and sensible.

  3. Unfortunately he also demonstrates one of the biggest problems with shooting and firearm ownership, that there are too many small clubs and groups. Over 120 that I found in a fast search here in Australia. Clubs with less than a 1000 members usually will never change government policy

    About 5% of shooters were SSAA members – Australia’s NRA equivalent before the gun grab and it is still only about 20%

    His group is vocal but very small and easily ignored by government. SSAA and NRA have more influence due to size.

    Still amazes me people will bitch about lack of rights etc and not want to pay less than $100 a year membership fee. I’m in 4 different clubs including SSAA

    • I’m afraid not a whole lot more than 5% of American Gun owners are NRA members either.

      A lot of them cry about every mistake or short-coming of the NRA (and there are plenty), but never consider joining and making a difference. It’s much easier to do smugly complain and do nothing constructive.

      Best wishes for progress down under.

    • I’m in two clubs including the SSAA, with an annual subscription rate of about $400 per year. The SSAA is the cheaper one. Add the higher costs of gun ownership here (ammunition, reloading supplies, range fees, etc), target shooting costs me about $2,500+ per year when I count all of the above.

      And we also have a lot of Fudds who think if other groups are “sacrificed”, they will be left alone. You have to wonder what goes on inside of those minds at times.

    • You are under the assumption that affordable clubs are available to them. Many of the owners are the kings men with privledge are not supporters of personal rights.

  4. “…because the typical Australian legislator (never mind citizen) conflates crimes committed with illegally owned firearms with legal civilian gun ownership.”

    This is why we must always inject in every discussion of “gun uses” crime vs defensive uses. Every time.

    The anti’s don’t conflate the numbers (and ignore defensive uses that don’t result in death, or injury, or even firing the gun) by accident, or only to pump up the numbers. They do it to destroy the distinction. Because we never talk about them, there are no “good” gun uses.

    As Breitbart said, and it’s right regardless of who said it: “Politics is downstream of culture.” Once the culture labels gun as evil, gun people as crazy, and all citizen gun uses as criminal, why would we let anybody have them?

    This is why they go so bonkers over any study that says there are useful gun uses. This is why they go so bonkers about an portrayal of sane, matter of fact gun use in press or entertainment. This is why they are so against open carry. Open carry normalizes carry, and guns, which can never be normalized.

    Even the DGU stats buy into their frame of analysis: it’s about crime and violence between people. Millions of guns are used every week, for practice, for hunting. People carry guns all the time, and nothing happens. Not death. Not violence. Not even a shot fired most of the time a gun is carried. It’s worse than that. Millions of hunters go into the woods every year, firing millions of times. Millions, hundreds of thousands, thousands of people successfully return from the woods with the critters they shot and killed … without bullet-hosing housing tracts, without drunken shoot outs between competing militia, without 3rd world levels of carnage and collateral damage.

    Well, millions of hunters, millions of citizens and police open carrying, millions of people who have a gun and never touch it … never harm or threaten anyone, millions of times a week. Probably millions a day.

    • I often like to point out that, as tragic as the loss of life may be, 30,000 deaths by firearms per year (20K suicide, 10K homicide) is a rather small number compared to the 100 million legal firearms owners in the USA, and the more than 300 million firearms in private hands. Even if each and every one of those deaths used a different firearm (which is certainly not the case), that works out to a .01 percent of firearms used to end a human life (and it’s actually less than that). In other words, more than 99.99 percent of firearms aren’t used to take a human life in the USA. That’s a pretty darned good track record.

  5. I see the huge increase in gun ownership the past 5 years and I don’t think Americans are on board with disarming. OZ did it long before terrorism entered into the forefront like today, and they don’t have the racial tensions like we do. The aboriginal people are firmly on the government teat and don’t burn cities down.
    We have a different situation and it shows in polls. What we need to finish it off is to beat back hillary and Co in november and then use federal laws against unconstitutional state laws. They don’t enjoy 10th protection when they violate the 2nd.
    Australia is probably screwed since they don’t have a way to override popular voting bought with taxes. Just like the UK it was easy to sell out for a few freebies when it’s Those People losing their scary guns. Self defense and protection is assumed to be the states job and all that.
    I spent time down under and it’s a large and interesting country for sure.

  6. Australia still has occasional mass killings, knives and arson are the usual means now.
    When coconuts want to kill, nothing is going to stop them.

    • True, but what motivates the shootings? Diversity and prog breed alienation and antipathy toward the ethnic majority, which fuels the coconuts’ nuttiness.

  7. My understanding of Australia is that the vast majority of the population lives in the urban and city areas and very few people live in the rural areas, as opposed to the United States, where it’s split about 50/50 urban and rural dwellers. In a sense, by that standard, the United States has the same problems in terms of the anti-gun mentality as Australia does, just we have a lot of rural people to counter our anti-gun urban areas. But our urban areas are about as anti-gun as Australia is.

  8. Australia’s population is very urban with over 90% in cities along coast. Geography is the main cause as big percent of the inland is technically desert giving rise to some very large areas with livestock and few people

    I grew up on cattle farm but many people never see bush (rural) areas except on tv and seem to imagine food comes from supermarket

    People in rural USA I’ve meet while there are not much different to here.

    • One of the first things I came to appreciate about Aussies is that we (I’m in Texas) have very similar senses of humor. A good joke can poke gentle fun at the other but the very best jokes poke fun at both the other and oneself. This subtle difference is usually completely lost on most Europeans and many Americans, but Aussies immediately get it. Good on ‘ya, mates. Here’s hoping for the best.

  9. Here’s a tip: Never be a subject, especially to a woman (the queen) as Australia was at one time, once you’ve surrendered your testicles you’re NEVER getting them back.

    • Took me 13 months in upstate NY to get my pistol permit. It does vary by county, of course in many counties you won’t get it at all unless you are one of the special people.

      That said upstate is not as anti gun as many people think of NY. Restrictions on long guns from the SAFE act of course are just plain stupid, what in the world makes a pistol grip so dangerous completely eludes me, same thing with adjustable stock, this is a dangerous thing? I thought these gun control laws were supposed to be common sense.

      They aren’t of course, they are just supposed to be control laws and the features in the SAFE act are just vehicles with which to designate as many firearms as they thought they could get away with placing restrictions on while maintaining a pretense of preserving ‘gun rights’.

      If it was common sense there should be some provision for things like pistol grips and adjustable stocks to be covered by the ADA, I mean what if I have a disability that requires me to have a pistol grip to be able to use the tool? That *is* common sense.

      I really wish we could leave NY tomorrow, we just aren’t in a position to pack up and move quite yet.

      /end rant

  10. Best wishes to the Aussies. They have their work cut out for them.

    I think their best chance going forward is a strategic, organized grass-roots movement. First of all, get one “club” to represent everyone at the government level. Second, have all firearms owners start taking non-firearm owners to a gun range. Third, push back HARD against political correctness and other false/destructive mindsets … like appeasement strategy, the idea that government can protect anyone, the idea that government is sovereign, and the notion that people are cannon fodder.

  11. For carrying firearms for self defense to be legal, self defense using any level of force must be legal. I’m not sure if it is in Australia. If an Australian is following this thread, I would be interested in knowing what would have been the legal situation for the Lindt Cafe hostages had they jumped Man Haron Monis and badly injured or killed him to facilitate their escape.

  12. Hop hop hop kangaroo, there are snakes in the grass, you wallabie snake bitten? I dingo think so.

  13. After reading through all the above comments, I feel kind of bad for being this flippant… but I’m doing it anyway. Ahem, “Roger Miller is at the NRA convention?!?! Was he singing ‘King of the Road’?”

  14. I’m not sure where the threshold is for when it’s necessary to kill to protect your rights, but a massive firearms confiscation like Australians saw in 1996 is over that threshold.

  15. Australia once had a distinctive, strong riflemen’s culture. Now it doesn’t. Instead, it has a submissive culture that is painful to see. As an outside observer, it seems that Australia is turning into France with kangaroos.

  16. There was an attemption to make safe defense on shall issue basic valid in germany and an group formed called GRA / German Rifle Association

    http://german-rifle-association.de/

    Nothing happend only bashing from the left wings media, politics, police and other “communistics” goverment friends.

    Today it s sillence arround the gra 🙁

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