During the coronavirus pandemic panic buying has become widespread. Gun sales have also surged as they do after disasters. As a result Australian Labor State Governments have closed gun shops. To respond to these business shutdowns my guest on this edition of WilmsFront is Jason Selmes host of the Australian Hunting Podcast.
Australia’s primary gun laws are based on the National Firearms Agreement between the federal government and the states and territories after the Port Arthur Massacre in 1996. They involve the licencing of firearm owners and registration of guns, plus heavily restricted firearm categories which is a defacto ban semi-automatic firearms.
The state Labor governments of Western Australian, Victoria and Queensland have shut gun shops in response to a surge in sales and permits to acquire. I suggest to Jason these governments probably fear these firearm owners will launch a revolution or engage in civil unrest. Jason responds that law-abiding firearm owners are the most upstanding members of our community.
Given that Australia’s current gun control regime was introduced by a conservative government under Liberal Prime Minister John Howard and Nationals Deputy Prime Minister Tim Fischer the demonisation of firearms and shooters has been ingrained into Australia’s culture the past 20 years. Those in the suburbs fear more guns in Australia will lead to American style frequent mass shootings.
With local police enforcing the coronavirus containment measures by moving on people reading and sunbaking by themselves in public parks, the general public is learning what firearms owners have been experiencing for years from law enforcement. Some firearm owners and sellers have had their lives ruined from being targeted by the state.
Jason shares his views on some of the more gun-friendly politicians and parties such as Nationals Senator Bridget McKenzie, former Senators David Leyonhjelm and Fraser Anning, the Shooters Fishers and Farmers Party and Pauline Hanson’s One Nation.
Farmers are still able to obtain firearms for pest control. Jason through his media profile is in contact with farmers who we are relying on to feed Australia during the pandemic. Jason states things are still business as usual for farmers though he is worried for the nation as a whole about how we are going to economically recover from the pandemic, and how businesses, including gun businesses can survive during this period.