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Twisting the Barrel

by Tim McKnight

The United States and Australia share many similarities.  We speak the same language though with interestingly different accents, our nations both began as British colonies, and our cultures, political systems and laws are based on the same Judeo-Christian moral traditions.  We’re both on the short list of countries people risk their lives to enter for a shot at a better future.  But there are some clear incongruities too: the USA has a republican form of government, whereas Australia is still a member of the Commonwealth, with a distant Queen Elizabeth II as our official head of state and a prime minister instead of a president.  Australia’s national fauna emblem is healthy and delicious if cooked correctly.  And Americans just don’t seem to “get” the gentlemanly game of cricket…

Snide humor aside, one point of glaring difference is that the U.S. boasts a constitutionally enshrined right for its people to keep and bear arms.  Here in Australia, we do not enjoy that right; in fact, Australia has no U.S.-style Bill of Rights at all to protect citizens against abuses of power by the national government. This may be because Australia, like Canada, has never really had to fight for its independence from the British Crown. Was the lack of a similar inclusion simply an oversight, or did the staunchly pro-British founders of modern Australia want to avoid the risk of losing another colony to armed and disgruntled freedom fighters?

We officially became a nation instead of a colony on January 1, 1901, through an Act of Parliament.  Australia’s gun culture has always been a relatively low-key one.  Firearms have mainly been employed for reducing vermin such as rabbits, foxes, wild pigs, and at times even kangaroos, as well as hunting, law enforcement, and recreational shooting.  While until quite recently most types of gun were available commercially, firearm ownership in urban regions and gun-related violence with legal arms has traditionally been low.

So what has triggered Australia’s gradual slide into drastic gun control?  The Great Southern Land has no comparable basis of law to the second amendment, meaning Australia’s federal government has no legal compulsion to allow Australians the same gun rights (and responsibilities) Americans have.  Strictly speaking, gun legislation falls entirely within individual State jurisdiction because there is no provision in Australia’s Constitution to deal with firearms, a fact that had led to a hodge-podge of gun storage and licensing laws across the country.  The Port Arthur massacre in April 1996 changed everything.  Mentally ill Martin Bryant opened fire with an AR-15 and an L1A1 SLR on tourists and the café operators of the infamous penal colony in Tasmania, killing 35 and wounding 21. Australia had seen multiple shootings before, but nothing on such a scale.  Naturally the nation was stunned, just as with Columbine and other horrific incidents.  Attention quickly focused on the guns Bryant used more than on his mental state, however, and newly elected Prime Minister John Howard wasted no time in convincing the States to adopt the recommendations of the National Committee on Violence.  The committee’s 1988 report advised banning all semi-automatic rifles as well as pump-action and semi-automatic shotguns.

Shooters’ groups were incensed at the ban and attempted to negotiate compromises such as crimping magazines to reduce their capacity, but these suggestions were rejected.  Moreover, Australia’s mainstream media characterized shooters as a mob of unsophisticated rednecks, which eroded public support amongst the fear campaign.  Howard’s compromise was the gun buyback scheme, which saw gun owners who handed in their banned weapons receive financial compensation.  The guns were destroyed in a macabre specter that brings to mind the twisted pistol sculpture in front of that bastion of “freedom and integrity,” the United Nations headquarters.  Such was the bitter blow to people who owned and used their firearms legally and safely, having their property confiscated due to the actions of one individual.  New regulations meant States also tightened licensing and storage laws to make gun purchase a stiflingly bureaucratic affair, consisting of 28-day waiting periods, safety courses, background checks, license tests, and proof of safe storage.  Gun owners must now also be registered with an accredited gun club; however, a few exemptions are allowed for primary producers.  What the gun control laws boil down to is the fact that weapons which would be most effective in dealing with government tyranny are now unattainable in Australia.

Of all the various organizations threatening the second amendment in the United States—and any form of gun ownership in Australia—are the people who have the most to lose should their economic and political shell game be exposed to the cold, hard light of day.  I’m speaking, of course, of executive government, members of Congress and Parliament, and the financiers who run the show.  Their job is mainly done in Australia because the vast majority of rapid-fire weapons have been destroyed, with little effective opposition.  The socialist Australian Greens, a minor party currently propping up the unstable minority Labor government, seems determined to also ban semi-automatic handguns due to their purported preference by criminals. Thankfully they’re not gaining much attention on this issue at present.

But the U.S. Constitution, or more accurately its second amendment, has erected some bothersome hurdles that the political masters believe need dismantling before the goal of gun control can be achieved.  One advantage freedom-loving Americans possess is the politically powerful gun lobby, with the NRA its most prominent public face.  While the NRA occasionally embarrasses itself with some, frankly speaking, callous comments, it has done much to preserve the right for Americans to sufficiently defend themselves and their families against crime.  America would arguably be much worse off without it.  Australia’s gun-rights lobby, by contrast, has a much lower profile with the Sporting Shooters Association of Australia (SSAA) being the primary representatives.  The SSAA does good work in standing up for shooters’ interests, but lacks the political clout to reverse Australia’s gradual and undeniable slide into more restrictive gun laws.

In attempts to suppress likely opposition to their increasingly authoritarian and corrupt policies, presidents, especially from Clinton onwards, have spent much political capital to overtly and surreptitiously champion gun control legislation.  Republicans in the main are just as guilty as Democrats here, with the odd notable exceptions like Ron Paul and Bob Barr refusing to buckle under pressure to shred the Constitution.  Legislation such as the Brady Bill, the assault weapons ban (from the 1994 Crime Bill), and the dubiously named Patriot Act, plus stealthy executive orders and signing statements have been supported by both parties to enforce gun confiscation in such natural disasters as Hurricane Katrina or terrorist incidents – whether contrived or real.  Like his position on pretty much anything of substance, however, in public Barack Obama has been effectively sitting on the fence in regard to gun control.  Obama’s intransigence may not last if the proverbial muck hits the economic fan, particularly if civil unrest grows in response to a deteriorating economy, erosion of civil liberties through end-runs around the Bill of Rights (all for your protection, of course), banker bailouts, false terror alerts and runaway corruption.

Firearms are and will remain an effective way to repel those who want to do you harm.  So, my American friends, stay true to what your Founding Fathers provided in the early days of the republic.  Or risk losing a lot more than just your guns.

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  1. How apropos! Our Aussie friend has expounded on the very real fact that, if ever needed, we Americans could deal with a government run amuck. Its too bad Aussies do not possess such rights. Lets face it, we all fear the attack of criminals, rioters, or looters. We know that when serious natural disasters strike, law enforcement deteriorates to the extent the average person could be on their own for at least up to the first thirty six hours.
    When law enforcement officials made the rounds in New Orleans in Katrina’s aftermath, they could have been out to save those in need or dealing with the looters. But no, those officials were out to confiscate weapons from law abiding citizens who stayed to protect their homes. Later, supposedly, laws were passed to make sure this never happens again. Wanna bet the government has or will create a way around that?
    In truth, law abiding citizens will end up hiding their guns & lying, so they can keep them for use if needed. And in truth, they will probably need them to defend themselves from their own government. We have already seen & heard many politicians & those types with a great deal of suspiciously influential power with government, lay into all sorts of verbal assaults on average Americans. Liberals already hold average Americans in contempt. Just look at Obama’s comments about guns & religion. Power is what liberals, socialists love & want. Power with armed citizens will not last. Once disarmed, over the decades, it is remarkable how many governments eventually turned on their own citizens and murdered them.
    So yes, we must stand up & protect that right & all our rights. And we must be constantly vigilant to those who mockingly assert its no big deal to just limit or register or require storage of, our guns.

  2. Gun confiscation worked REAL well in Oz. Crime went *UP* after the criminals
    realized that law-abiding citizens were disarmed and ez pickin’s.
    Homicide: up 3.2% for the whole country
    Assault: up 8.6%
    Armed robbery: up almost 45%!! (guess the bad guys didn’t turn theirs in)
    “dramatic increase” in home burglaries and assaults on the elderly
    Homicides in the state of Victoria: up 300%

    More guns = Less crime.
    It’s a fact.

    • dans-in-co, I seriously doubt your numbers here. Have you checked these facts on or one of the other factoid websites. There was a lot of bad information being bandied around after the Aussies were required to turn in their guns. Much of it was not true and some of your numbers look like they might have come from the faulty numbers that have been around for years.

      If I am wrong, I apologize in advance.

      • One of these replies suggested the commentor check his facts with “Snopes”. Snopes has been PROVEN
        beyond a shadow of doubt to modify facts to a progressive socialist agenda. If you are so naive to blindly believe Snopes then you are among the sheep being herded. The owners of the Snopes site have financial and political ties to Soros’s Open Society and the rest of the left’s underhanded groups.

        To rely on Snopes to help make up your mind if something is true is believing a lie.

  3. Many thanks to our wellinformed Austrailian friend. As for a beloved America; For those who don”t believe that we live in the most brainwashed country in the world; please let me point out just 3 things of one trade in this country. All silver fillings are 50% Mercury and they have been putting them in peoples mouths sense the 1820’s and still doing it,,,,,,,,,All Root Canals are simply toxic and they have known about that sense 1925 and covered up by a few………………..Flouride; a great rat, cockroach poison. We permit them to put it into our drinking water hand our politicans allow it by believing there outragous so called studies. However it does cause molting of the teeth and weaking of the bones. That is just 3 of many items from one of our trades.
    WAKE UP AMERICA Please listen and support some of really good honest Politicians that know what is going on and by all means support Patriots like Congressman Ron Paul and others like him………George

  4. How would we fight against tanks and drones if our government decides to take our weapons? Wasn’t Waco an experiment to see exactly how we would react to the government interfering with peoples personal freedom? They used the media to feed us what they wanted us to believe and for the most part, we bought it. Our weapons will protect us against criminals and maybe stop those that are hungry and not prepared to feed themselves, but against our govenment…….. the only thing that would save us is our soldiers who would refuse to kill citizens at the beck and call of the politicans.

    • It no longer matters that our soldiers will not fire against American citizens. Thanks to the UN and to our noble political leaders, our political leaders will be hiding behind UN mercenaries. No American soldiers will be sent against us.

  5. Obama”s biggest problem is that America is armed within and REALIZES that it is really to defend itself aganist Obama. Remember, Hilter was a socialist just like Obama. Most of the idiots who elected Obama do not have the brains to know who he really is.

  6. Our Aussie writer should consider one other thing that may, in the future, become a problem for Australia – that being the Muslim population. If you continue to let them immigrate into Australia to the extent that their numbers reach 20% of the population, they will take over your entire country. They will be allowed in in the name of multiculturalism, which is denounced by leaders around the world as being a huge failure. Even if you don’t let so many in that they make up 20% of your population, they will make babies until the cows come home and grow their own population, until they have achieved their goals of world domination by islam.

  7. In addition to all of the comments, above, please be supportive of a group that receives little attention (maybe by design) and join them if you feel inclined. They are the “Military, Veterans, and peace officers who will honor their oaths to defend the Constitution, will NOT “just follow orders”.” They are called the Oath Keepers. Nearly every public office in which an oath is taken, requires a promise to “defend the Constitution” and does not promise to blindly follow orders. Any order given, by anyone in authority, to commit an act forbidden in our constitution CAN be refused, as the oath was to defend the Constitution.

    Military personnel, police officers and others all across our great Country are joining and re-affirming their oath to “defend the Constitution”. Many are allowed to add the Oath Keeper patch to their uniforms. They are the ones we will not have to fear and the ones who will help protect us from the UN and Obama’s private army, he promised to form during his campaign. Check out their website.

    • You got that right. The U.S. military will not turn on the American people. I know, I’m a veteran and a member of Oath Keepers.

  8. I need to correct Tim the writer of this piece our country Australia AKA COMMONWEATH OF AUSTRALIA is a registered corporation on the S.E.C in the U.S.A link here : We here in Australia are still actually a colony a hidden colony and I draw the readers attention to the courageous legal work & investigations done by the men behind the website they have uncovered that the elected Government and the entire Judicial System of Australia are totally unlawful, fraudulent and invalid! This has enormous ramifications when considering International Treaties entered into by the these Governments, any Australian political appointments, the banking laws, the whole Court System, just to name a few, have NO legitimacy and are totally null and void. And hey Tim they never got my guns mate I handed in some clapped out pieces of shit and the Govt paid me handsomely, there are many of us who can still get access to our weapons if we need to when the time comes one day. Keep ya chins up my American brothers we will prevail over the NWO evil banksters & Co keep sending info out daily to expose the scum at the top!!!!

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