By Dennis DeMartins
The ongoing battle over the Adler shotgun in Australia has taken a new plot twist. PM Tony Abbott who last week personally intervened to ban the Adler, pulled another fast one over firearms owners heads. Staying true to form, in the early hours of Friday morning Abbott moved the goalposts and changed the Customs Act to prohibit the importation of lever action shotguns over 5 round capacity. Not really surprising, particularly when one reads Tony Abbott’s pre-election promise to firearm owners.
Naturally, during the week the poorly written hit pieces continued and infuriated firearms owners duly responded. The pick of the bunch had to be this attempt by the ABC, claiming that the Liberal Party had traded away migration rights for a shotgun while casually omitting the fact the shotgun was already legal prior to the illegal actions of Abbott.
Later in the week, Liberal Democrats Senator David Leyonhjelm was able to earn a reprieve for firearms owners and after a meeting with Justice Minister Michael Keenan, the Adler will become available to firearms owners after 12 months.
Leyonhjelm also hosted Canadian MP Gary Breitkreuz, who was instrumental in getting the firearms registry in Canada removed in 2012.
Not to undermine the great work of Senator Leyonhjelm continuing to represent firearm owners, but it is difficult to see this as any kind of “win” for firearm owners and is essentially more of the incrementalist approach of the grabbers we all know. Further, one immediately asks the question: Why is a lever action shotgun that has never been illegal in 128 years and that only took a day to ban, is now going to take 12 months to repeal and become legal?
The answer to that is simple, and threefold:
1) Australian Federal Election will occur in the next twelve months, with the ruling Liberal/National Coalition albeit guaranteed to get kicked out (they’ve lost a million firearm owners votes just for a start among the rest of Australia they’ve pissed off)
2) The National Firearms Agreement review findings will be released, and of course;
3) 20th anniversary of the Port Arthur Massacre and, combined with point 2), the amount of emotional leverage the anti-gun crowd hope to exploit to pass further restrictions
More leaked documents surfaced this week from a National Firearms and Weapons Policy Working Group meeting from 2005 which showed that all pump, lever and even bolt action firearms were due to be banned. This just goes to show how much the NFWPWG, led by Catherine Smith (the usual faceless self appointed bureaucrat with no firearms, criminology or law enforcement experience and bigotry towards firearms owners), can be believed when the NFA review is only going to “update the technical elements of the NFA.”
It also shows you how incredibly hypocritical Michael Keenan is, when one reads his maiden speech when being elected to parliament in 2004, most notably the part about less government interference in one’s life.
Nationals Senator Bridget McKenzie, a firearm owner and instrumental in destroying the handgun grab earlier in the year, met with Keenan in Perth earlier in the week and was able to create a consultation group and get firearm owners a seat at the negotiating table. This is especially pertinent, considering firearm owners were not going to be consulted at all prior to the Adler ban.
Again, not to undermine the fantastic work of Senator McKenzie at all, but whether this group actually has some teeth and will stand up for the firearms community or becomes the usual case of “here, let’s allow them to put this group together to say we consulted them as a PR move and as an out clause, but we’ll do our own thing anyway and ban what we want,” remains to be seen.
Earlier this week, the architect of the previous gun grab, PM John Howard, announced he will be speaking at a function for gun control. As discussed previously, this is essentially the commencement of the “stand on the graves of the Port Arthur victims tour” until April 2016. This event is billed as a “non-profit fundraiser”, because nothing screams non-profit like a $400 a head.
The most notable part of the announcement had to be this zinger from the other public half of Gun Control Australia, Sam Lee, (who was destroyed this week on ABC Radio by SSAA President Geoff Davis), stated that “any disruption on the part of gun lobby groups will not be tolerated”. Ah, where would we be without the usual threat of violence and intimidation from the peace-loving anti-gun crowd? It’s also interesting to note that expressions of free speech only apply to those speaking and not those protesting, given that the current Liberal government has attempted everything it could to get speech laws relaxed. This is even more comically hypocritically, given Australian “comedian” Andrew Denton, who made a nearly three decade career on Australian television ridiculing whoever he wanted and saying whatever he wanted, will be the token celebrity, unqualified, emotive anti-gun opinion at the event.
Howard will also no doubt be doing his best to conjure up as much emotion as he can, while ignoring the fact that the buyback didn’t work, buyback guns ended up in the hands of criminals and will continue sidestepping requests for a coronial inquiry into what actually happened at Port Arthur, as he has done for the last 19 years.
Howard more than likely will also be avoiding the issue of Australia’s grossly inadequate victimhood-perpetuating self defense laws, as highlighted by TTAG earlier this week, where a Perth man was going to be charged with assault for protecting his family against a home invader until public outcry put an end to that.
Perhaps find solace in the fact WA Police’s average response time to critical incidents is now at 20 minutes.