Note: This is part two of a series. You can read part one here.
Applicants for a gun owner’s licence are required to prove a ‘genuine reason’ to possess a firearm. Under Australian law, personal protection is not in any way considered a genuine reason. The carrying of knives and blades without reasonable excuse is also a summary offence. In my state of New South Wales, the Summary Offences Act 1988 – Sect 11C (3) clearly states, “It is not a reasonable excuse for the purposes of this section for a person to have custody of a knife solely for the purpose of self defence or the defence of another person.” Carrying a knife without reasonable excuse would almost certainly land you in court and facing a heavy fine and/or criminal conviction.
Let me provide a relatively recent and high-profile example concerning the use of a knife for self-defence purposes in Australia. In 2011, 30-year-old convicted criminal Azzam Naboulsi was killed by 54-year-old Donald Brooke during a home invasion in southwest Sydney. Naboulsi was armed with a stun gun and was killed by Brooke following a confrontation in Brooke’s kitchen. Naboulsi had stolen jewelry and money from him.
A short altercation ensued, and Brooke stabbed Naboulsi in the arm and chest before the thief ran from the scene. Naboulsi died shortly after. Brooke had to wait for over four months to learn whether or not he would be charged for his role in the incident. Even though police initially informed him that he could face manslaughter charges for fatally wounding the career criminal, the culmination of their exhaustive investigation saw them recommend to the coroner that no charges be applied because he had acted in self defence.
Although I understand that the law needs to be transparent and accountable, it’s infuriating that Brooke was dragged over such coals for acting in self defence within his own home. A career criminal half his age and armed with a stun gun broke into his house, stole from him, and threatened to kill him when confronted. Brooke used a pen knife he carried in his pocket to defend himself and his home. I am unsure how much more clear cut a case of self defence needs to be, but all I can say is, thank God this idiot didn’t break into my or anyone from my units’ house, because two stab wounds would have been the least of his injuries.
The ruling of self defence in this case appeared tentative to say the least, despite the overwhelming evidence in Brooke’s favour. Brooke was never charged—and rightly so—but by all accounts, it very nearly went the other way simply because he was carrying a knife on him. Cases like this can only make most people second guess their right to self defence in any sort of confrontation, meaning that most law-abiding citizens and soldiers would not be carrying anything like a knife on them at all.
So, based on the worst-case scenario of a terrorist confronting a soldier on home soil with the intent of killing them, it is almost certain that the only person who would be armed in such a confrontation would, unfortunately, be the terrorist. If a soldier was carrying a knife and managed to kill the attacker in the altercation, then he or she could expect the same treatment as Brooke and look forward to a number of months waiting to see if they’d be charged with manslaughter.
No doubt the line of lawyers wanting to represent the terrorist would be as long as those lining up to defend the soldier, making the case more high-profile and complicated at the same time. Either way, it is ultimately the divergence between our military personnel’s respect for the rule of law and a would-be terrorist’s absolute antipathy for it that leaves our ADF members dangerously exposed and severely disadvantaged.
A Senate inquiry entitled, “The ability of Australian law-enforcement authorities to eliminate gun-related violence in the community” was launched by the Australian Greens political party to look at several facets of alleged increases in firearms violence in Australia. The inquiry contained all the hallmark proposals that one would expect from this group of left-wing maniacs. Their recommendations included: bans on semi-automatic autoloader handguns; all firearms in urban areas to be stored in a central repository; and house alarms mandatory for all gun owners. These would be implemented on top of the already-existing draconian firearms laws that Australia has and would only disadvantage those legitimate and responsible gun owners.
So what would happen if these recommendations were implemented? Well, obviously the criminals would be first in line to hand their illegal weapons back in, right? One would have to assume that they would be very eager to offload their stolen or illegally imported firearms because they are such upstanding citizens. Similarly, no one would ever think of breaking into a central repository stacked to the brim with an entire city’s worth of weapons. What could possibly make an armoury that is not protected by military or law enforcement personnel and physical security measures attractive to criminals? Also, it must be a scientific fact that house alarms are a foolproof way to deter even the most motivated of thieves because…well…it’s a house alarm.
Okay, Greens. You’ve managed to fill my yearly threshold of dealing with stupidity in a matter of minutes. Let’s look at Australia’s most recent high-profile case involving terrorism and firearms offences. In December 2014, Man Haron Monis took 18 people hostage inside the Lindt Café in downtown Sydney. The siege lasted for 16 hours and two people would eventually lose their lives in the ordeal. Monis had obtained an illegal sawn-off Remington 870 and did not hold any form of firearms licence. In fact, at the time of the siege, he had a string of criminal convictions and was on bail for violent criminal offenses. He was also wanted in his native country of Iran for allegedly committing fraud.
So what does this one case serve to highlight? Well, like drug addicts who still find a way to purchase illegal drugs to feed their addiction, criminals with the right connections and money will always find a way to purchase firearms. If international drug smugglers are finding ways to import thousands of tonnes of drugs into our country, then how hard must it be for crime syndicates to do the same with firearms? During the Senate inquiry, Australian Federal Police Assistant Commissioner Julian Slater openly admitted that the AFP “have no idea what is getting through” and that they “only know about what we intercept. It’s exactly like the drug problem.”
So if the bad guys have no problems with buying guns and using them, should the good guys be given a little more flexibility to defend themselves with them if need be? As the Dalai Lama once famously stated, “…If someone has a gun and is trying to kill you…it would be reasonable to shoot back with your own gun.” Or, a Sigmund Freud quotation more befitting of certain people and groups: “A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity.”
(Featured image courtesy of fusion.net)