Australian weapons stupidity

A deadly weapon used by evil gangs, apparently

Australia, it seems, it heading down the shithole. Victoria is first in line, but the rest of the states are lining up behind her.

Take, for example, under Victoria’s new weapons legislation, a kubotan, is a prohibited weapon – that is, you need permission (page 16) from the chief of police to even own one. Don’t forget that the police have the power to randomly stop and search anyone for weapons, without probable cause. Even regular slingshots (page 11) or double bladed pen-knives (page 7). And don’t even think about those nasty, evil laser pointer cat toys – they’ve been banned for years. Oh, and if you’re under 18, no picnics for you, since even the sale of plastic knives is prohibited to those under 18. In Queensland, proposed changes to the weapons legislation would consider “discharging” a laser pointer in the same manner as discharging a firearm.

In concert, it seems, with these changes, customs have recently cracked down on knife imports. A number of sources indicate that customs are now confiscating any folding knife with a thumb stud, claiming they are “flick” knives.

While I am not a gun owner or advocate for the “right to bear arms”, this study by the Fraser institute seems pretty hard to argue with. I highly recommend reading it in full. The gist of it is that they compared per-capita violent crime rates in the US, UK, Canada and Australia. A reduction in gun violence means nothing if there is a corresponding increase in other types of violence – as the study says, “violence involving guns is not qualitatively worse than other violence: being bludgeoned to death is not less horrific than being shot to death.”. Their research actually showed that increasingly restrictive gun laws might actually increase the violent crime rate. I’m not sure that I quite agree with that last bit, but restricting access to weapons clearly does nothing to address the desire of some people to commit violent crime, nor the abilities of police to deter/prosecute said people. The fact that we’ve seen an increase in “glassing” shows that people will always find a way if they want to.

Knife laws in Queensland

Since I usually carry around a pocket knife (as a utility tool), I thought it would be worthwhile researching the relevant laws to know where I stand. Basically, it seems that you cannot carry a knife for the purposes of self defence, however if you have a reasonable excuse (such as utility tasks, work or other lawful activity requirements) then you are allowed to carry a knife – no size restrictions. However, you must not carry/use/act with the knife in such a way that a “reasonable person” would be scared/concerned.

Here’s the two relevant acts/regulations that I found:

Weapons Categories Regulation 1997

Page 8, Section 7A Category M weapons (c),
any knife so designed or constructed so as to be used as
a weapon
that while the knife is held in 1 hand, the blade
may be released by that hand;

The weapons category regulation, defines what is considered to be a category M weapon. My reading of this is that a knife is only a category M weapon if it is a knife that is designed as a weapon. If not for requirement for intended use as a weapon, then I believe a stanley knife would fall under this category. In the case of a linerlock type knife with opening studs, it is probably a bit grey, however if it was argued in court they’d need to show that it was designed or constructed as a weapon – something which I think would be pretty hard to do. (this is not for assisted openers or other such banned knives)

Weapons Act 1990
Page 74, Section 51 Possession of a knife in a public place or school

(1) A person must not physically possess a knife in a public place
or a school, unless the person has a reasonable excuse.
(2) It is a reasonable excuse for subsection (1) to physically
possess a knife—
(a) to perform a lawful activity, duty or employment; or
(b) to participate in a lawful entertainment, recreation or
sport; or
(c) for exhibiting the knife; or
(d) for use for a lawful purpose.

Example for subsection (2)(a)—
A person may carry a knife on his or her belt for performing work
in primary production.
Examples for subsection (2)(b)—
1 A scout may carry a knife on his or her belt as part of the scout
uniform.
2 A person may carry a knife as an accessory while playing in a pipe
band.
3 A fisher may carry a knife for use while fishing.
Examples for subsection (2)(d)—
1 A person may use a knife to prepare or cut food at a restaurant in a
public place or when having a picnic in a park.
2 A person may carry a pen knife or swiss army knife for use for its
normal utility purposes.
(3) However, it is not a reasonable excuse to physically possess a
knife in a public place or a school for self-defence purposes.
(4) In deciding what is a reasonable excuse for subsection (1),
regard may be had, among other things, to whether the way
the knife is held in possession, or when and where it is held in
possession, would cause a reasonable person concern that he
or she, or someone else in the vicinity, may be threatened or
harmed.

The weapons act, covers when it is allowable to carry a knife. Points 2a, b and d i believe are the relevant parts. So, a reasonable excuse would be if you use it for your work (stripping wires, cutting rope, opening packages etc) or, as per the example, for “normal utility purposes”. Note that this says nothing about knife types – as long as the  knife doesn’t fall into a weapons category (which, if used for lawful purposes as above, it doesn’t), then it says nothing about what is or isn’t covered. So, no limits on blade length, or limits on fixed blade knives or their size. Point 4 however, does mean that if you carry around a scary looking knife you could be in trouble.

Family distraught after judge rules that two wrongs don’t make a right

From the Herald Sun:

THE family of a young driver who killed his mate before his mum was murdered by the victim’s grieving dad has described his appeal loss as “heartless”.
Chaplin, 22,  killed Leigh Charter, 20,  while drink-driving and at high speed.

A year later, Mr Charter’s father, Leigh snr, took revenge, murdering Chaplin’s mother Wendy, seriously wounding his father and stabbing his brother and cousin in a frenzied knife attack.

He then killed himself.

Chaplin had a blood alcohol level was 0.085 and was doing 126km/h in an 80km/h zone when he lost control on a bend as he fiddled with the radio.

So, let’s get this straight. First, he kills someone (who happens to be his best mate – so what, he still killed someone) while driving drunk and very dangerously. Then, a victim’s relative decides to take revenge and murders the driver’s mother then kills himself. Yep, that sucks and is wrong, but how does that mean he should get off any sort of punishment for killing someone while driving drunk and dangerously? It’s not like he got a ridiculously harsh penalty – 18 months in jail is not much, considering he’s killed someone.

I suppose when you have relative claiming that the death from the car crash “was just an accident”, what can you expect? I mean, he was so drunk it is obvious that it wasn’t his fault he decided to get in a car and be a fuckwit. I bet they also sympathise with rapists, who get the wrong end of the stick when the girls were clearly asking for it.

What the fuck is happening to this country?

Police: Piss me off – you’re screwed, seriously injure a motorcyclist – no problem

A man was recently charged with careless driving, after he cut off the acting police minister, while talking on his mobile. Good-o, I say, this is the sort of thing that needs to be enforced.

However, here I sit, four months after being hit by a car performing an illegal u-turn, with probably at least another three months before I go back to work, wondering why it is that a driver who was 100% at fault and caused serious injury, gets a slap on the wrist, in the form of an infringement for performing an illegal u-turn (the same as if you did a dodgy u-turn at a set of traffic lights and didn’t cause an accident). Not even “failing to give way while performing a u-turn”, let alone Dangerous Driving Causing Grievous Bodily Harm, which is the charge that fits.

What this goes to show me is that if you piss off a police officer, you are fucked. But if you do something wrong that is a bit hard to prove (or you do it to a minority group that the police assume are guilty until proven innocent – such as motorcyclists) then you get off scott free.

Is it any wonder that Traffic Police are hated, let alone not respected?

From http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/02/01/2806594.htm

Nermin Hodzic leaves Brisbane's Magistrates Court after being fined $500.
Nermin Hodzic leaves Brisbane’s Magistrates Court after being fined $500. (ABC News: Jason Rawlins)
A man has appeared in the Brisbane Magistrates Court charged over a traffic incident involving one of Queensland’s most senior police officers.

The court heard Nermin Hodzic, 22, from Calamvale on Brisbane’s southside, was driving north on the Gateway Motorway early last month when he weaved in and out of traffic while talking on a mobile phone.

Hodzic narrowly missed a car driven by Acting Police Commissioner Kathy Rynders who was off duty at the time.

She was forced to break heavily to avoid a collision, which in turn forced motorists behind her to also break hard.

After several attempts she managed to intercept Hodzic and he was charged with careless driving and using a mobile phone whilst driving.

Hodzic was fined $500 and convictions were recorded.