In a stark warning to U.S. gun owners, Australian weapons manufacturer Lance French says firearm control laws—once introduced—never stop expanding.
The owner of SGS Industries made the comments during the Western Australian Firearms Community Alliance meeting on April 1.
The meeting of gun owners and industry experts was held in reaction to impending state laws that will expand the gun control regime to ban high-powered firearms.
“Gun control doesn’t stop at a particular gun. It just keeps going. It’s relentless. It doesn’t stop,” French told The Epoch Times. “They’re making these false claims that certain items are dangerous when what’s dangerous is a person, and it’s a very low percentage of people.”
Following the 1996 Port Arthur massacre—that claimed the lives of 35 individuals—Australian governments began an ongoing program of gun control.
“They started the buyback, they got rid of semi-auto stuff, and they just kept going,” French said.
“What the U.S. can learn from us is that we are a living testament to the fact that it won’t stop. We’re down to bolt action rifles, and pump action rifles—can’t even have a pump action shotgun unless you fit certain criteria—it’s really restrictive, and you can’t even do it for self-defence.”
“The politicians keep cutting the corners and taking the edges off, and we’ll be left with nothing in a few years.”
“It always starts with pronouncements and proclamations that it’s going to do certain things for people’s own good and their safety—it’s always an overabundance of care. How does it end up? Totalitarian control.”
Meanwhile, gun owner Kate Fantinel said the WA government should turn its eye to cost-of-living pressures locally—notably rising inflation and interest rate rises.
“I think they should be looking at ways to use their big mining budget to help the people who need it the most, not creating problems out of thin air,” she said.
“Unfortunately, in Australia, people tend to turn to the government to protect themselves. I completely think it should be the other way around, that the individual should be responsible for looking after themselves,” she added.
As a young woman, that’s something important to me, and I’m horrified that I can’t defend myself.”
High-Powered Guns to Be Banned in Toughest Laws in Australia
The Western Australia Labor government will “buy back” high-powered firearms able to fire over long distances and are armour-piercing.
Under the ban, 56 types of firearms and 19 calibres of ammunition will become illegal. This means 248 licenced firearms will be banned and must be disposed of by July 1, 2023.
“While they remain in our community, these weapons are vulnerable to falling into the wrong hands, and the consequences could be devastating,” said Premier Mark McGowan.
While the laws will target legal owners, the number of weapons on the “grey market” or undeclared still remains high.
A study by the University of Sydney in 2021 revealed over 260,000 illegal firearms were available on the “grey market” with suggestions the number could be as high as 600,000.
US Gun Control Debate Starts Again Following School Shooting
Meanwhile, in the United States, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) has demanded the Republican-led House vote on gun control legislation “immediately” in the aftermath of the Nashville shooting.
Jeffries made his appeal in a March 31 letter to House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), in which the top Democrat called for “common sense” gun curbs that would include Biden’s “assault” weapons ban and a requirement for universal background checks.
“I write today to strongly urge you to immediately bring up common sense gun safety legislation for a vote upon our return to Congress,” Jeffries wrote.
Jeffries specifically called on McCarthy to bring for a vote the Bipartisan Background Checks Act, which calls for background checks for all gun sales, and the Assault Weapons Ban that Biden has pushed.
A day after a shooter armed with AR-style semi-automatic rifles and a handgun killed six people, including three children, in Nashville, the U.S. president reiterated his call to ban “assault” weapons.
“Why in God’s name do we allow these weapons of war in our streets and at our schools?” Biden said in a speech. “So I again call on Congress to pass the assault weapons ban. Pass it. It should not be a partisan issue. This is a commonsense issue.”
Data from the National Gun Violence Archive shows that the Nashville incident is the latest in 130 mass shooting incidents so far this year.
Mark Hutchison and Tom Ozimek contributed to this report.