How’s Gun Confiscation Working Out in Oz?

Well, in 1996, Australia outlawed and confiscated semi-auto and slide-action rifles and shotguns. And crime in Oz came to a standstill.

We kid, we kid.

After giving the law ten years to stabilize things, here’s what a chart of the last ten years’ gun violations in the city of Melbourne looks like:


The Age writes:

Despite Australia’s strict gun control regime, criminals are now better armed than at any time since [the 1996 ban and confiscation].

“Despite.” Heh. Whom do they think benefits most from prohibition of anything?

Shootings have become almost a weekly occurrence, with more than 125 people, mostly young men, wounded in the past five years.

While the body count was higher during Melbourne’s ‘Underbelly War’ (1999-2005), more people have been seriously maimed in the recent spate of shootings and reprisals.

More woundings, fewer fatalities? That tells us this: Australian doctors, nurses, and emergency trauma responders, too, practice continuing education, attend international trauma conferences, and keep improving their skills. (Of course, experience in all those GSWs helps in and of itself). Who knew?

Crimes associated with firearm possession have also more than doubled, driven by the easy availability of handguns, semi-automatic rifles, shotguns and, increasingly, machine guns, that are smuggled into the country or stolen from licensed owners

Did you catch that: “increasingly, machine guns”? Gee, there’s another surprise: you make it just as impossible as you can for someone to own a modern handgun or rifle, and he’s going to think. “As well hung for a sheep as a lamb,” and go for the MG. Not to mention that it is easier for a maker of improvised weapons to make an open-bolt full-auto SMG than it is to fashion a closed-bolt, functioning-disconnector semi-auto firearm. One is reminded of Oleg Volk’s classic photo commentary on this:



The Age found certain troubling factors indicating that the South Australian city was not the glowing example of peace, love and brotherhood that Australian politicians promised when they warmed up the smelters in ’96.

  • There have been at least 99 shootings in the past 20 months – more than one incident a week since January 2015
  • Known criminals were caught with firearms 755 times last year, compared to 143 times in 2011
  • Criminals are using gunshot wounds to the arms and legs as warnings to pay debts
  • Assault rifles and handguns are being smuggled into Australia via shipments of electronics and metal parts.

Of course, 99 shootings is a bad summer weekend in Chicago, but we do feel Australia’s pain.

As we have seen repeatedly, laws restrict only the honest people. The criminals, who cheerfully move millions of tons illegal freight, whole warehouses of contraband, and entire armies of personnel, criminal immigrants and trafficking victims alike, worldwide, are not finding it too much of a challenge, to move some 8-pound rifles and 2-pound pistols.

The Bronze’s answer? More laws against more stuff, because people are not impressed by the extant skein of laws.

[T]he state government is planning to introduce new criminal offences for drive-by shootings, manufacturing of firearms with new technologies such as 3D printers, and more police powers to keep weapons out of the hands of known criminals.

Now, the State Government of South Australia is a matter for the South Australians themselves, and not to be made idle sport of by distant Yanks, but we do seem to remember it is the very same government whose brilliant energy policy, based upon wind power, recently left the citizens without electricity for days on end, due to the fickle winds not responding to the magical incantations of the SA politicians. No doubt they will pass some law against the wind, or perhaps the want of wind, and it shall have as much effect as these well-meant but ill-considered gun laws.

And then there’s this finding:

The majority of firearm-related crimes are committed by those aged 20 to 34 – almost 1500 offenders were recorded for this age group last year, more than two-and-a-half times the number five years ago, according to the Crime Statistics Agency.

Gee, most criminals are young men. Who knew? We mean, aside from every criminological text, study and paper ever penned since the monographs of Sherlock Holmes. (In fact, a disproportionate percentage are young minority men, but The Age is a bit too PC to follow that thread). It never ceases to amaze us that reporters will still write about a discovery like this as if it were news. In other news, studies have determined that the majority of water is wet.

The part about smuggling is worth quoting at length. First, they try to blame legitimate owners:

2014, Australia reached a disturbing milestone – the moment when there were more legally-owned firearms in the country than before the 1996 Port Arthur Massacre.

The national gun buyback scheme launched by then Prime Minister John Howard led to the voluntary surrender of more than 700,000 firearms, but more than a million new weapons have been legally imported since.

But then they admit that the problem may lie elsewhere.

But the “diversion” of newly imported weapons – either through theft or illegal sale – is one of the biggest sources of black-market firearms, a senior law enforcement source says.

Despite Australia’s strict border controls, the smuggling of high-powered military-style firearms is also a growing problem, particularly with the country’s reliance on shipping by sea cargo and the rise of the so-called “dark web”.

Australia is a nation with no land borders anywhere, and no significant domestic firearms industry. If gun control was going to work anywhere, it would work here.

The investigation of an armed robbery of an armoured car outside a Sunbury McDonald’s last year revealed the arsenal of powerful weapons now in the hands of local criminals.

Victoria Police raids on the crew allegedly responsible for the $290,000 theft uncovered a cache of military-style weapons, including a US-made M16 assault rifle and a Thureon machine gun – a firearm never before seen in Australia. Thureons would be used in other crimes over the next year.

That bust led to the seizure of six fully-automatic assault rifles and 96 handgun frames in the US, and dozens of machine gun and handgun parts, and 10 kilograms of ammunition, in Victoria and NSW.

The raids came from the formation of a special state, national and international task force known as Operation Ironsight.

Police admitted they had only recovered four of the 11 assault rifles believed to have been smuggled into the country.

The weapons that were seized in the US were set to be smuggled into Australia in the false bottom of a shipping container. Gun components can be extremely difficult to detect when mixed with metal objects or car parts, sources say.

Given that only a fraction of sea cargo can be physically examined at the point of import, law enforcement and border authorities are deeply concerned about the vulnerability of Australia’s docks and freight terminals.

Joint operations between the AFP and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms have also intercepted a high-powered handgun concealed inside an Xbox console and parts for an assault rifle hidden in a DVD player. Both were ordered by Australians through a black market website and shipped by post from the southern United States.

Why do criminals risk prison to smuggle these goods? We would say, based on our studies of insurgency logistics (which have some similarities to criminal organization logistics), that there are several factors.

  1. They are highly motivated to acquire firearms;
  2. Smuggling is usually effective. Most smuggled goods get through (drug agencies have long suggested 90%) and many, if not most, smugglers are never caught;
  3. Rewards are immediate, certain, and significant. Punishment is delayed, uncertain, and often less significant (in the value system of a criminal);
  4. A low level of smuggling suffices;
  5. The flow of cargo can’t be interrupted and can’t be inspected, only spot-checked or inspected in the event of a tip-off or surveillance-driven break;

However firearms get onto the black market, the trade can prove very lucrative for the organised crime groups that control it.

A brand-new Glock semi-automatic pistol purchased for $700 from a legal firearms dealer in the United States will fetch $8000 to $12,000 on the streets of Melbourne.

The economics of clandestine production are similarly attractive, of course. And the more pressure the police apply, the better the economics get, for the 90% (or whatever the number actually is) of criminals that do not get caught.

Ten or twenty years from now, most Australians will not be committing crimes, and a small minority of Australians will, just like any other nation. And in neither case will the Australian gun laws be a major factor.


35 thoughts on “How’s Gun Confiscation Working Out in Oz?

  1. Fuel Filter.

    I really don’t get the guys in OZ. They seem to go in fits and starts between sanity and madness.

    From a nation that was built on the backs of the British Empire and hardened criminals to the poofters that drafted and passed the draconian, anti-free speech 18-C law, which rivals only the Canadians and the Brits in idiocy yet still refuses and turns back rapeugee boats to a nation that has no less than 12 (I think more) different political parties, well, I just don’t know what to make of it.

    There are two Aussie websites that I frequent that are sane. One is Quadrant (good stuff, sort of like what NRO *used* to be like)  and Jo Nova’s site for Glowbull Warming rationality. 

    1. LSWCHP

      Fuel… don’t judge us all by the actions of our leaders. There’s Australians, and then there’s our “elites”.

      Like most of the Western world, our upper classes have been taken over by limpwristed leftwing softcocks, who have imposed a globalist, open borders regime of lunacy upon us. Our jobs and wealth have been exported, and violent, primitive savages have been imported, all in the name of freedom and “diversity”.

      Obama in the US, Blair and Cameron in England, Trudeau in Canada, a conga line of idiots in Australia…they’re all the same.

      I dearly hope that Brexit and the Trumpening represent an awakening in the West, and a kickback against the last few decades of liberal self-destructive stupidity.

      1. Nynemillameetuh

        The question is, how and why do good men cave to limp leftists? The answer is, why do good men cave to shrews?

  2. Scott

    “[T]he state government is planning to introduce …[snip]… and more police powers to keep weapons out of the hands of known criminals.”

    Sheesh. One would think that criminals know to police should actually be out of public circulation. At least by normative standards of the meanings of the words “criminals” and “known”. Evidently, incarceration isn’t a fashionable solution?

    Silly me. I might even imagine that “more police powers” would be devoted to discovering and arresting yet unknown criminals. Still, if their police are so far behind the eight ball that they have yet to have sufficient powers to deal with known criminals, addressing yet unknown criminals would be a bridge too far.

  3. robroysimmons

    Minority must mean primarily mooslim I guess, so I guess it’s up to a criminal subculture (Islam) to rearm Oz with the good stuff. Of course when their numbers reach a certain level it will become an overt campaign of arming the holy warriors.

    Why it’s like those little brown people don’t pay any attention to our feminized elite. I am shocked

  4. Loren

    Australia actively discourages punishment of criminals. They in fact do everything in their powers to not punish them until the crims make that impossible with some egregious crime spree. Then a triumphant press will announce a moderate sentence a year or two later of which only 1/3 will be served.
    As to being settled by hardened criminals – not so. Hardened criminals were hanged in Britain. The people who were transported to Oz were low level property offenders. Seems there ancestors still feel entitled to other folks stuff.

    1. John M.

      “The people who were transported to Oz were low level property offenders. Seems there ancestors still feel entitled to other folks stuff.”

      This also happened at a time when welshing on your debts was a criminal offense. Transportation to the colonies seems more sensible than imprisonment, but these laws effectively criminalized poverty.

      -John M.

      1. Loren

        Perhaps but welshing on a debt is also a form of theft. The IRS, considers nonpayment of debt taxable income and subject to jail if that tax is not paid).
        Considering the deprivations during transport and the harshness of pre-infrastructure Australia, a year or two in jail might have been a blessing. I spend part of the year in Perth, one of the finest places on Earth but 200 years ago it was a fly blown desert.

        1. John Distai

          They also consider any bartering as “income” that must be taxed. They really leave no stone unturned or no blind alley unexplored in their quest for putting their hands into our pockets.

        2. John M.

          [shrug] I’d’ve preferred the shot at things that a new land offered me. But then again, my ancestors saw long-term opportunity in the wilds of the New World so maybe I have it in my blood. Or they got driven here by the Butcher, the Duke of Cumberland in an ethnic cleansing.

          Say, speaking of which, don’t the English owe us Scots some reparations for that episode?

          -John M.

  5. Linz

    ” most criminals are young men.”
    Ah- the ethnic, cultural & residency status breakdown might be most revealing.

    1. John M.

      Noticing that young men are prone to criminality is not badthink. Noticing that certain minorities are prone to criminality is straight-up crimethink.

      -John M.


    Just a bit of geographical correction here….Melbourne is a city in the south of Australia, but is not in the state of South Australia. I know, I know….we’re just like that over here. South Australia was the state that had the recent electrickery problems. Melbourne is that capital of the state of Victoria.

    And in breaking news, a bunch of followers of the religion of pieces have just been arrested for building an IED to be used against the kafir on Christmas day. Import Muslims, that’s what you get.

    This Christmas season I’ll be celebrating by making ammo and going to the range to practice my draw and trigger control.

  7. Jim Scrummy

    So, what happens when 3D printing gets really rocking and rolling (think Moore’s law progression)? How will the “state” stop that? Ban everything? Maybe. It still won’t work. Good to see the gun ban worked….?

  8. James In Australia

    I still have my pump action rifles, pump action shotguns were heavily restricted but not rifles.
    Nothing was outlawed in 1996, some firearms were recategorized and licensing criteria changed.
    You can buy a brand new locally made fully auto and legal M4 clone if you have the appropriate license and permits. Of course “I just want one” is not acceptable as a reason.

    As an interesting aside the ACT government has just rescinded its blanket ban on suppressors, as it discovered it had been breaking its own laws using suppressors on kangaroo culls.

  9. DaveP.

    The goal of the Aussie firearms ban (like with all major firearms bans and confiscations) isn’t to “reduce crime”. It’s to disarm the citizens, leaving them ever more dependent on the state.
    The increasing crime rate, which encourages citizens to further empower the police and government against them and to tolerate police misbehavior, is a feature and not a bug.

  10. Greg

    Strangely, no evidence has been forthcoming to support the assertion by senior police that the “vast majority” of illegal firearms are stolen from their legal owners..

  11. James In Australia

    Regarding Australia being populated by convicts, In the very early years this was largely true, but the makeup of the population has far more ancestor immigrants that arrived post transportation than transportees. Indeed something like 25% of our current population was born overseas.
    Americans that make sweeping statements about our convict past should actually do some research. Transportation predates the European settlement of Australia, anyone care to guess where they sent convicts before 1776?

    1. Hognose Post author

      Georgia, mostly. Although in Saugus, MA, there’s a 17th Century Iron Works that was abandoned and sank into a swamp. (Cue Monty Python theme…) In 1949 or so, archaeologists dug at the site and compared their findings to existing archives. One of the archival findings was that circa 1650, large numbers of Scots who had been taken in unsuccessful battles against the English (and their families) were sold to the company (think it was the Boston Bay Company) as slaves, and they (including their wives and minor children) were actually carried on the property books of the iron smelting and foundry as assets.

      The battles were Dunbar and Worcester, both of them English victories. Other Scots were sent to Barbados and Guyana, and didn’t survive; some of the shipment that came to Saugus were marched up to Maine where they labored in sawmills turning old-growth trees into masts, spars and planks for Cromwell’s (and later the Crown’s) warships.

      The ones who lived to be transported were hardy men, who had already survived the equivalent of the Bataan Death March from their battlefields to the London area.

      There’s some argument among historians about whether these slaves were the same thing as the African slaves who worked in the Southern US and Caribbean plantation economy. Apparently the Scots had the ability to work their way out of slavery, so they were more like indentured servants; and most of the ones at Saugus seem to have been freed when the iron works failed economically.

      They were outsiders in the militant protestant, Puritan society of the Boston Bay colonies. The Scots were not only defeated enemies but Catholics.

      Some links:

      Here is a 1950s documentary on the reconstruction of the forge etc in 1949-53 or so:

      1. James In Australia

        That’s an earlier start than I had thought. The main period for transportation to the American colonies was 1718- 76.
        The main impetus for starting the Australian colonies was the loss of the American colonies as a destination for transportees.

  12. Alex

    But does that ‘firearm offences’ graph include the offence of owning a banned weapon? If so then it would be expected to be a lot higher than before the gun bans.

      1. James In Australia

        Incorrect storage would show on police records as a firearms offense as would other minor infractions. In Western Australia an unlicensed person possessing an expended .22 shell is an offense……

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  14. James

    A glock going for 8-12 thousand?!Hmmm….A poly 80% pistol frame for lack of better phrase and say4-5 hundred in parts,total,say 6 hundred max,yep,see smuggling could be a risky but very lucrative business.I hope those that are still in need of firearms taking advantage of all the new ideas/tech out there.Long term hope they get back some of their freedoms/birthrights by any means necc.,till then gotta go,now where’s me damn passport!

    1. James In Australia

      I think that figure is like the values authorities put on drug seizures, any correlation to reality is a happy accident.

      1. James

        But,tis a govt. figure and on the net,has to be real!

        Seriously,hope you folks get in some decent leadershipthat listens to the people and ends the nonsense(hope we do also!).Really, tis time worldwide for some changes in the BS.

  15. JoshO`

    Wow! $8000!? 90% you say….? It seems the major limiting factor the range of available aircraft and the distance to Australia. I wonder how big of a boat I would need to cross the sea? Ya know for vacation…..

    1. Hognose Post author

      And if they somehow manage to secure the ports (hasn’t been done yet… anywhere) you can do like the Colombians and build submersibles.

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