Our criminal justice system is based on the premise that a person is ‘innocent’ under the law, until proven guilty. On that premise alone, the current National Firearms Policy is flawed – as anyone wishing to possess a firearm is now treated as having a criminal tendency, and to be generally considered, a danger to society. Under current firearms legislation there is now a presumption of guilt against the innocent gun owner. Not only is this legislation unconstitutional, draconian and oppressive, it also negates the right to self-defence under Common Law, by which we are all entitled to defend ourselves. National Firearms Legislation, which – in part – was also designed to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, may also be seen in this regard to be an abject failure.
It is not the role of government to restrict the individual citizen’s access to weaponry. All citizens under constitutional and common law are entitled to procure for their own self-defence those weapons that they feel most comfortable with. While there is an expectation that a properly functioning government is to uphold the people’s welfare and safety, self-defence issues must be a citizen’s choice.
Therefore, the Australian Protectionist Party (APP) believes that a non-political body, consisting of firearms experts and criminal defence lawyers, be temporarily appointed for the sole purpose of formulating National Firearms Legislation designed to be less intrusive on personal liberty and privacy. We also envisage recommendations by that appointed body to introduce self-defence legislation, via criminal statute codes, into parliaments, state and federal. We believe a citizen’s right to self-defence, by whatever means that are appropriate at the time, are paramount to the safety and liberty of all citizens. For far too long, the ambiguous phrase, “use of reasonable force” has been the cornerstone when dealing with issues of self-defence matters and has remained within the preserve of the legal fraternity, which some could argue does not have the individual citizen’s rights at heart. The APP demands an unambiguous law that clearly states the unalienable right of a citizen to self-defence. We also believe that in times of crisis, whereby governments or their appointed law enforcement agents are no longer able to protect the citizen, it is the individuals right to have the means to be able to protect themselves.
We have prepared guidelines for consultation into APP policy. We envisage the following:
1. All applicants for firearms licenses to be thoroughly instructed in firearms safety via a mandatory course through accredited Gun Clubs or Licensed Firearms Dealers. All applicants to undergo a criminal history/cultural background check prior to obtaining gun license. Purchase of firearms/ammunition may only be made with a current shooters license.
2. Storage of firearms to be an individual owner’s responsibility. However, the onus will be on the individual owner to make safe his/her weaponry and ammunition, failure to do so may result in criminal prosecution.
3. There is to be no firearms registration requirement. NSW is currently considering abandoning firearms registration for the very same reasons. Given that our society has become more violent in recent years and criminals/gangs now employ prohibited firearms, which are easily obtained on the black market, we can safely assume that any gun registration only penalizes the ‘honest’ citizen.
4. Those individuals or companies choosing to use firearms in the course of conducting business i.e., store owners, security guards, financial institutions etc, will be supervised and checked by police at least once per year, as this issue is also a public safety concern. Proficiency in the use of available weaponry by the user to be of paramount importance here.
5. Proscribed weapons lists under current legislation, which specifically targets firearms, will be reviewed for future consideration. Some firearms on these lists need not be there, e.g. pellet guns. Self-loading rifles, as opposed to Assault type firearms, to also be considered.
6. Strong penalties to those licensing officials who issue to individuals or groups, who do not meet license requirements. Licensing branch police to adequately inspect license registrations and enforce guidelines.
7. Police to issue, or to revoke, special permits for hand held firearms carried by individuals in the course of their business, or for self protection. This is also a public safety issue whereby local police would be better suited to enforcing the permits.
The APP wishes to invite any constructive suggestions from individuals, Gun Clubs, Law Enforcement agencies or government instruments and political parties, if they feel they may be able to contribute ideas or knowledge which could further expand and enhance future legislation.