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Letters to SAR: February 1999

By The Small Arms Review Editorial Staff

Dear SAR,

We find your publication and asset to our technical library and I am pleased to recommend it to my colleagues.

Bruce E. Ellis, TCE
Firearms Section,
Forensic Laboratory Halifax

SAR is always happy to hear that we are supplying good information to the readers. Our range of technical colleagues gets wider every day...

Note from Australia:
Surrender body armor, warn police - by Ben Hooper

An amnesty on the possession of bulletproof vests was announced by South Australian police yesterday. In a move to prevent their use by armed offenders, people with body armor have three months to surrender it or get written approval from the Commissioner of Police to avoid a possible jail term. The officer in charge of the firearms section, Inspector Cormac McCarron, said the amnesty would extend to February 28 next year, after which a two-year jail term or an $8000 fine would apply.

SA Police Department of Correctional Services and defence force members who use body armor in the course of their work have been excluded. Approval to other people would be given on a case-by-case basis, Inspector McCarron said. The amnesty was declared after State Parliament recently passed amendments to the Summary Offences Act.

Mr. David Hill, from the Australian Security Industry Association, welcomed the move, saying: “The industry considers armed security guards and those security guards in high risk situation as worthy of approval,” he said. “It will ensure that those who should have the equipment to protect themselves will be able to and those who want to use it for criminal purposes won’t”. Applications for approval and inquiries can be made at the Firearms Section, 30 Finders St, City, phone 8204 2512.

More from Australia
HAND THEM OVER - Amnesty for owners of deadly weapons - by Political Editor MILES KEMP

The owners of outlawed knives will be given an amnesty to hand them in before they face tough new penalties. If the legislation unveiled yesterday is approved, fines of up to $10,000 or two years jail will be imposed after the amnesty period. The far-reaching legislation proposes a range of bans on weapons devised to “kill or injure people”.

The Attorney General has compiled a category of weapons banned from sale and use in South Australia. The weapons include kung fu sticks, flick knives, daggers, knuckle knives, Star throwing knives, and devices made to hide knives or blades.

Under the comprehensive restrictions, it will be illegal to make, sell, supply, distribute, deal or possess those weapons. Mr. Griffith said that once the bans took effect the weapons could be surrendered at police stations - but no compensation would be offered to owners. Details of the amnesty had not been finalized, he said.

Only “very limited” exemptions - “a genuine need for legitimate purpose” would be granted to enable some people to carry the weapons.

Exemption categories would include the use of the items in employment or business, for display in museums and art galleries, entertainment, sport, recreation, religious purposes and official ceremonies.

People with exemptions will be made to secure the weapon and carry them safely or face prosecution. But, Mr. Griffin said the measure were not an overreaction to “some community concerns”. Legitimate hobbies which involve knives, such as fishing, would be exempt from the ban.

Thank you to the anonymous SAR reader who sent these to us from Down Under. “I have a little list, of things that never will be missed” seems to be the theme poem of the anti-personnel defense proponents. Make no mistake about it, there IS a list of items they wish to ban. They will not stop until the only people who are armed are the criminals. God bless you in Australia, and we all hope that you can elect officials to turn the madness around. The simple phrase “Adds ten years to the sentence when used in a violent crime”, might do more to stop the criminal misuse of these items- far more than making criminals out of ordinary citizens for the mere possession of weaponry, or self defense items like a “bulletproof” vest.
SAR

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