An incident in southern New South Wales in September, where a farmer’s firearms were confiscated after he used an unloaded rifle to scare away an intruder, has highlighted grey areas in Australia’s self-defence laws.
It’s an issue Shooters Union Australia wants to see painted black and white instead, calling on the Queensland government to follow the NSW lead to examine current laws.
According to the Border Mail, NSW deputy Premier, John Barilaro stopped short of promising changes when he visited the home of David and Andrea Dunstan, saying the grey areas in the legislation needed to be examined.
When the intruder, armed with a knife and a piece of wood entered the Dunstan’s Bungowannah farmhouse at 3.30am on September 14, Mr Dunstan grabbed an unloaded .22 rifle as a prop, without pointing it at the man.
His firearms were subsequently removed by police, and according to SUA vice president, David Brown, they have still not been returned.
Their action has sparked public outrage. An online poll conducted by Fairfax Media showed almost 98 per cent of 5050 readers disagreed with that action.
Mr Brown has called on the Palaszczuk government to mirror NSW in reviewing the grey areas surrounding a citizen’s right to defend themselves in their own home.
He said most people don’t understand what they are and aren’t able to do.
“People can own a hockey stick, carry a lipstick in their purse, or own a firearm, but they can’t lawfully have it solely for the purpose of self defence.
“It is ridiculous that a law-abiding citizen, who did not even have his weapon loaded, was penalised for defending his family in his own home when threatened by an armed intruder.
“Any parent would have responded the same way.
Without ammunition, all Mr Dunstan had was a stick
“Without ammunition, all Mr Dunstan had was a stick.”
He said it was about time the state government cleared up any confusion surrounding this issue so citizens knew where they stood.
“Our state’s law is also in dire need of review and, given the coming election, it would be helpful to know whether the Labor government or the LNP intends to act. Both parties need to back the everyday Australian, especially when they have done nothing wrong.”
Comment has been sought from the government and the LNP.