Australian National Gun Amnesty 2.0: The Definition of Insanity?

The BBC World News Service reports that Australia’s launching another National Gun Amnesty. Normally, an Aussie convicted of owning an unregistered or otherwise illegal firearm faces a $212,730 fine and up to 14 years in prison. On July 1st, they can turn in their illegal firearms without fear of prosecution. Australian Justice Minister Michael Keenan justified the new/old program by asserting that terrorists used illegal guns in recent terror attacks in The Land Down Under, joining organized crime in the practice.

The last Australian gun confiscation turn-in went down in 1996 after the Port Arthur massacre. That’s when Martin Bryant killed 35 people and injured another 23. Despite the fact that Bryant had an I.Q. of 66 and various mental disorders (e.g., schizophrenia, Asperger syndrome and a combination of conduct disorder and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorders), Aussies used the slaughter as a pretext to “tighten” gun control.

The debate over the efficacy of Australia’s draconian gun control regime continues. As in California, Australian antis take credit for crime rates that were already trending downwards before the government set about disarming the citizenry. So where are they in that process? gives us the 411 on the island nation’s current firearms ownership landscape.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics shows the nation has since imported almost 1.2 million legal guns. Military-style, semi-automatic assault rifles continue to be banned from public ownership.

There are 2.89 million registered guns among 24 million Australians, an increase of 9.3 percent in the past five years, the report said. An Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission report released last year estimated there could be as many as 600,000 unregistered guns in Australia.

Most illegal guns in Australia were legally owned before 1996, when guns did not have to be registered. They were not handed in during the buyback and there are no records that they even exist, the report said.

There’s been little to no opposition to the new national amnesty campaign. No howls of indignation about the government working so hard to restrict and deny citizens their right and ability to defend themselves by force of arms. Apparently, that was settled a long time ago.


  1. avatar Jeff K says:

    Roll over and play dead, get killed anyhow.

    1. avatar Dave says:

      Aussie politicians and bureaucrats responsible for this punk-thuggish law need to be visited by bad guys. Aussie gun owners and other freedom-loving people need to take to the streets a la Gandhi and make life miserable for the criminal (freedom- and safety-depriving) politicians and bureaucrats. The other option: keep your “illegal” weapons hidden and worry that you may be discovered. That’s no way to live.

  2. avatar Henry Bowman says:

    Meanwhile open bolt guns are still be made by the dozen.

  3. avatar Realist says:

    People claim that Australian gun control reduced crime, but neighboring New Zealand, with gun laws similar to the US’s had a similar drop in crime at the same time with no new laws.
    Both countries have the same murder rate and therefore equally dangerous. Australians are more likely to beat you to death, New Zealanders are likely to shoot you. Humans are vicious critters and will use whatever tools are at hand to achieve a desired result.

    1. avatar KenW says:

      And both had economies that were not doing so hot during the period where gun violence was up.
      Both economies have improved since and violence went down.

      1. avatar Sparky in WI says:

        +1 to both the above. However this would mean politicians and so called leaders would need to critically think and be able to look past agenda and panic, and look to cause and effect relationships. It also means they would need to look at and understand underlying factors. This is something no politicians seem to be able to accomplish today.

    2. avatar Mike says:

      Not quite accurate as NZ ( I live here) has had several law changes that have created illogical differences between firearms. We have an “A” category semi automatic which is magazine of 7 rounds maximum no pistol grip ( thumb hole stock required) no flash hider ( Muzzle break is fine) or bayonet lug so a ” safe firearm”? and an “E” category which has any of the “naughty” features and is unsafe and requires a much harder licence process.
      Our firearm laws are more like a car licence system. The Police still vet you and decide if you are suitable to own a firearm. They are for the most part unregistered however but only recently the Police wanted all firearms registered again and thankfully common sense has prevented it (for now).

  4. avatar Chris T in KY says:

    There comes a time when you have to let a drug addict go. You gave them advice. You’ve tried. Nothing worked. They (the nation) will have learn a very terrible lesson as they have continued to allow murders and rapist to enter Australia.
    The leaders are addicted to power. And they will not listen.

  5. avatar American says:

    A former penal colony has a fear of criminals getting their hands on guns.
    Oh the irony.

    1. avatar Cadeyrn says:

      Now that’s a funny point right there.

    2. avatar strych9 says:

      Also interesting, the UK has stricter gun/weapons laws and higher rates of crime pretty much across the board than does their former penal colony (not every state was actually a penal colony).

      For a country of criminals the Aussies are remarkably more civilized than the nation that created them.

    3. avatar GunDoc says:

      And yet this former penal colony (USA) decided (for the most part) to reject the warden’s boot on their neck, and as a result, have forged a very different country from a similar origin.

    4. avatar Scarpee says:

      The issue was never one that the majority wanted. As usual it was a minority. To gain major support something had to be done. An example had already been put to the test in the UK with Dunblane. Then it was Australia’s turn for the litmus test.

      Now we’re all walking targets

    5. avatar Mike says:

      Just a small point of History the American Colonies were also a penal dumping ground for Britain prior to the revolution. The only reason Australia got settled was Britain needed a new place to dump the “criminals”. I use criminals loosely as stealing a loaf of bread or some handkerchiefs isn’t really a crime worthy of being sent to the other side of the world for 7 years for.

  6. avatar Mikeoregon says:

    This seems to be a typical government response, ” if the law, program, policy or agency doesn’t have the desired result just do more, go farther with regulations and increase spending”.

    1. avatar The Gray Poseur says:

      Yes, it’s called Doubling Down.

      The Liberal Mantra

  7. avatar Geoff PR says:

    I look at those ads and say to myself –

    “Oh, yes, that could happen here. But not if I can help it…”

    1. avatar TrueBornSonofLiberty says:

      It could happen here. But only after the subsequent war and tens of millions that would be killed in it.

  8. avatar Science is real says:

    Let’s not make up any data or be afraid of applying statistics and science to the study of firearm effects. Here it is in JAMA 2016.

    CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE Following enactment of gun law reforms in Australia in 1996, there were no mass firearm killings through May 2016. There was a more rapid decline in firearm deaths between 1997 and 2013 compared with before 1997 but also a decline in total nonfirearm suicide and homicide deaths of a greater magnitude. Because of this, it is not possible to determine whether the change in firearm deaths can be attributed to
    the gun law reforms.

    1. avatar Excedrine says:

      Speaking of real data, here’s some to counter the already-defunct, long since bought-and-paid-for conclusions of people with no credentials in fields of inquiry that are actually relevant to the discussion.

      As you may know, many Australians (and people from all around the world in general) think that your country (among others) is a role model that the U.S. should follow. However, two very important studies of your 1996 National Firearms Agreement completely disagree with this statement.

      A ten-year study, lead by Dr. Samara McPhedran and published in the British Journal of Criminology, found that the $500M AUD spent on the mass confiscation and destruction of previously-legal firearms had absolutely no effect whatsoever on homicide or suicide rates.

      Yet another five-year study, produced by Wang-Sheng Lee and Sandy Suardi from your University of Melbourne and published in the Melbourne Institute’s Working Paper series, confirmed Dr. McPhedran’s conclusions and no others.

      Dr. McPhedran even testified to this fact before a recent Australian Senate Inquiry, which had looked into – among other things – banning semi-automatic handguns. Needless to say , gun control advocates were rightly and completely humiliated.

      Before that same Senate Inquiry, Australian Federal Police Assistant Commissioner Julian Slater had freely admitted that not only do they have no clue what exactly what kinds of contraband were getting through, but they only know about what they somehow by some miracle manage to intercept. As I’m sure you may be well aware, and even if you’re not you will be now, Australia’s porous borders and low population density – coupled with deeply corrupt postal and customs services – make it a veritable smuggler’s paradise.

      More analyses of U.S. domestic and Australian gun control laws have been done besides the brilliant work of Dr. McPhedran, and Wang-Sheng and Saudri, on both sides of the Atlantic and Pacific. Their findings match those of the former researchers almost exactly.



      A Deputy Director from the Australian Institute of Criminology also testified before the Senate Inquiry, and explicitly stated that only 5 of the 48,000+ handguns in the Australian state of Victoria had been stolen. To complicate matters further, the AFP even admitted they had not even bothered to examine the AIC’s report on gun thefts at all.

      After the Port Arthur shooting, there were also the Quakers Hill and Childer’s Palace arson attacks, the Black Saturday Bushfires – which were deliberately lit in case you needed a reminder – the Cairns Stabbings, the Lockhart Shooting, and the Monash University Shooting. The 1996 NFA didn’t stop the massacres from happening, but only changed the methods in which they are carried out. Especially not when many thousands of guns handed over to the government for destruction in 1996 were then illegally resold to criminals – many of which have still never been recovered, and have very likely been used in crimes since. Some were indeed recovered though, in the private collections of police officers.

      Guns are taken from Melbourne’s own ‘Red Zone’ every two days – all from “prohibited” persons – and by the thousands every single year — and that’s just one metropolitan area in one city.

      Even police and military armories are broken into with mind-boggling regularity, to the tune of dozens of times – and that’s just in the state of Victoria and the port of Sydney.

      Isn’t it any wonder that only after the states of Victoria, Queensland, and Tasmania were excluded from all crime statistics reports by both the Australian Bureau of Statistics and the Australian Institute of Criminology from 2010 onwards there begins an appreciable drop in Australia’s violent crime rates across the board?

      Indeed, wonders never cease. Especially when criminals receive hundreds of pistols at a time through the mail and several times every year, made especially easy by Australia’s institutionalized corruption of its Customs services – not to mention that of individual officials, as well.

      Even if criminals couldn’t receive their guns through the Sunday Post, they can just as easily make them or have them made-to-order. These aren’t those shoddy rusticles of zip-guns you’d expect to find in a jail cell, either, but finely machined MAC-11 sub-machine guns – complete with 32-round magazines and silencers.

      In conclusion, yes, it is only correct to assume that Australia’s gun control laws definitively had zero effect on either crime or suicide rates (and that the only ones making up any data or are afraid to apply statistics are gun control advocates) full stop. This is for a wide variety of reasons. Given the level of sophistication of the criminal enterprises that were created by Prohibition in the U.S., and now during the morbidly hilarious failure of the “War on (Some) Drugs” around the world, the only logical conclusion that can be drawn about a prohibition on guns – which is what you have by-and-large in Australia – is that equally large and sophisticated criminal enterprises will arise to fulfill the demand for guns. This can, as quite thoroughly demonstrated above if I do say so myself, can and will be accomplished in a number of ways: clandestine domestic manufacture, surreptitious importation from abroad, and widespread theft.

      Australia is plagued by the first and the second. America is plagued by the second and third.

      To give you an example of the futility of banning an item to which is attached very high demand, some 1.6 million pounds of marijuana was seized by the U.S. DEA in 2010 – and that’s only a very small percentage of what is believed to have made it across the border. It is reasonable to assume that the shear amount of arms, ammunition, and accoutrement that can occupy the same space as 800 tons of plant matter is quite sufficient to arm a significant portion of the U.S. criminal element.

      These dreadful shortcomings demonstrate a basic and willful failure of Prohibitionists to understand or even acknowledge the market forces governing anything for which there is significant demand. It is the primary reason why central economic planning has only proved an unmitigated disaster everywhere it’s been tried. More basically, they fail to realize or consciously ignore the fact that when people want something, someone will get it for them. The harsher the ban, the higher the profit motive. The higher the profit motive, the more risks criminals will be willing to take to satisfy their market. A market that WILL be satisfied and in full, regardless of whatever laws are passed and how strictly they are enforced. There are deeper reasons for this failure than simply flat-out flunking ECON 101. Those who trade in prohibited goods are, by definition, criminals who are engaged in a criminal enterprise without the benefits of redress the courts or any other avenue of dispute resolution or of police protection. When an enterprise can’t: take out a loan, open a bank account, establish credit, file a lawsuit, or have police respond to an alarm, it becomes necessarily more violent to protect its financial and territorial interests and to affect resolutions over contractual disputes. Essentially, prohibition of highly desirable goods can only function to increase overall violence and disregard for the law as a basic factor of prohibition. One must accept this as a basic premise and then try to reconcile the increased violence and criminality coupled with the inevitable encroachment on individual liberty with any perceived utility of the prohibition.

      As the world slowly comes to the realization that prohibition of drugs, with the focus now being primarily on cannabis, has very little if any utility in the face of extremely high demand we begin to move away from banning it.

      Considering that those who smuggle, steal, and manufacture weapons and their customers will obviously still be armed, the level of violence in the wake of an Australian-style prohibition would be unprecedented. Once one factors in the unique culture surrounding guns and civil rights in the U.S., the increasingly ubiquitous support for the Second Amendment and the right it protects, and American’s historical resistance to tyranny, the violence may very well escalate into that of armed insurrection.

      Mass civil disobedience is already the order of the day, and police departments are already realizing the logistical absurdity of such an endeavor in actually enforcing registration or, Heaven forbid, a mass confiscation. In fact, many law enforcement officials have already announced their intentions to not enforce such laws at all.

      Also given that firearms are very durable items, with many examples lasting 500 years or more with proper care and maintenance, and that upwards of 406 million (as of 2015) are already thought to be present in the hands of up to 128 million Americans, it’s highly unlikely that any prohibition would succeed at all as confiscation must immediately follow – as it did in Australia – to realize any utility at all.$FILE/13SenState0304AttachC.pdf

      All this having been said, advocacy for prohibition of firearms can only be seen as either ill informed (as in being simply unaware of the consequences) or malicious (aware of the inevitable and invariable failure of the prohibition and the increased criminality and violence and potential to destabilize society and government and possibly to result in violent revolution). It’s either one or the other. There is NO third option.

      Pick one.

      1. avatar 16V - invaders says:

        I haven’t read all the references yet, but if they’re worth a F (and I assume they are), nicely done. I pretty sure you have exceeded my longest and most sourced diatribe since (almost) day one of this blog. (Back when I used to make the effort.)

        I have neither the time nor patience anymore to crank stuff like that out, so thanks. If the sources are decent (and I’ve never seen you be a tool) at least one person besides yourself, appreciates the tome, and the work that went into it.

        1. avatar Geoff PR says:

          I just randomly checked a few, and they were all good. Copied and saved, thanks Excedrine!

          BTW, your ‘puter is gagging again, 16V – invaders


        2. avatar 16V says:

          Geoff, thanks. Operator error, and inattention…

      2. avatar Ironhead says:

        Darn it excedrine….. you gave me a headache!
        Its from trying to process all that information…. well written and good references.

      3. avatar John Trusten says:

        Many Thanks for this reference

      4. avatar Jacques says:

        That is the most factual and meaningful response to gun control arguments that I have ever read. Well done.

      5. avatar cisco kd says:

        Excedrine is only capable of cutting and pasting others peoples posts, he cannot and has not ever posted any in depth discussion on any topic expressing his own viewpoint and backing it up with his own information. He sees the world as black and white as most uneducated people often do.

        The real facts are that there has been no mass shootings since the Austrian gun ban went into effect thereby vindicating the anti-gun people and their law. The recent terrorist attack by the Muslim man in a restaurant I believe was done with a shotgun. If the man would have had access to a high capacity assault rifle the death toll would have been at least a hundred rather than just a few when the police stormed the building and killed him.

        The other example was the recent attack in England. There the terrorists were even prevented from qualifying to buy a shotgun because they knew they would be thoroughly vetted so they were forced to use knives and high capacity guns are outlawed all together.

        Are there still illegal weapons in Australia yes, but damn few and those that are out there sell for outrageous prices if the owner is even willing to sell them and take the chance that he will go to prison right along with the criminal he sold it too. Psycho’s become mentally ill because often they are unemployable and because they have no jobs do not have the money to buy what few illegal weapons that are out there for sale. They are also impulse killers and one day they want to kill and the next they may not even remember wanting to kill. Finding illegal weapons can be very difficult in countries that have confiscated them like Australia did so the terrorist could not find one quickly and if he had he would not have probably had the money to buy it anyway. He proved that by being forced to use a shotgun which is low capacity not high capacity like the weapons outlawed.

        So the other side of the story is that no law is 100 per cent fool proof but often they do indeed prevent mass killings and Australian history has proven it since this law was passed. I am sure this is way over the head of Excedrin who is only capable of mouthing the propaganda of other people’s view points that he agrees with.

        1. avatar Dave says:

          There are no assault rifles–only assault people. Why aren’t knives used in attacks called assault knives? There is no proof that gun banning in Australia has resulted in no terrorist mass shootings there. That is just a coincidence. Gun banners suck big time, period, and should be burglarized.

  9. avatar former water walker says:

    “Turn in your duck shootin’ gun”…so hunting guns are a menace? What a pathetic continen… er country. Let’s let the muzzies have it.

  10. avatar WhiteDevil says:

    What the monkey chooses to do with the technology is not an indictment of the technology itself.

  11. avatar DaveW says:

    Just as in England today, the people want their guns back. Criminal activity is on the rise; a boom that began right after Australia’s ban took effect; including radical Muslims, drug cartels, street gangs, etc. Many police officials and conservatives attribute this to the loss of fear of being injured or killed while committing a crime. There has been an increase of both property (auto theft, burglary, etc) and personal crimes (assaults, rapes, robberies, etc). Australia has a serious problem with illegals and with radical Muslims.

    Shortly after the ban took effect, the liberal PM was ousted and a conservative was elected.

    For the record, the worst nation for firearms use by one person against another is the nation of El Salvador, and it’s capital city, San Salvador. It has become the murder capital of the world and tourists are warned to either not go there, or to be extra cautious especially after sunset.

  12. avatar Kyle says:

    When estimates are that some 80% of guns were never confiscated….i mean “turned In”….i’m often surprised there has been some “pushback” on their gun laws in Australia

  13. avatar AFGus says:

    I spent some time in Australia in the late seventies when I was TDY with the USAF. We went to Darwin to teach the Aussie Air Force to work on the new F-111C fighters that they purchased from the United States. I was impressed with the Aussie’s at that time as they were very much like the people in the US. They held the same principles regarding Freedom of Speech and being able to bear arms. I made some lifelong friends while there, and I am very sad to see their country going the way of the UK. They were very much their own people back then (1979), and it is very sad that their government is now turning them into Socialist wimps who will now be at the mercy of criminals and lawbreakers. As we here in the US who have half a functioning brain know……criminals will “always” get their hands on firearms, no matter how intrusive the laws are against law abiding citizens. The law abiding will be the losers, as they “always” are in Socialist/Marxist style governments. The only advice that I can give to the Aussie’s who remember what it was like to have rights to be able to defend themselves, their families and their property…..”Fight”! Fight back! Don’t let your government turn you into “victims”. It will be hard, but then…..everything worth fighting for is “hard”.

  14. avatar RCC says:

    Scream rant rave etc.

    I’m flying home tomorrow after 4 months in Canada and USA so not up to date on this grab. The last one took a lot of firearms that were legal but the “expert” staff used to tell people that they had to hand things in anyway.

    Plus enterprising people making all sorts of “machine gun” parts the then sold to the buy back centres. I got a $1000 for a tricked up Ruger 10/22. 300% profit.

    Plenty of long arms of all types before the grab. I have been in rooms with over a 100 firearms several times back in the 1980’s and I can’t imagine that all those were surrendered or even counted. The 3 million figure is probably off by at least 50% if. Or more.

    Total mess corrupted mess overall

    There was never an option in Australia to carry concealed firearms for self defence for the public since the 1880’s gold rushes.

    1. avatar ColdNorth says:

      Your post raises an important question for me. How common were pump-action shotguns before the grab and re-classification? Here in Canada, if they are declining in popularity it’s only because semi-autos have gotten so cheap (but I suspect they are at least being bought as back-ups). If a similar restriction had occurred here in the 90s, it would mean pretty much every single hunter and farmer would be turning in their pump-action shotgun. Doubles seemed to be declining rapidly in popularity- mainly owing to the rapidly rising costs.

      In general, were pump-actions fairly popular before the grab, or did doubles still see a lot of use?

  15. avatar RCC says:

    Pumps were popular but semi probably more so. I had both

    Lever action now very popular as well.

    You can still own semi auto and pump action if you want to do the paperwork to show you need it for work or similar.

  16. avatar RCC says:

    One of my cousins used to be F111 navigation and survived ejecting with USA pilot

  17. avatar Rimfire says:

    One reads “Personal Protection is No Reason to Have A Gun”, wow, just wow! I always mistakenly viewed the Aussies as a common sense, no nonsense type until I saw that and the confiscation . Similar to Nazi Germany, ordered to turn in weapons prior to some arbitrary deadline.

    Maybe common sense will once again prevail some day there? I’m not holding my breath until it may happen.

    One of my Winchester .22’s is a Model 310. It’s action was built in Australia either by or for Winchester. It is a high quality, highly accurate, bolt action. I have thousands of rounds of Winchester of Australia .22 ammo also, so unique and different than the American stuff.

  18. avatar FedUp says:

    For all you blokes who refused to sell us your guns 20 years ago, for a limited time only, we’ll allow you to give us your guns for free!

    Now who could pass up a great deal like that?

  19. avatar John Dennis says:

    When the Australian SAS foundation was in the process of finalizing a commemorative stamp. The design was first rejected because the statists said that you can’t put an image of a gun there. Some strings had to be pulled before it was approved. That’s what that country has become.

  20. avatar Southern Cross says:

    As an Aussie, I can say this amnesty is a massive smoke-and-mirrors exercise. The states have rolling on-going amnesties and you can take a firearm to a dealer any time. The state registries found it better to get the undocumented firearms on the books than to make things too difficult.

    For legal and licensed firearm owners there is nothing new. Other than a few rusty relics most of the surrendered firearms are likely to be hot crime guns that will be destroyed to obfuscate investigation.

  21. avatar Ross says:

    I remember the billboards at train stations picturing an FNFAL and a fishing rod……. “Turn that into this”, I will be there next month I wonder if I will see these same pathetic billboards again.

  22. avatar GS650G says:

    The jihadiis are anxiously awaiting the gun turn in there.

  23. avatar RCC says:

    My favourite question for years when I’m trying to talk to fence sitters about firearms in Australia is ok Port Arthur was the biggest mass killing in our history what’s the next two?

    No one has got it yet.

    They are both by fire – Childers backpackers in 2000 (I used to work in the same street and was transferred 2 years before the fire) and Brisbane nightclub in 1973. 15 people killed at each.

    As Southern said it’s just more smoke and mirrors to blame legal owners for crimes they have nothing to do with.

  24. avatar bryan1980 says:

    14 years AND a six-figure fine for owning an illegal firearm? Do the murderers even get that stiff of a penalty over there?

  25. avatar Old Region Fan says:

    212,730 ?

  26. avatar IYearn4nARnCali says:

    Oh, so THIS is what I can start expecting to happen in California once Gavin Newsom becomes Governor. Fun fun fun in the sun sun sun!

  27. avatar Cadeyrn says:

    CNN story yesterday: 1300 children murdered each year by guns. .

    Actual pediatric journal linked in the article here

    Table 1: There were zero (0) children between ages 0 and 12 killed on average per year in the study period. The table is displayed a little strangely, you have to use the slider bar at the bottom to move over to see the relevant (blank) columns for that age group, but it is there.

    Moreover, the FBI data here
    shows only 530 homicides of all people under 18 in 2015.

    Other studies show teens joining gangs at 13 and up. All of the “children” killed in that study would have to be in the older group between 13 and 17. So, I ask again: does America have a gun problem or a gang problem?

    Well, there are now 30,000 gangs in the US.

    From the same article “In a typical year in the so-called “gang capitals” of Chicago and Los Angeles, around half of all homicides are gang-related; these two cities alone accounted for approximately one in four gang homicides recorded in the NYGS from 2011 to 2012.”

    Chicago alone surpassed 700 murders in 2016 and it is believed 90% are due to gangs.

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