Matho’s blog: Gun-control tactics

The National Coalition for Gun Control’s Roland Browne has called for spousal approval of firearm licences, for shooters to prove they’re fit and proper, and for supposed “loopholes” in gun laws to be closed.

However, support for tougher laws is negligible, according to a poll in Tasmania’s Mercury newspaper, which reported the anti-gun activist’s comments.

Shooters are leading the poll buy nine to one. There’s simply no indication anywhere that Australians want tougher gun laws. It’s just this small bunch of gun-hating cranks who want it.

As Tasmania continues its review of firearms laws, Mr Browne is apparently trying to stir up fear by inventing problems and “loopholes”.

How’s this for logic: A permit to shoot on crown land is too easy to get, according to Browne, and therefore using one to justify a genuine reason to own a firearm is “subverting the system”.

Mr Browne seems to forget that a reason is not the same as being a fit and proper person. The two tests are different. If you’re not fit and proper, you won’t get a licence anyway, rendering your genuine reason irrelevant. His argument is like telling newly licensed drivers that they have to jump through another series of hoops before they can use the roadways.

He also stirred up the debate on firearms ownership by telling The Mercury people were “probably” building up larger collections of weapons. Probably? Nice use of proof, Mr Browne. The man is a lawyer. I’d like to see him use that one in court: “You Honour, my client’s case is probably true. I rest my case.”

Even if he is right about that, so what? Where’s the evidence that it’s a problem? There is none.

He wants to see shooters forced to prove they are fit and proper people to have a firearm, rather than the police having to show they’re not. This would simply move the onus onto potential shooters to get a certificate or other documentation from the police. It’d change nothing.

As for his argument that spouses should have right of veto over the granting of a gun licence, it’s another pointless hoop he wants put in place for would-be shooters. What if you’re single? If the applicant is so bad, wouldn’t there already be a history of restraint orders, police interventions and so on?

But what if the spouse is too scared to have asked for a restraint? Simple answer: that person won’t veto a gun licence application. We’re barking up the wrong tree with that one. On the other hand, it’d play to the anti-gun lobby nicely because a spouse in a non-confrontational relationship, but who simply doesn’t want a gun owner in the family, can prevent it on the grounds of nothing but personal bias.

I had a girlfriend like that once. She wouldn’t even let me keep a gun-related book in the house. I moved her out instead.

Isn’t it time Browne realised it was time for him to move on, too? Australia faces a number of monsters that might benefit from the mauling he might give them, but he continues to sink his teeth into the fluffy toy of our ‘dangerous’ gun laws.

If he left, it’d leave his ‘coalition’ with just one person behind it, Samantha Lee. Pathetic, really.


Mick Matheson




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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.