Recently, pro-gun crossbench senator David Leyonhjelm rightly argued that Australia is a “nation of victims” after pointing out that citizens are unable to properly protect themselves with weapons after the siege took place. On ABC’s AM program, Senator Leyonhjelm stated, “What happened in that cafe would have been most unlikely to have occurred in Florida, Texas, Vermont, or Alaska in America, or perhaps even Switzerland as well [because] statistically speaking, in those jurisdictions, one or two of the victims would have had a concealed gun.
“That nutcase who held them all hostage wouldn’t have known they were armed and bad guys don’t like to be shot back at.” Senator Leyonhjelm said that the Lindt cafe hostages were helpless because under Australian law, they were not allowed to carry a lethal or non-lethal weapon. “It would have been illegal for them to have had a knife, a stick, a pepper spray, a personal taser, mace, anything like that for self-defence,” he said. “I regard that [as] an absolute travesty. To turn an entire population into a nation of victims is just unforgiveable in my estimation.” Of course, Senator Leyonhjelm has been maliciously attacked by the delusional left wing Greens and other…what did Freud call them…sexually and emotionally damaged people, who shot him down (pun intended) quicker than those who link the words ‘Islamic’ and ‘extremism’ on mainstream media.
Just to reiterate, I am not advocating an unrestricted gun policy. I am absolutely in favour of a number of the laws which Australia has in place in regards to firearms ownership. I think that firearms are only as dangerous as the people who use them, and there are a lot of people who I believe should never have access to them. We don’t have a Second Amendment or anything even remotely similar to guarantee our citizens the right to own firearms. We are well and truly at the mercy of the government, which is thankfully balanced and countered by political parties such as the Shooters and Fishers Party, who fight for the rights of firearms owners.
In essence, what I am saying is that we currently have a problem that needs a better solution than what is being offered. Is the LEOSA arrangement something that Australia should consider? Is it a perfect solution? Who knows. What I am suggesting, however, is that we need to seriously consider new and radical provisions to deal with such an illusive, shadowy, and unconventional enemy.
For example, each state and territory in Australia has a dedicated police tactical group (PTG) of highly trained counterterrorist and hostage-rescue specialists. Similarly, we have two regiments of specially selected, trained, and equipped personnel on both sides of the country who are defined by their intellect, role, and experienced approach to warfare. Australia’s police tactical groups and Special Forces are the most elite and highly trained individuals in the country. It is my opinion that there should be special considerations for these groups of men when it comes to firearms provisions when off duty.
Let me focus on our Special Forces for a moment. Ian Langford, author of “Australian Special Operations: Principles and Considerations,” writes:
“SF personnel have evolved from the toughened commandos of ‘M’ and ‘Z’ Special Force in the Second World War to today’s personnel who are capable of adapting and thinking through the type of complex situations common to modern conflicts such as in Iraq and Afghanistan. These are environments that require language proficiency, cultural awareness, political sensitivity and the ability to use information age technology in combination with the extant military and weapon skills that define their role in the military—in essence, they must be ‘soldier-diplomats’. A continued emphasis on technical excellence, professional mastery and the individual human as the most important component of the capability defines the cultural tenets of the SF organisation.”
We are expected to operate within environments ranging from peacekeeping and humanitarian missions to the highly kinetic counterinsurgency operations that we have dealt with in Afghanistan and Iraq. We then have to switch that mindset to accommodate working within a domestic counterterrorism environment during our rotations with the Tactical Assault Group – East (TAG-E). Our ROEs when serving with TAG-E fall under the Defence Force Aid to Civil Authorities (DFACA) legislation. DFACA affords members of TAG-E the right to exercise special powers in the event that a terrorist incident has been handed over to us to resolve.
The legislation states that members may:
“…in the immediate vicinity of the terrorist incident scene, where you reasonably believe it is necessary to achieve your mission: (a) FREE any hostage from a location or object; (b) EVACUATE persons to a place of safety; (c) CONTROL the movement of persons or of means of transport; (d) SEARCH persons, or locations, or facilities, or objects for DANGEROUS OBJECTS or any things related to the terrorist incident; (e) SEIZE and RENDER SAFE any DANGEROUS OBJECT or anything related to the terrorist incident; (f) DETAIN a person reasonably believed to have committed an offence against a law of the Commonwealth, a State, or a Territory; and/or (g) Do anything reasonably incidental to achieve your mission including the exercise of any of the above special powers.”
Even though DFACA is legislation covering an in-extremis situation, it is still law. Point (f) authorises TAG-E personnel to detain people or persons “reasonably believed to have committed an offence against a law of the Commonwealth, a State, or a Territory.” So the precedent for military personnel detaining citizens already exists. This could be the genesis for a similar arrangement to the U.S.’s LEOSA, whereby members of TAG-E are extended special powers off duty, including the authorisation to conceal carry and to detain people or persons reasonably believed to have committed a crime. Our exceptional training and experience means there could be no better group of ‘good guys’ to put on the streets to potentially resolve a situation before it escalates. Operators from the unit would not only rise to the responsibility, but welcome it.
(Featured image courtesy of rand.org)