Looks like there actually is someone sensible in Australia

Looks like there actually is someone sensible in Australia. They are looking at gun laws that actually target the criminals.

Writing about government law-and-order policies is one of the easiest gigs in town. You simply bag the crap out of it, declare politicians should “get into the real world”, judges live in “ivory towers” and the laws are drafted by Leninist-leaning lawyers who want to release cutlass-carrying psychos to attack us in our beds.

Yet every now again a piece of legislation comes along that can’t be described as political correctness “gone mad” (Question: was it once sane or always a little odd before it went totally bananas?)*

Just the other day, Victorian Police Minister Lisa Neville dropped a press release headed “New laws to target illegal guns, organised crime and drive-by shootings”.

In the release the minister channelled Clint Eastwood, declaring: “Let this be a warning to organised crime figures and those that associate with organised crime figures – we are coming for you.”

If only our Police minister was so sensible.

[M]ake no mistake, the Firearms Amendment Bill 2017 is a game changer.

In the scheme of things this could be the biggest initiative taken in the investigation of serious violent crime since state police were given the power to tap telephones in 1988.

For the first time police will be given serious muscle to deal with the massive problem of crooks carrying guns. The proposed law has the potential to jail thousands (that’s right, we are talking nearly 3000) real and wannabe gangsters who think deadly weapons are fashion accessories.

One of the most important initiatives in the firearms laws is the introduction of prohibition orders that will ban declared individuals from possessing guns. So what’s the difference, you may ask, as convicted crooks are not allowed to (legally) own firearms.

Under the new laws, the chief commissioner and more than 20 designated senior officers have the power to slap a prohibition order on an individual if they are considered a danger to the community.

This could be based on criminal records, associations, intelligence, information or behaviour. So if you carry on like a gangster, you will be treated like one, and if you have a history of violence or hang around gangs you will be hit with an order.

It will work in a similar way to the chief commissioner’s power to ban certain criminals and “identities” from racetracks and casinos.

For more than two years, police have wanted this sort of reform and have been quietly gathering intelligence on a series of likely targets.

These include outlaw motorcycle gang members, Middle Eastern crime groups, mafioso identities, terror suspects and assorted no-neck types used by every drug dealer who has Scarface on high rotation in their home cinema.

[…]

At present when police find an illegal gun at a crook’s home, the offender will inevitably argue that someone else left it there. And even when charged with possessing an illegal firearm, they rarely if ever end up doing jail time for the offence.

Under the new laws the penalty for a prohibited person being found with a gun is 10 years. “Finally there will be serious consequences if the law is supported in the courts,” according to one veteran investigator.

When police do lay the first charges it will be against someone with a filthy criminal record, to encourage the court to sentence at the upper end and set a high precedent for future cases.

Not only will it make it tough for those subjected to a prohibition order, it has the potential to fracture large criminal organisations. Police can search anyone named on an order, their car or premises and anyone with them they suspect has a gun. And if they find drugs or other criminal paraphernalia, it is game on.

So if police ban one Hell’s Angel, they can search them, the clubhouse and every other member there without a search warrant. This is the law enforcement equivalent of tying a time bomb to a homing pigeon.

This means police will be able to enter a bikie clubhouse as regularly as cosmetic surgeons make house calls to the Playboy Mansion.

A crook with a prohibition order will be  toxic to the rest of the gang, because he or she can be searched at any time. This should result in that crook being shunned by the syndicate as the sheep with a bell that attracts the wolf.

The order bans the subject from being anywhere firearms are kept and they are prohibited from even playing a game of paintball.

As notorious crooks are released from prison they will be greeted by detectives with prohibition orders and informed they can be stopped and searched at any time. Former Bandido Toby Mitchell can expect such a greeting party when he is released from prison in November, if the law is passed in time.

This will mean the leaders of syndicates will avoid carrying guns and use disposable soldiers as weapon carriers. The smart crooks will carry a briefcase rather than a holster and the dumb ones will go to jail.

Sounds pretty sensible and only targets criminals, not law abiding firearms owners.

The new laws include the offence of committing a drive-by shooting, with a maximum penalty of 15 years for firing at a building or vehicle with “reckless disregard” to safety.

This is not just paper talk – there have been two homicides in recent years where people have been killed by stray bullets in drive-bys.

The penalty jumps to 20 years if the shooting is committed while the offender is carrying out a serious indictable offence.

Proper penalties too. The Arms Act in NZ is pathetic when it comes to penalties.

The new law gets rid of the need to prove the offender intended to cause serious injury in such cases. In another clause, if you fire a shot in a public space and don’t hit anyone you still face 10 years in prison.

Finally crooks who think guns are a necessary tool of the trade will be called to account. While the initiative will not turn bloody bikie wars into pillow fights, it should reduce guns on our streets, and the knuckleheads who insist on carrying firearms will soon learn that instead of (literally) shooting someone in the leg they will be (metaphorically) shooting themselves in the foot.

I like the sound of those. Imagine the howls of outrage from civil liberties crim-hugging toyes if that happened in NZ.

 

-The Age


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.

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