A SIGNIFICANT NUMBER of shooters believe that we should be able to have firearms for self-defence.
Even those who disagree couldn’t argue that there can be times when you need to be able to use a firearm to defend yourself.
For example, when someone comes at you with a knife.
The David Dunstan story
You might recall the story of David Dunstan from 2017 – the NSW farmer who lost his guns after grabbing his gun to stop a knife wielding intruder at the back of his property, even though he (David) did not use his gun.
His wife had called the police – but they were a good half hour away, while David had to act quickly to protect his family.
David’s ‘genuine reason’ was that he is a farmer, yet he was thrown into a situation when he clearly had to protect himself – and a legal battle to get his guns back.
Attack in Alice Springs
NOW we have a similar story from the gateway to the Red Centre.
One evening in late April, “Ron” heard a commotion near his house and saw that his neighbour had been stabbed in the back. She was laying in a neighbour’s driveway, quite motionless with Ron fearing the worst.
Another neighbour called an ambulance while Ron grabbed his first aid kit – and his 1917 Eddystone rifle – an Enfield (similar to the one pictured here) and ran to help the victim.
The gun had rounds in the magazine but was unchambered and had the safety on so could not be fired.
It was just as well Ron was there because he was an experienced first aider.
However, it was night-time and an assailant was on the loose in a town that had been dubbed the ‘world stabbing capital’.
It was a dangerous situation for Ron to be in, so having his gun with him was the insurance he needed to make sure he didn’t become the next victim.
Ron gave his neighbour first aid (with the gun on the ground nearby and under his control) until the ambos turned up when he let them do their bit.
The police rolled up around the same time at which point Ron let them know why he had his rifle with him. The officers told him to get the rifle out of there, which he started to do by heading home.
Other officers who turned up in another car stopped Ron and seized his firearm and licence. They returned the next day to take his other guns and ammo. All without providing any paperwork.
Ron is understandably concerned about what happened, so turned to the NSC after being advised by Shooting Stuff Australia.
The NSC then turned to the Northern Territory Firearms Council who kindly recommended a top local lawyer who the NSC has hired to help Ron.
On the lawyer’s recommendation, we are unable to say what happened to next or what the legal approach will be. However, we intend to make sure that this matter reaches the right legal conclusion.
NT’s legal requirement to respond
Sure, we get the problem when people carry loaded / chambered firearms in public, but the reason it was required in this instance is self-evident.
As we saw with David Dunstan, Ron only wanted to make sure he was safe. His only option was to stay inside and let his neighbour die. Except that this would have been illegal.
The NT’s Criminal Code Act imposes a ‘general duty’ on people to provide assistance to persons in need of it.
Sydney Criminal Lawyers state on their website that “Failing to help a person in danger has now been made a crime in the Northern Territory”.
The site says that the Act “now imposes a general duty to rescue, stating that any person who is able to provide rescue, resuscitation, medical treatment, first aid or succour of any kind to a person who is urgently in need of it and whose life may be endangered but “callously fails to act” is committing an offence.”
The penalty for not complying is up to seven years imprisonment.
Ron had no choice.
Help Ron – join the NSC
If you’d like to support Ron – and all the other people we’re helping push back against bad gun laws right across Australia – then the best way to do it is by becoming a member of the NSC. Every cent goes to our fights.
Simply click here to join.