Arrival of a Gun Blogger in Australia

By Dean Weingarten

Dean Weingarten
Dean Weingarten

Arizona -(  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.

Link to Gun Watch


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.

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There is nothing wrong with self-defence! If one is in mortal danger then, obviously, one uses what is there – a gun, knife, pepper spray, whatever! I am Australian. They took our guns away a long time ago. A citizenry that is unarmed is easy to control, to bamboozle, to subjugate to unjust laws and decisions. I do not believe that the take-over of Europe that we have witnessed by “refugees” would have been possible if the Europeans were armed. Mankind has always had weapons – but our right to bear arms or not – our choice if you will… Read more »

Tom S

Different subject but just an example of the bureaucracy killing freedom and the simple joys of life. My wife and I fished a lake in southeast Ontario every year for 25 years. Near the end, I was informed to watch out for the “beer police” checking boats for beer, not fish. No beer anywhere, for anyone at anytime. Ok, sure, you don’t want the person driving to be BUI but restricting EVERYBODY? Even if you go to an island for a picnic, no beer! Along with other asinine Canadian regulations, we no longer go. Screw ’em! They just lost my… Read more »


I passed on driving through or fishing in Canada because of the gun thing. Then I went to Alaska. Well, at least it is not as bad as Canada, but there are still restrictions. For example if you travel on a train or use lodging provided by some tour companies, you may face carry restrictions. They use Department of Home Land Security Title 49 USC 114 and 6 USC 1112 as legal justifications for searches of your luggage for firearms, and this in bear and moose country! Just in case some might think, “I really don’t need a gun.” two… Read more »


@John Dunlap: Whoa, let’s back this up a minute. Have you actually read either of these two sections of the code? I have and neither one has anything to do with searchs or authorization thereof. The first is monetary funding and the Second places limits on who can call out a VIPR team, in part. I could find not one word about searches or inspections of luggage on common carriers or by tour operators. If it does please cite exactly where so I can find it.


Thanks for the heads up on the two sections code. Just in case I wrote them down wrong I double checked. Yes, they appear exactly as I stated. I have a photo of the sign. Question: how do I down load the photo of the sign so you can see it. Failing that I will write out the whole sign: ” Subject to search All persons and property are subject to search beyond this point pursuant to title 49 USC 114 and 6 USC 1112 These security measures are intended to prevent the introduction of dangerous weapons, substances and devices… Read more »


Okay, I knew I was on solid footing but I checked with the guy (a personal friend) who actually got the NPS law changed a few years ago. The cruise lines are blowing more smoke than a wild fire. There is no restriction on you carrying a firearm in Denali, period, except that you may not carry it in a park services building. Now, Princess Cruise Lines, as a private business, can tell you you can’t bring a firearm but that’s bad business for them and I’d really raise hell. As a side note, it is illegal, as per Federal… Read more »


Send me an email — [email protected]


As an Aussie I can tell you there are three groups here.
1. Gun owners.
2. Rabid anti gun owners, Bureaucrats and politicians.
3. Those that don’t have a clue and sit astride the fence.
It is the job of us in group 1 to educate group 3.
There is no hope for group 2.


Rather it’s 1) those who are indifferent, 2) those who wonder about the U.S. and their fascination with wanting to shoot at others and 3) the minority who wish they had the U.S. rights to shoot others with hardly ever facing criminal charges.

Note few people who want to elected in Australia appeal to laissez-faire approach of gun use. Not to mention the Australian Shooters Party can get hardly any votes.


for the benefit of those reading, there is no “Australian Shooter’s Party” so Gil is (technically) correct. There are Shooters’, Fishers’ and Farmers’ Parties in several states. They’Ve won about upper house seats in 3 states and a lower house seat in one. So, they actually do get a reasonable number of votes.

ex vet 17 years

better hunting and less hassle going to New Zealand


As an Born and bred Aussie and a life long target shooter and hunter, i am very interested to follow this..


This is really interesting, a first hand report, looking forward to followups. I had no idea about the pocket knife restriction. One more reason I’ll never go.

Heed the Call-up

Vanns, I wasn’t aware of that, either, but a trip to Australia is only a possible future destination. I would like to go sometime, but as an East Coaster, that is one hell of a long flight. I know in the UK one can’t have a pocket knife longer than three inches, and it can’t have a locking blade. Yet, locking blades, especially on small knives are much safer for the user. It just shows these laws are not about safety.


I’ve made the trip to Hawaii three times, that’s 13 hours total and I consider it brutal. One time I flew direct from Maui to O’Hare and when I got off the plane I was ready to claw my way through the door to get off. Never again, I’m just too old! 🙂


We don’t need to be concerned about this because Australia is so far away … right?

“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me”


Yeah right. A man isn’t really a man when he can’t shoot dead someone at a moment’s notice.

Heed the Call-up

Gill, what about women gun owners? Not only is your post stupid, but also sexist. You are the only that comes up with such inanity. You have posted a similarly stupid comment recently.

I thought Leftists weren’t supposed to be sexist, etc.? Also, aren’t you supposed to view others opinions with moral equivalency and with a “world view” that others values are important, too? How does the world look from your mother’s basement? Do you even have a window to see out of? That certainly would explain your narrow-mindedness.


Look, I keep saying this and you guys keep getting sucked in. “Gil” is a pseudonym used by a member of the Violence Policy Center to try and agitate every chance they can. He was outed months ago, anonymously, by another member who discovered it. They race bait and use every tactic at their disposal to illicit a response and you guys fall for it every single time. Don’t! Call him a troll and leave it at that. Every other comment just continues to bring him back. He used to operate under another name until that was found out. Please,… Read more »

Heed the Call-up

Vanns, he’s not agitating, he’s just a hapless, lost child.


Yeah right. Those who want gun down others for misdemeanors find it very difficult to believe that anyone could dare to think differently. I don’t represent an organization nor have I posted under a different pseudonym but the fact you & co. jump to conclusion means some of you are operating outside the law in some way. It’s the same way you know you’re dealing with a shady character when if you say “hello” and they snap “what are you, cop?!”

Heed the Call-up

Gil, no one is gunning “down others for misdemeanors” nor advocating for that here; that is also illegal. I have also never stated you are part of any organization. You are just a hapless, lost child.

Yes, you certainly do think differently, quite oddly, in fact. You always post outrageous and/or inane comments stating what you believe to be the way we think and believe, even though we repeatedly show that your ideas are inane, outrageous and patently false concerning our point of view and beliefs on safety, self-defense and firearm ownership, etc.

Wild Bill

@Heed, you are so altruistic. No VPC staffer deserves your generosity, nor will you ever change his arguments. His paycheck depends upon publishing VPC propaganda.


Have you cashed your Koch and NRA checks yet, WB?

Wild Bill

@Heed, If you are looking for legitimate debate, you will not get it from GFYG. He never responds to your comments because he has other sites at which to bait honest conservative people. You are just getting him paid.


What kind of retarded comment is that. You’re a dickhead.


That’s what the 2A is all about.

Heed the Call-up

Gil, please post where in the 2A it states what you posted. I have read and re-read the 2A and I can’t find a reference to “shoot dead someone at a moment’s notice.”


When is this site going to recommend actual self-defense courses rather than ones that recommend shooting others dead as “self-defense?”

Heed the Call-up

Gil, can you cite where this site has ever recommended “shooting others dead as ‘self-defense?'” I don’t recall ever reading that here, except from you.


Can you cite an AL article on self-defense courses that are concerned with avoiding confrontation or the usual honing your targeting skills for the inevitable confrontation?

Wild Bill

@David, Here is another partial retarded comment from the same author: “… jump to conclusion means some of you are operating outside the law in some way.” How is it that jumping to a conclusion means that the conclusion jumper is operating outside of some unnamed law?


Or more like a man isn’t a man if he can’t effectively defend his own life and the lives of others.

If you think your life isn’t worth defending because the government tells you so, I feel sorry for you. If you want to rely on the kindness of home invaders, rapists and muggers that’s your choice but trying to argue that everyone should be prohibited from defending themselves against these threats or that caring about self defence somehow conveys some kind of blood lust is moronic.


@laughing Jack: You are responding to a troll. Please don’t feed the trolls — I’m serious. Email me at [email protected] if you wish.