While there is a great deal of smugness about the gun buyback scheme instituted by the Howard coalition government after the Port Arthur massacre, when compared to the murderous availability of guns in the US. In the 1996 firearm massacre in Tasmania, 35 people died, and afterwards Australian governments united to remove semi‐automatic and pump‐action shotguns and rifles from civilian possession, as a key component of gun law reforms1.
These 1996 gun law reforms were followed by more than a decade without fatal mass shootings, and accelerated declines in firearm deaths, particularly suicides. Total homicide rates followed the same pattern. It indicated that removing large numbers of rapid‐firing firearms from civilians may be an effective way of reducing mass shootings, firearm homicides and firearm suicides1.
The National Firearms Agreement (NFA) was drafted the month after the Port Arthur massacre, and sharply restricted legal ownership of firearms in Australia. It also established a registry of all guns owned, among other measures, and required a permit for all new firearm purchases. About 650,000 legally owned guns were peacefully seized, then destroyed, as part of the buyback. According to one estimate, this amounted to about 20 percent of all privately owned guns in Australia2.
In 2011, research on Australia’s suicide and homicide rate after the NFA demonstrated that in the seven years after the bill was passed, the average firearm suicide rate in Australia declined by 57 percent compared with the seven years before. In addition, the average firearm homicide rate went down by about 42 percent2. Furthermore, a 2018 study found that in the 18 years before Port Arthur, Australia experienced 13 mass shootings — defined as incidents in which five or more people died. In the over 20 years subsequently, only one such incident occurred2.
However, Australians should not be complacent. In January 2019, following an equally ludicrous suggestion from Pauline Hanson, federal member for Kennedy, Bob Katter suggested that to reduce the number of canetoads, children should be given air rifles and paid 40 cents per canetoad that they kill. Never mind the fact that canetoads are widespread across northern Australia where there are relatively very few people. Never mind the danger of giving children access to air rifles, shots from which have occasionally proven fatal3.
In 2022, Katter stated: “I would immediately move to providing a rifle for every single boy – and girl too, if they want them – in an armoury in every single school in Australia and if that sounds extremist that’s what Israel does, that’s what Finland does, that’s what Sweden does, that’s what Switzerland does”. The assertion that the listed countries give guns to children and have armouries in every school is simply a lie4. Katter also said: “In the event of an invasion or war, Australia is not equipped to fight in guerrilla warfare as the Ukrainian people are doing currently”4. Katter’s statements are, as I have stated previously, simply the repetition of US National Rifle Association (NRA) lies, something that he has done numerous times5.
Katter’s desire to increase the number of gun sales in Australia has nothing to do with protecting Australians. It is solely to increase the sale of guns from Nioa, a privately owned company established in 1973 and which is now Australia’s largest supplier of firearms, ammunition and accessories6,7.
Nioa primarily supplies the Australian military and police forces and is the majority supplier of guns and ammunition to Australian police. By 2022 the company said: “Over one billion rounds have been supplied by Nioa to the Australian Law Enforcement, Military and Sporting markets”. As well as manufacturing ammunition, Nioa imports weapons from around the world, with such familiar brand names as Ruger, Colt and Glock8, in addition to air rifles
The reason Katter wants Nioa to flog more weapons is because the CEO of Nioa is Robert Nioa, Katter’s son-in-law. Nioa also donates heftily to Katter’s political party9, and can claim such donations as tax deductions. We effectively pay for Nioa’s support of his father-in-law. Katter would be quite happy to have a gun death rate like that of the US, provided his family makes a few million. So much for integrity in politics.
Katter’s always been an enigma but his addiction to NIOA funding is clearly driving his outdated and unwanted views on guns in Australia. Thanks for exposing yet another lying, self-interested political crook.
One lingering question (sure, there are plenty more, but this one needs resolution imo) over the Morrison Corruption – tweren’t ever a govt – is whether the loathsome Angus Taylor will ever get his cummuppance. His involvement in massive water wealth transfer form public to private hands and the fraudulent doctoring of documents really needs to be put under the spotlight by the NACC. We’ve managed to get rid of many of them via the election and RC/enquiry revelations, but that pimple on the arse of democracy is still in office, albeit in an ineffectual and increasingly irrelevant Opposition.
I made the mistake of seeing some of question time today and the crook Angus Taylor got up to speak just as I hit the mute button. When I did so I swore at the bastard. He deserves to be in gaol. I hope these malevolent bastards get NACCered. It looks like the Liberal Party in Victoria is busily sealing its future as an irrelevance, with so many supporting the fruitcake Deeming over the ‘moderate’ Pesutto. You have to laugh.
I didn’t know any of this so thank you. It reinforces the very low opinion I already had of this person.
Katter turned 78 today. I find it hard to believe how anyone could vote for this buffoon.