A promotional image from Operation Unification, a two-week attempt by police Australia-wide to tackle the problem of illegal guns.

Snap Shots


National crackdown on illegal guns; Triple J stumped by SSAA anti-crime stance; SHOT Expo this weekend; locked in the wrong closet; Kiwis hunt for school charity; cattle poacher sentenced.

National crackdown on illegal guns

Police forces around Australia have for the first time combined in a nationwide blitz targeting illegal firearms. Operation Unification relies primarily on information from the public to help police, including specialists on the illegal firearm trade, to find and seize the guns as well as gather intelligence on their importation and manufacture. “Police will act on information from anyone who has knowledge of illicit firearms,” SA Assistant Commissioner Paul Dickson said. “And in return we hope to increase the recovery of illegal or stolen firearms and arrest and prosecute individuals involved.” The operation runs from today until 7 June and people with information can call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Triple J stumped by SSAA anti-crime stance

Operation Unification has already provide a good laugh for the NSW branch of the SSAA at the expense of a Triple J reporter. When Triple J called to ask why the SSAA opposes the crackdown on illegal firearms, the reporter was told that, actually, the SSAA supports it. She was “surprised”, according to the SSAA, and terminated the interview. Read the full exchange here. Shooters have condemned the incident as another example of the ignorance that has characterised so much of the media’s coverage of firearm issues. Triple J did subsequently broadcast comments from SSAA’s national spokesman, Tim Bannister.

SHOT Expo this weekend

Don’t forget about this weekend’s SSAA SHOT Expo at Melbourne Showgrounds, the biggest shooting, hunting and outdoors show of the year. As well as the new Lithgow Arms rifles, there’ll be hundreds of trade stands with all manner of products and services being showcased, and you can get hands-on with much of the gear. Plenty of gear is for sale, often at discounted prices. Demos and ranges are also part of the mix. Sporting Shooter will be there, too, so come and say g’day. The expo runs from 9am to 5pm both days at the Ascot Vale venue. Tickets are $20 for SSAA members, $25 for other adults, $40 for a family of four.

Locked in the wrong closet

A gun owner in the US last week turned the tables on home invaders when they assaulted him then locked him in a closet – the same one he stored him firearms in. He soon emerged and, when he came face to face with one of the three intruders, shots were exchanged and the intruder wounded. The wounded man was arrested, but his accomplices got away. The resident will not be charged, and a neighbour told reporters the incident was a perfect example of “what guns are supposed to do”.

Kiwi hunting competition

New Zealand’s more enlightened communities make a refreshing change from the anti-hunting furor that often crops up here in Australia. Lake Tekapo in South Canterbury will be the scene of a four-day weekend of hunting beginning 31 May as the locals host a family-friendly competition in which prizes include a Tikka T3 rifle, Ridgeline products, cash and more, all worth a total of $9000. The support is such that local farmers are donating trailer-loads of firewood to be auctioned as fundraisers. And the beneficiary of all this largess? The local school.

Cattle poacher sentenced

A Queensland man has had his hunting equipment confiscated after being found guilty of killing and butchering two cows. Matthew Wakefield, 28, lost a bow, arrows, knife and butchering equipment, was given a suspended four-month prison sentence and ordered to pay the cattle owner $4000. Police noted that the loss of his equipment should be a good deterrent to others.


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Mick Matheson

Mick grew up with guns and journalism, and has included both in his career. A life-long hunter, he has long-distant military experience and holds licence categories A, B and H. In the glory days of print media, he edited six national magazines in total, and has written about, photographed and filmed firearms and hunting for more than 15 years.

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