By Dean Weingarten
Arizona -(Ammoland.com)- Australia has very strict gun laws. Some would say they are more restrictive than most of the rest of the world.
For example, toy guns that look like a real gun have the same penalties attached, and the same restrictions applied, as real guns. A Red Ryder BB gun is regulated the same as a .375 H&H magnum rifle.
At least one state considers possession of computer code that can be used to print out a plastic replica of a gun, to be the same as possessing a real gun itself. No, I do not mean an actual 3D printed firearm. I mean the instructions to print out a solid plastic toy that looks like a real gun.
After you have gone through all the bureaucratic hoops to obtain a firearm, then you have to wait another month to take possession of it. If you purchase another firearm later, you then have to wait another month to take possession of that gun.
I looked at the possibility of taking a rifle or shotgun to Australia. The hunting in Australia is some of the best in the world. The bureaucratic obstacles were too burdensome. You need a letter from your local police chief saying that you are allowed to have a gun. The letter had to be sent to the Australian authorities weeks before your trip, and you have to identify the time you would be there.
Then, the authority to have your firearm will only extend to the state where you enter Australia. Each different state would have to be dealt with separately, as you moved from state to state. As I intend to visit most Australian states, this became untenable.
Prior to traveling, I carefully searched the inside of my luggage for stray ammunition or components . I found an empty 9mm case. It would probably not have been a problem.
Having become accustomed to the relative ease with which firearms can be transported in most of the United States, the difficulty of traveling with firearms to Australia was vexing. I avoided it by not taking any firearms with me. Others avoid it by paying a professional hunting outfit to handle the local legal difficulties for them.
The arrival at Sydney, after a 14 hour flight from Los Angeles, was uneventful. As I went through customs, the officer asked me what business I would be conducting in Australia. I said that I was a writer. He asked what I wrote about. I said guns.
I mentioned the upcoming amnesty.
He said “You don't have any guns in your luggage, do you?” I said, no, I had written about Australian gun laws, and they are very strict.
He waved me through. No one opened my luggage or checked my carry-on. Those had been checked when I got on the plane.
I exchanged currency at the ANZ bank at the airport. It is located near the exit after you go through customs. I have been told they offer the best exchange rates in the country. The staff was pleasant and helpful. As I talked to the manager, I mentioned that I understood it was illegal to carry a pocket knife. She said that yes, she used to carry a small knife all the time, but she does not do so anymore.
Such are the ways in which liberty dies, a little at a time.
After I found my hotel, and checked in, I spent some time walking about the city. It is clean and busy. It seemed odd to be unarmed, and to realize that carrying even a pocket knife is a serious crime.
Tomorrow I will be taking the train to rural Australia.
©2017 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
About Dean Weingarten:
Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.