Just catch criminals

The following story shows how theft of firearms is inevitable. No amount of compliance with safe storage rules by firearms licensees would have prevented it.

It raises an important question. If the military can lose firearms like this (and the police have shown they are capable of losing weapons as well), where is the value in using scarce police time and resources to harass sporting shooters on this? They would be better catching criminals.

http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,20931416-2,00.html

Soldier faces weapons charge
By Mark Dunn
December 15, 2006 12:00am
Article from: Herald-Sun

A SOLDIER has been charged after a huge cache of defence force guns and ammunition was found on several properties in central Victoria.

Sources told the Herald Sun about 163 weapons, ordnance and other material were stockpiled on properties linked to a sergeant serving with the Puckapunyal School of Artillery.

The weaponry is said to fill six freight containers.

Police said a 53-year-old Tooborac man had been charged with a number of dishonesty and firearm offences in relation to the alleged theft of property from the Australian Defence Force.

The ADF is conducting an urgent audit of its armouries at Puckapunyal and other military sites after the stockpile was found this week.

“There are some weapons and a considerable amount of ammunition. They range from small arms to high-powered rifles,” a spokesman said.

The sergeant is believed to be undergoing psychological assessment at a military centre after the weapons were found on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Police expect to lay further charges. Military police alerted Victoria Police to the theft on Tuesday.

The soldier’s home and another rural property were searched. It is believed weapons were found in houses, sheds and out-buildings.

Police widened their search to include the sergeant’s mother’s house and an acquaintance’s property on Wednesday.

The ADF spokesman said the military would compare weapon serial numbers and ammunition types with their records.

He said financial gain did not appear to be a factor.

“We don’t believe this is a trafficking case,” the spokesman said.

The Puckapunyal base, opened in 1939 to train troops, is on 40,000ha near Seymour, 96km north of Melbourne.

Security at the site is expected to be reviewed.

It was unclear whether any of the ordnance had been used.

But the ADF said the theft did not come to its notice through reports of any firing at the sergeant’s property.

A defence source said the ADF placed huge significance on the security of its armouries and all weapons were subject to a fortnightly audit. “There are also commonsense things like weapons are never stored with their breach block in them . . . ammunition is never stored with weapons and vice versa.”

Some weapons are stored under permanent armed guard in armouries and others within special safes inside armouries.

But no system was foolproof, the source said, especially if the theft was an inside job.

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2 Responses to Just catch criminals

  1. Robbity Bob The Nob says:

    This is a continuing ‘hot chesnut’ for us due to the success of Antis to potray thefts from private homes as the main “feeder” for criminal use of firearms.

    This type of case makes a mockery of anti-gun activists like Lee Rhiannon et al, who actually have no real policies but feed on the gaps they see in news-grabs as great opportunitiues for vote-catching for the Greens, and sieze on the rare firearms thefts from private homes as “the root cause”and ignore what actually is happening in the real world.

    Lessons from UK are also ignored studiously. [What a mess there over handguns in particular, after a total private ban…!]

    There are quite a few in the police forces/military and other ‘pillars of society’ who have caches or collections of prohibited items. I guess it goes with the job!!
    I cannot personally see how the public can have these people, who often have worthwhile research and historical interests, portrayed as “dangerous” or ” potential terrorists”.

    Most firearms enthusiasts/collectors have to be very careful they do not have various items and equipment that are legal one day and illegal the next. [Ignorance of the law is no defence.]

    This type of “army collection” is simply against the law. Do it and you are a criminal. The law says so…[assuming the ADF Sergeant does not have a permit!]

    Period.

    The present worsening situation was predicted since 1984

  2. Ted Burrett says:

    I can tell that this is not the first time you write about the topic. Why have you chosen it again?

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