Australian Gun Culture Part 26: Guns Confiscated for Self-Defense

By Dean Weingarten

David Dunstan, Original image :
David Dunstan, Original image :
Dean Weingarten
Dean Weingarten

Arizona -( David Dunstan, a farmer in Victoria, about 10 miles outside the Australian town of Albury, found himself confronting a teen armed with a knife and a large club at 3 a.m. on the 14th of September, 2017. He slammed shut the door, and called for his wife to get the key to the gun cupboard.

He retrieved an unloaded .22 rifle, and used it to convince the thug that he should get in a car and drive to the police station.

The offender is in jail without bail.  He is suspected of invading another house just hours previously.


A farmer who armed himself with an unloaded gun to protect his family from a knife-wielding thug says he fears the justice system is “stacked against” victims. Father-of-three David Dunstan, 52, was left reeling after police turned up at his property near the NSW-Victorian border to investigate the home invasion — and confiscated the farmer’s legal firearms while they were there, the Herald Sun reports.It came after the cattle and crop farmer confronted a teen armed with a knife and a block of wood who knocked on his back door about 3am last Thursday.“He had a seven foot log of red gum in his hand a knife concealed in the other,” Mr Dunstan said.

I know a little about the intricacies of firearms law in Australia. I am not surprised he had his guns confiscated. He may not get them back. He may lose his license.

The critical statement is that he called to his wife to get the key to gun cupboard. My understanding is that is strictly forbidden by Australian law.

License holders are forbidden from allowing anyone else to have access to their firearms, even if the other people also have gun licenses. A wife and husband who have licenses must have separate gun safes. The fact that his wife knew where the key was may be considered “unsafe storage”, which requires mandatory confiscation of the guns.

In New South Wales, the law was changed in May, 2017, but will not go into effect until November. It is unclear if a similar change is planned for Victoria.

The extremely strict firearms regulatory scheme was designed specifically to make self defense with firearms difficult and likely, illegal. One of the architects of the scheme, Phillip Alpers, has admitted one intent was to deny the right to bear arms. From

In the 1996 National Firearms Agreement, Australia installed a holistic suite of firearm-related public health interventions. These spanned from compulsory firearm seizure in domestic violence cases to the requirement to show “genuine reason” for owning each firearm (now rolled back in several states); universal firearm registration; enforced safe storage regulations; definitive denial of the “right to bear arms”; and many others.

The keystone of gun legislation in England and Wales was to gradually deny any legitimate use of firearms for self defense.  The United States incorporated an Englishman’s right to arms into the famous Second Amendment to the United States Constitution.

The British, first overseas in India, then in England and Wales, and then in Canada, New Zealand, and Australia, gradually eliminated the right to arms by merely ignoring it. In India and England, the purpose was not crime control, but fear of revolt.

Extensive research by Professor Joyce Lee Malcolm buttresses research done by Chief Inspector Colin Greenwood at Cambridge University.

From Guns and Violence, the English Experience, page 162:

Second, the Firearms Act of 1920, which took away the traditional right of individuals to be armed, was not passed to reduce or prevent armed crime or gun accidents.  It was passed because the government was afraid of rebellion and keen to control access to guns.

Citizens could not be effectively disarmed if they had the constitutional right to arms. A right to arms is essential for effective, instead of nominal, self defense.  From Member of Parliament David Leyonhjelm:

Australia’s ban on practical self-defence sets it apart from most other countries. Almost none prohibit non-lethal means of self-­defence, while many permit ownership of firearms at home. A few (including most US states) allow the carriage of firearms for self-defence almost anywhere, subject to a permit system.

Australia’s prohibition on practical self-defence is relatively recent, emanating from the 1996 changes in firearms laws that followed the Port Arthur massacre. Not only were many types of firearm prohibited, but Australia embraced an international push to prohibit civilian ownership of firearms for self-defence.

The basic law in New South Wales, and Australia, has not changed. It is remarkably similar to law in the United States.


The law for self defence in NSW

Section 418 of the Crimes Act 1900 outlines when self defence is available.
(1) A person is not criminally responsible for an offence if the person carries out the conduct constituting the offence in self-defence.
(2) A person carries out conduct in self-defence if and only if the person believes the conduct is necessary:

  • to defend himself or herself or another person, or
  • to prevent or terminate the unlawful deprivation of his or her liberty or the liberty of another person, or
  • to protect property from unlawful taking, destruction, damage or interference, or
  • to prevent criminal trespass to any land or premises or to remove a person committing any such criminal trespass,

and the conduct is a reasonable response in the circumstances as he or she perceives them.

The concepts are virtually identical to United States law. If an accused can fight hard enough to have the case presented to a jury, they likely win. Self defense cases are often dismissed before a jury trial. The process to reach that point is severe punishment in itself.

There have been a few cases where Australians have used guns in self defense in the last few years. Most were acquitted after a long, difficult process. The law appears to be on the side of the criminal.


In 2011, Gold Coast man Kane Robert Cook was charged with manslaughter after shooting an armed intruder dead in his home. Police confirmed four men were waiting for Cook in his home, and after a scuffle, he shot one man in the leg with a World War II Luger 9mm pistol. The intruder died of his injuries and the ensuing case took two years to resolve.

When charges were eventually dropped, Cook’s criminal lawyer Bill Potts told 4BC radio it was unjust.

“How could the justice system find a man defending who his own house and own life against armed masked robbers find himself charged with manslaughter of one of them?” Potts said.

“He’s had a life sentence hanging over his head for the last two and a half years.”

There are movements in England, Canada, and Australia to restore an effective right to use weapons to defend your home. It is growing, but has little support in the halls of power and the media.

These incidents show the wisdom of the castle doctrine in most American states. It’s origins are in English law. Those origins are carefully ignored by the establishment media in England, Canada, New Zealand, and 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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Spurwing Plover
Spurwing Plover
3 years ago

Any hollywood airhead Matt Damon wants all our guns confiscated well we just Boycott all of his stupid movies and smash up all hIs DVD/VHS AND HIT HIM WHERE IT HURTS

4 years ago

One can’t help but believe that the crime rate in Australia will eventually grow at a very fast rate. The police can only show you after you are robbed, raped, or even killed. Soon only the criminals will have weapons and the police will show up after the fact to take your report. If your still alive.

Hardy Spires
Hardy Spires
4 years ago

I would not live in a country where I couldn’t defend myself or my family from criminals.

Mike the Limey
Mike the Limey
4 years ago

Please correct your reference to Colin Greenwood.
He is a retired chief inspector not a Chief Constable. This takes nothing away from his expertise as a firearms consultant but prevents the gun grabbers from claiming we are the ones telling lies.