By Andrew S. MacGregor
[Image Credit ABC.net.au]
This article is based on a report by Mark Morri from the Daily Telegraph.
“Hundreds of guns stolen across NSW as thieves target private homes and firearms charges rise” is the headline Mark Morri has used to introduce his report.
This is followed by:
THIEVES are targeting the private homes of registered gun owners as NSW’s illegal firearms crisis escalates.
Nearly 600 guns have been stolen in the past year. Of the 578 weapons stolen about 80 per cent were from homes, mainly in rural NSW, according to the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics.
The bureau said there had been a 34 per cent increase in “prohibited and regulated weapons offences”.
It is worthwhile studying exactly what Mark Morri tells us in the initial reports in regards to the theft of firearms in New South Wales. Mind you, similar thefts have been occurring in other states especially in Tasmania but news on these matters stopped once firearm owners came to understand exactly who was responsible for those thefts.
Mark Morri’s article resounds with “NSW’s illegal firearms crisis escalates” and that is pure sensationalising on his part as there is in reality no real crisis in regard to criminals possessing either stolen or unregistered firearms, as criminals have done that since before the days of Ben Hall.
Mark Morri then reports that: “Of the 578 weapons stolen about 80 per cent were from homes,” and you have to ask yourself, “just exactly where were the other 115 (the 20%) firearms stolen from, as that is not a small quantity of firearms?” Where could they be stolen from? From gunshops? (I wouldn’t think so) From firing ranges? (Again, I wouldn’t think so) From gunsafes located on rural properties in areas other than homes? (quite possibly)
It is though the next sentence that becomes extremely telling. “The bureau said there had been a 34 per cent increase in “prohibited and regulated weapons offences”.” This statistic has nothing to do with the prosecution of thieves but rather firearm owners who have failed to fully observe their requirements under the ‘Firearms Act”
[Image Credit: Sodahead.com]
Immediately following this statement in Mark Morri’s are two links to other agendas. The first link is “COURTS GO SOFT ON SERIOUS GUN CRIME” which is (Courts go soft on serious gun crime criminals caught with loaded semiautomatic pistols and machineguns are getting low prison sentences). When you read the heading on the linked article one realises that it has absolutely nothing to do with the theft of firearms in New South Wales.
The second link is even more telling! “GUN NUMBERS IN NSW ARE SOARING” which is (a gun for every 1 in 10 people as numbers soar to above 700,000 across NSW)
A 34% increase in ‘Prohibited and Regulated Weapons Offences’
Let us consider this point with statements made within this report, especially where Mark Morri quotes Samantha Lee, the former ‘Spokesperson for the United Nations’, and now of Gun Control Australia. It has previously been demonstrated that Samantha Lee is the only member of ‘Gun Control Australia’, and so Samantha Lee must be viewed as a ‘Political Lobbyist’.
Samantha Lee has been cited as stating, “As many as 44 per cent of gun owners who had their weapons stolen had failed to comply with firearm storage requirements, leaving them within easy reach of thieves.” This explains the 34% increase in the ‘Prohibited and regulated Weapons Offences”.
Law-abiding firearm owners whose property has been burglarised and their firearms stolen are prosecuted by the New South Wales Police for ‘assisting’ the thieves to steal their property.
But we must look again at Samantha Lee’s statement that 44% of these gun owners had failed to comply with ‘Firearm storage requirements. If this statement was factual, then there would have to be a large percentage (56%) of burglaries of residences of firearm owners where the firearms were inaccessible to normal thieves but still firearms were able to be stolen.
There is though no data on ‘burglaries’, where thieves have unlawfully entered firearm owners residencies but failed to steal those weapons, and so we must accept that such events didn’t occur. This raises the question as to exactly how did the thieves know which residencies had accessible firearms and the appropriate time to burgle those residencies?
If we consider these 56% of firearms stolen whilst appropriately stored and locked in secure ‘gunsafes’ then exactly how were these firearms stolen?
A retired resident of the Riverina District in New South Wales, who is a retired gunsmith, has told me that of the cases he was aware of in his district, most of the thefts involved the thieves using grinders to cut open the gunsafes. There was only one case where the thieves used a trolley to remove the gunsafe.
In the State of Tasmania it was reported that the majority of thefts there involved the entire gunsafe being trolleyed out of the residence. The Tasmanians also noted that these burglaries normally occurred about a month after a visit by a Police Firearms Inspector!
In other words, the thieves were prepared for such a situation, and that then simply means that these thefts were not opportunistic, but were planned and committed by professionals. In nearly every instance, the only goods targeted were firearms.
[Image Credit: Wikispooks.com]
“She (Samantha Lee) said Australian Institute of Criminology research showed that most firearm thefts were opportunistic, with weapons taken during a burglary”
For a start, as per Samantha Lee’s own argument and those statements made by the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research demonstrate quite clearly that 56% were not “opportunistic” but rather ‘premeditated’!
But exactly what is the ‘Australian Institute of Criminology’? It was an Intelligence body within the Federal Attorney Generals Department. The AIC in 1995 signed a MOU with the United Nations in regard to the implementation of new Federal firearm Laws that would be implemented in May of 1996. The problem being that Australia’s ‘Firearm laws’ are still a State responsibility and thus outside the AIC’S sphere of responsibility, in 1995 just as it is today. The AIC also has access to all Police Firearms Registers.
Operation Talon and Operation Raptor strike forces
What we do have though is the correlation between firearm thefts from residencies and charges made in regard to ‘Prohibited and Regulated weapons Offences.’!
Mark Morri’s report states: “NSW Police has been targeting illegal firearms through its Operation Talon and Operation Raptor strike forces. Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione said officers had discovered a record number of illegal firearms.”
This then raises the question of exactly what were those ‘illegal’ firearms seized by the NSW police in Operations Talon and Raptor? Samantha Lee again tells us; “The majority of firearms stolen are never recovered and are on many occasions used for serious offences.” She (Samantha Lee) said” Now since Samantha Lee has informed us that the stolen firearms are never recovered there can be no data to justify her comment that these firearms have been used for serious offences.
This then leaves us to comprehend exactly what type of ‘illegal firearms’ were seized by the NSW police re their Operations Talon and Raptor? Those seized firearms can only be firearms seized from licensed shooters or firearm dealers who have failed to fully implement the monstrosity of paperwork and/or security requirements, or those who have had their firearms licence cancelled or revoked.
What can be noted is that licenced shooters in New South Wales are vulnerable targets not only to the New South Wales Police but also criminals who also have the knowledge of exactly who to target. In other words those burglars have access to the NSW Police Firearms Registry.
Who is stealing the firearms in New South Wales
Mark Morri’s report gives us some excellent clues as to who is stealing firearms within New South Wales. One of those clues is the actual stolen goods themselves. “The most popular weapons to steal were rifles, followed by shotguns and handguns” is what Mark Morri informs us.
Now these are all registered firearms, so just exactly what is the market for stolen firearms? For a start, no legitimate firearm owner or dealer would consider touching any stolen firearm. That leaves us with just the ‘criminal’ element within New South Wales.
The main criminals that are expected to handle firearms are those within the ‘Drug’ industry. However these criminals require a firearm that is small and capable of being hidden on the body, and thus normally possess either handguns or hand machine guns. (Go back to the link regarding Judges being lenient on such criminals.)
So, when we are told that the most popular firearms to be targeted by thieves are firstly rifles and then shotguns, we note that they are not the preferred weapon of the criminal. Again most registered rifles today are bolt action as ‘semi-automatic rifles are virtually banned in Australia. It is also noted that magazines for these firearms are normally restricted to three or four rounds, and again, these fall outside of a criminal’s requirements.
In other words there is absolutely no market within Australia for the majority of these stole firearms, (rifles and shotguns). No self-respecting criminal would touch them and neither would any licenced firearm owner or dealer. So exactly how does the criminal who steals these firearms make a living of these criminal activities? He cannot.
And please consider that this is not a ‘1 man’ operation. There would be at least two men to enter the building, forcefully open the locked gunsafe and then remove the firearms from within that safe to an inconspicuous vehicle parked within the premises. Then there also has to be a ‘lookout’ to watch out in case the owners or a neighbour may intrude upon the crime scene. Thus at the very minimum the gun-stealing criminals would comprise of a team of three.
So we now look at the areas within New South Wales where the thefts of firearms have occurred, and Mark Morri has supplied his readers with such a list. The list is extremely revealing, from Far West and Orana (72) to Mid-North Coast (52), to New England and North-West (62)To Central West, the Hunter Valley, (40), Riverina, (39) to within the Sydney areas of Outer West and Blue Mountains (22) Outer South-West (15 Inner South West (13) and the Baulkham Hills and Hawkesbury (17).
In other words, whoever is stealing firearms in New South Wales have the ability to cover the entire State of New South Wales, that is 809,444 Km2 and the entire population of 7,439,000 persons. It could be considered that there are several gangs of such criminals operating within the state, but that thought has to be negated by two factors, (1) the amount of firearms stolen (578 in the last year, or nearly 2,000 firearms in the past three years) and (2) that no offender/s has/have been apprehended in regard to the majority of these offences. This is an incredible statistic considering the NSW Police Operations Talon and Raptor!
Approximately two years ago there were several similar house breakings, burglaries and thefts of firearms reported in the state of Tasmania. What was also noted in Tasmania was that frequently these burglaries followed an inspection by the Tasmania Police Firearm Registration Branch. What was also noted was that there were no other items of value targeted by the thieves.
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It was then stated by a NSW licensed shooter whose residence had been a target of one such burglary that the only possible perpetrator of the burglary was the New South Wales Police, as he had recently moved into a new residence and had only informed the NSW Firearms Registry Office of his change of address just prior to the burglary.
The NSW Police countered this accusation with the story that the criminals must have been using scanners to listen in on the police radio. This rebuttal is extremely inadequate on several grounds. For a start, even if criminals had been using scanners to listen in on police vehicles visiting premises in regard to firearms inspections, the criminals would still lack information in regard to what equipment was required to steal the firearms within those premises, the number of firearms and where exactly the gunsafe and other required items were situated as well when the residence would be unoccupied.
But what the New South Wales Police have confirmed is that these firearm burglaries are only occurring after a visit by the New South Wales Police Firearms Inspectors! That means complicity.
Again with one of Australia’s best police forces being so slurred, they have not been able to kerb or even apprehend the offenders as these criminal acts continue with impunity. Again this demonstrates the professionalism of the firearm thieves. Again, the fact that virtually none of the stolen items has ever resurfaced within the state simply adds to the belief that these criminal acts are being done for a political reason and protected by a government bureaucracy.
Andrew S. MacGregor is an experienced military and law enforcement officer. Born in 1947 in Yarraville, Melbourne, Australia, Mr. MacGregor served in the Citizens Military Forces of the Victoria Scottish Regiment and as Senior Constable with the Victoria Police. Since 1998 he has conducted extensive research on the Port Arthur Massacre and other Australian ‘lone-nut’ shootings. MacGregor began playing the Bagpipes at age ten, and was active for 14 years as a member of the Victoria Police Highland Pipe Band.