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Old March 16, 1999, 09:31 PM   #1
Bruce in West Oz
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Join Date: February 17, 1999
Location: Western Australia
Posts: 996
Queensland "The Sunday Mail"
Buyback blamed for illegal trade
By CHRIS GRIFITH 24 Jan 99

THE $500 million national gun buy-back scheme has failed, Queensland's foremost police weapons expert says. Inspector John McCoomb says gun laws introduced after the 1996 Port Arthur massacre have sent the trade underground. "Once they're on the black market, they're there for anyone to buy," he said. He said that "with the right contacts", it was still possible to buy semi-automatic weapons like the Armalite (AR-10) rifle Martin Bryant used in the massacre.

Inspector McCoomb, who heads the Weapons Licensing Branch, said Australians had handed in only a fraction of the weapons in the community. So far, just over 643,000 guns had been surrendered nationally, about 131,000 of them in Queensland. It was impossible to calculate the number of guns in Australia but 643,000 was a fraction of just two brands of now-illegal guns in the country.

"About 800,000 (semi-automatic and automatic) SKK and SKS weapons came in from China back in the 1980s as part of a trade deal between the Australian and Chinese governments," Insp McCoomb said. "And it was estimated that there were 1.2 million semi-automatic Ruger 10/22s in the country. "That's about 2 million firearms of just two types in the country."

Insp McCoomb said police realised there were abundant illegal firearms for people to commit public atrocities. On November 1 last year, gang members fired a hail of bullets at a Sydney police station using high-powered [sic] 9mm automatics or semi-automatics -- five police were inside. This barrage of shots in a city street was exactly the sort of scenario the buy-back was supposed to stop. Insp McCoomb said firearms activity has increased despite the buy-back, particularly in Sydney. "There firearms are in the hands of gangs, organised crime syndicates, the druggies, the bikies, the whole box and dice." He said he had estimated about half of guns in Queensland were now illegally held. "We did a 'guestimate' before all this started and we conservatively estimated between 1.2 and 1.3 million guns in Queensland.

"We've now got about 520,000 guns licensed. Even when you take into account 130,000 guns handed in, we're well and truly short."

Insp McCoomb estimated that only 25 per cent of those with guns were now licensed. Owners had opted to go outside the system - even newly licensed owners had not declared their full arsenal.

"When we have checked after an incident, we've found they've got five guns registered to their licence, when they actually have 10.

"The perception in the shooting community is that 'if you know all about my guns, you'll soon take them all off me'." Insp McCoomb criticised courts which had not revoked licences of dealers who traded on the black market. "In one case, a dealer sold a firearm to an undercover agent and was prosecuted, but the magistrate ruled that it was no offence because the undercover agent was a police officer who was exempt from the provisions of the Act." An appeal had been lodged in the District Court.

Crimes involving guns had soared during and since the buyback, Insp McCoomb said. In 1997, the year the buy-back was completed, robberies involving guns leapt 39 per cent, and assaults involving guns 28 per cent. Australian Customs acknowledges only a fraction of containers entering the country are searched for illegal weapons. Customs spokesman Leon Bedington said one inspector would need eight days to check a container load thoroughly.
(ends)

So what will 'they' do now?? We know handguns are next on the list .... 'they' just never give up ....
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Old March 17, 1999, 06:52 AM   #2
Ray VanderLinden
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Join Date: January 23, 1999
Location: Southern Iowa
Posts: 211
Your Policticos are learning what ours learned a long time ago.

The best way to cure a bad law is to make AN OTHER BAD LAW. You are right and I don't know what to tell you to do about it. Your numbers are much smaller than they are here in the States. But still you have to become a one issue voter. NOt Guns per say, but God Given Rights, like to self Defense, and a means to it

Point out that the reason that gun crime went up BECAUSE the Criminals knew the Victims would not be armed, and even if they were the wouldn't dare use the guns as they (the Victims) would go to prison, for protecting themselves. You have to fight this battle now because you have no tomorrow, just as we here in the states had better start to fight harder for the same reason.
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