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Australia Renews Commitment to Its Failed Gun Registry

In 1996, Australia banned the import, ownership, sale, possession and manufacture of semi-automatic firearms.

Australia implemented its version of a Firearms Confiscation Compensation Scheme, confiscated between 650,000[i] and one million guns[ii], and destroyed them.

Australia’s 1996 National Firearms Agreement (NFA), drafted one month after the Port Arthur massacre, also established a national firearms registry and required a permit for all new firearm purchases.[iii]

Twenty-eight years later, the Australian government pretends no such registry ever existed with the announcement of a brand new gun registry that is “almost four decades in the making.”[iv]

Mark Dreyfus, Australia’s attorney general, calls it “the most significant improvement in Australia’s firearms management systems in almost 30 years.”

What happened to the 1996 gun registry?

The 1996 National Firearms Agreement required three states to “immediately establish an integrated licence and firearms registration system and that all other jurisdictions review their existing registration systems to ensure that all systems are compatible.”[v]

These state databases were to be “linked through the National Exchange of Police Information (NEPI) to ensure effective nationwide registration of all firearms.”

The Australian Institute of Criminology[vi] notes “a review of international literature reveals three consistent findings:

Handguns are the firearms most commonly used to commit firearms-related homicide.

  • Offenders of firearm-related homicide are usually unlicensed.
  • The firearms used to commit homicide are most often illegal, that is, they are unregistered, stolen, or modified in some way.”

Australia’s first gun registration scheme failed to keep guns out of the hands of criminals.

Now the Australian government will repeat their past mistakes, having learned nothing from history.

New Australian Gun Registry Announced

When the “new” national firearms register was announced on December 5, 2023, Australia’s prime minister Anthony Albanese said, “The register will address significant gaps and inconsistencies with the way firearms are managed across all jurisdictions.”[vii]

Four and a half months later, funding of $161.3 million to establish a National Firearms Register” was announced.[viii]

Mark Dreyfus trotted out the same tired justifications that have already cost too many police officers lives around the world.

“When officers are standing at the top of the driveway wondering what they’re going to face when they go down that driveway to a house that they don’t know, they’re going to be much better informed in future.”

“This National Firearms Register will help ensure that police know what guns are in the community, where they are and who owns them… The National Firearms Register will help connect Commonwealth, state and territory firearms information and share it in near real time with state police departments across the country.”[ix]

If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.

Police will only, at best, know where registered firearms are. They still won’t have a clue who possesses the illegal, unregistered guns used in 85% of Australia’s homicides, as noted by the Australian Institute of Criminology.

That reality does not phase the attorney general.

“The National Firearms Register is the most significant advance in Australia’s gun safety regime since the 1996 National Firearms Agreement,” Drefuss said at a press conference.[x]

“It’s going to take four years,” Dreyfus says, “because of the complexity that I mentioned. You’ve got some states that are moving from paper-based systems to digital. This will be a digital system. Other states are more advanced. And there’s a complexity about getting all those systems to talk to each other. There’s a complexity around the upgrades that we need.”

Dreyfuss admits his shiny new gun registry won’t track illegally owned guns, yet still claims “Australia’s gun laws have always been about protecting people from harm.”

Meanwhile Back in Canada…

Four years after they issued the Order in Council that banned 1,500 makes and models of firearms (now over 2,000), Ottawa has yet to get out of the starting gate.

Justin Trudeau’s government continues to announce it will confiscate guns from their licensed owners during the upcoming election cycle.

Canada Post’s refusal to participate added to the ongoing delays for the scheme, says CBC.[xi]

“Zero,” said a Canada Post employee when asked to describe security at his post office in a small municipality. “The government is crazy if it thinks we can do this safely.”

As a result, Ottawa now plans roll out their mandatory Firearms Confiscation Compensation Scheme during the 2025 election year. 

The government must adapt their confiscation scheme on a province-by-province basis due to its inability to find “partners” willing to collect and transport banned firearms.

“No one is rushing to participate in the program,” said a federal government source who was not authorized to comment on the matter publicly.

Is that due to government incompetence? Or is it because Trudeau counts on the gun issue to win votes in a federal election?

Either way (or both) it seems unlikely Justin Trudeau will win on this issue.

Legislation passed in Saskatchewan and Alberta add to Ottawa’s difficulties, as their legislation makes any federal confiscation scheme incredibly difficult to implement.But Trudeau’s announcements will continue unabated and until further notice while his government wastes more and more of your tax dollars on this and dozens of other hairbrained schemes.






[vi] page 3






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