Dunblane all over again

I’ve just seen the news that the Monash killer had licenses for all four of the guns he used. If the danger of terrorist attack had not already settled the issue of gun prohibition in Australia, this ought to do it. No one in an Australian city (or country town, for that matter) ought to be allowed to own a gun. Security guards and police should be able to take guns from an armoury for work and return them at the end of the shift, and I suppose some similar arrangement could be made for the ‘sport’ of pistol shooting. Farmers (and professional shooters) need rifles and obviously have to keep them on-farm. But possession of a firearm (or gun parts, or bullets) outside these limited exemptions ought to be treated as evidence of intention to murder, in the same way as possession of a ‘traffickable quantity’ of drugs is sufficient to convict someone of being a drug dealer, and similarly with housebreaking implements for burglary. There is, after all, no real use for a gun but killing, and no real use for a handgun but killing people.

Whether or not this would reduce the use of guns by professional criminals, I don’t know. But the Monash killer was, until yesterday, a perfect example of the ‘ordinary law-abiding gun-owner’ represented by bodies like the Sporting Shooters Association of Australia. He would probably not have been able to obtain one firearm illegally, let alone four. When the SSAA has worked out a foolproof plan to keep potential murderers out of their ranks, I’d be happy to give their guns back.