The NSW Liberal Democrat Party’s David Leyonhjelm, who was elected to the Senate at the recent election, has spoken out against the mistreatment of gun owners in an interview with The Australian newspaper.
Leyonhjelm criticised previous governments that imposed tighter gun laws on law-abiding firearms owners in reaction to incidents that involved guns.
“Sporting shooters don’t need to be treated as criminals,” Mr Leyonhjelm said. “Bans on shooters are completely unjustifiable.
“What’s the point?” he added in relation to tightening gun laws. “People who abuse the laws aren’t concerned about breaking them. It’s not well thought through.
“Whenever there is criminal use of firearms, we end up being punished. There’s a perception there’s something bad about us; that’s a flawed perception.
“Someone goes berserk in the world and people start arguing we should change. Very few who pontificate have the slightest idea what the guns laws are.”
It’s no surprise that the Liberal Democratic Party has taken such a stance with its policy on firearms stating that “sport, hunting, collecting and self-defence are all legitimate reasons for firearm ownership”.
Mr Leyonhjelm said he was hoping to see less federal influence on state government gun legislation, particularly in relation to import regulations, and would be working to change that.
“Commonwealth import laws are too stringent,” he said. “It tries to impose its views on the states, sometimes banning items considered legal on a state level. I’d be very interested in changing that.”
Mr Leyonhjelm also said he supported the concept of a Stand Your Ground self-defence law that gives individuals the right to use deadly force to protect themselves.
He said that while he did not think concealed carry was an option for Australia, he said that a “change in thinking” is needed.
“Why are we forced to be the defenceless victim?” he said. “It’s unthinkable you can’t protect yourself. Jill Meagher . . . who was raped and murdered, if she’d have carried a weapon to protect herself, she could have been arrested.”
Mr Leyonhjelm’s ascent to the Senate has also caught the attention of international commentators with the UK’s The Spectator magazine describing it as potentially the spark of a libertarian renaissance.
The article makes for good reading if you’re interested in the DLP’s core philosophy and how far our own Liberal Party has strayed from its roots.