Note: This is part of a series. You can read part onepart twopart three, and part four, here.

Members of Australia’s TAG-E should be extended special powers off duty, including the authorisation to conceal carry and to detain people or persons reasonably believed to have committed a crime. I would advocate the same privileges for our state and territory PTGs. They are all police officers and policing work is their bread and butter.

In fact, it would be PTGs who would be most suited to pioneering this radical suggestion, because the overall training liability and risk would be considered lower with this group than any other. Even though one of SOF’s greatest strengths is their trainability, the biggest and most unlikely hurdle would obviously be having this approved and written into legislation, particularly for military personnel.

Although I understand that the chances of getting this highly speculative proposal off the ground are slim, it is these types of discussions and outside-the-box thinking that need to occur to find suitable solutions to unconventional problems. The Commonwealth has a number of underutilized resources at its disposal that could not only be re-tasked with the right training, but would undoubtedly be a cost effective measure for them to do so. Our unit holds a large number of disclosed and undisclosed capabilities that would allow competent operators to work seamlessly within a policing role, however much like the token right to self defense, it is bureaucracy and legislation that is stymying this potential.

I also understand just how much counter-rhetoric this concept would attract, not to mention how much criticism the use of a military force in a policing role would generate. The current controversy surrounding the Jade Helm series of exercises in Texas are a case in point. There are civil libertarians, left-wing activists, and tin-foil hat brigades the world over who would make fighting any notion of this concept a full-time career, even at the detriment to their own safety.

The concept itself is not actually that farfetched. If just the PTGs were allowed to conceal carry their pistols in all states and territories off-duty, they would not have been given any additional or invasive powers beyond what they already possess when on-duty. They’ve would essentially just have their role extended slightly.

I have been a long-time advocate of realistic provisions for self defence for everyone of sound mind. Our firearms legislation is great on some accounts, but is severely lacking on others. We do a pretty good job with regards to the licensing process, but this doesn’t deter criminals from obtaining firearms with the right connections and money. This disproportionate balance thus leaves responsible citizens who own legal firearms unable to use them to protect themselves, and unlicensed criminals with unregistered firearms who will use them however they please.

The fact of the matter is that Australia’s PTGs and Special Forces soldiers are exceptionally well trained and highly disciplined individuals. My argument is centred on the hypothetical of creating initial provisions for law enforcement and military to carry firearms as part of an incremental strategy to later extend to civilians. Our incredibly restrictive government would never entertain an all-or-nothing approach; they would need some serious convincing that this strategy is worthwhile. The government used the Port Arthur massacre as the catalyst to drastically disarm the population through a raft of legislation introduced following the tragedy. This was incredibly unpopular amongst legitimate firearms owners and benefited no one but the government and criminals.