Today’s call by Australian Green’s leader Bob Brown for tougher handgun laws appears to have more to do with images of gangsters and memories of Al Capone films, rather than the reality of Australia’s already-stringent regulations on private handgun ownership.
Senator Brown misguidedly stated that ‘automatic handguns were effectively machine-guns and should be withdrawn from public availability’. The reality is automatic handguns (machine-guns) are NOT available to the public for private ownership.
The private ownership of semi-automatic handguns (handguns that fire one projectile each pull of the trigger) has always been well regulated in Australia. Penalties for the illegal use and ownership of handguns are also well codified.
The fact is it is illegal to own, use and possess a handgun in Australia without a licence. This has always been the case long before former Prime Minister John Howard and his National Firearms Agreement of 1996.