What I Learned from Shot Show, Besides Not to Move to Australia

What I Learned from Shot Show, Besides Not to Move to Australia
What I Learned from Shot Show, Besides Not to Move to Australia
What I Learned from Shot Show, Besides Not to Move to Australia
What I Learned from Shot Show, Besides Not to Move to Australia

I’m typing this from 30,000 feet on my way home from Vegas and Shot Show 2012. If you’ve never been to Shot Show just pick your favorite thing in the entire world (golf, shoes, video games, chocolate) and imagine an almost never ending array of that item. That is what Shot Show is like. Call it heaven on earth, if you will.

Besides trying out all of the new guns and wishing I was a billionaire so I could buy them all, one of the best parts of Shot Show is all of the interesting people you meet. I had a good, long conversation with Jeff Cooper’s wife and daughter and found out why the legendary Gunsite Ranch was where it was in Arizona. (Because Jeff and his dad used to explore the area back in the day in a Model T and he fell in love with the place.)

One of the most interesting people I met at Shot Show was a fellow from Australia who was asking me to help him choose a gun. Now, I’ve traveled all over the world however, I have not made it to Australia yet, so I wasn’t very familiar with Australia’s gun laws until now.

Get this…

In Australia you cannot have a gun with a barrel shorter than 4.72 inches. In other words, this guy was trying out all of the small concealed carry guns (and loving them) but he’s not allowed to have them in his own country.

Also, in Australia there is no concealed carry. And, when your gun is stored in your house it has to be in a safe, and the ammunition and the gun must be separate. And you’re going to love this: The police actually come out to your house and inspect that you have a safe and that you’re following all the rules. The guy told me that the police had come out to his house twice in the past several years.

When we got to the topic of rifles…

He told me that in 1996 there was a huge massacre by a crazy man and right after that, the government made everyone turn in their semi-automatic rifles. These days he told me it’s virtually impossible to get a semi-auto rifle unless you’re a police officer.

Now, I don’t know about you, but it’s these types of conversations that make me count my many blessings and make me very thankful for this country. Also, the part he told me about the rifles is especially scary, because the rifle is truly the last line of defense against an unjust government. And with the way things are headed in this country I’m thankful that I have my semi-auto rifles to protect my family if “Armageddon” ever comes.

On another note, he invited me down to Australia to go Kangaroo hunting with him. Supposedly, Kangaroo tastes pretty good. So maybe one of these days I’ll be writing to

you from Australia and I’ll have one of those cliché pictures of me standing next to my dead Kangaroo. (While singing that Kangaroo song – you know which one I’m talking about.)

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Jason Hanson is a former CIA Officer and author of The Covert Guide to Concealed Carry. He is also the creator of the Ultimate Concealed Carry Experience, which allows you to take your concealed carry training without leaving home. For full details about this training, please visit Concealed Carry Academy. You can also follow him on Google+ and Twitter.
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Luv the Kangaroo Song.

Gregg Sheehan

♪ …Tie me kangaroo down sport, tie me kangaroo down… ♫

Chris Newcomer

I had all but forgotten about this song. I hope it doesn’t stick in my head!

Gregg Sheehan

They also aren’t allowed to have any pistol larger than .38 or 9mm in caliber in Australia. That is why at least one Aussie I know has moved out here to New Zealand and joined my pistol club. We still have restrictions on firearms and how they are stored. Self defence isn’t a valid reason to own a firearm. We can have semi-automatic rifles but must have a very good reason to be able to qualify to get one – such as being a competitor in 3-gun shoots. Fully automatic rifles are not allowed.

On the plus side we have no restriction on magazine size in our pistols, for example my 1911 style .45 has double stack 14 round mags. My wife’s Glock has 15 round mags. Also deaths by firearm crime in New Zealand are comparatively rare.

BTW that Aussie incident that caused the ban of semi-automatic rifles was a jack-up by the police. The guy never used the rifle the police “found” at the scene. In fact the rifle had a bent barrel and was incapable of safely firing a shot. Seems the police had a spare unused rifle in stock that they thought would help them in their agenda to get rid of firearms and they planted it. 

The police in Australia have a criminal reputation themselves and on top of that they aren’t too bright. They have banned swords in Australia as well as bows and arrows. You cannot even have a laser pointer in case you are likely to shine it in a cops eyes. I imagine that if they could they would ban stones in that country. Total unintelligent knee-jerk reaction by authorities in Oz.


My future young wife with flaming red hair, had just returned to the states from down under, when we met. She raved about her six months there (two in ‘Alice’ waiting for a job at the SAT track station) She also enjoyed visiting NZ (shearing sheep). Still communicates with friends in Auckland. Loved the Aussie outback station Roo shoots (brought home a hide), Ostriches and Emu’s (brought home an Abo carved egg), holding a Koala and watching a Kiwi or two. 

She liked the big anthills with big hairy anteaters. Even the Abo’s kept her entertained, while hitching on ‘road trains’ and working the Stations (friend was a Jillaroo). 1968 was nice. Everybody respected everyone else, not much crime, the bad guys could actually get shot back then. She loved the Freedom …back then. Had many marriage proposals, Specially in ‘Alice’ where she was the lone single dancing Shiela at the time, but waited to return for this Yank. :>) “Mind me Platypus Duck… Bill” :>)


they have banned swords in Australia as well as bows and arrows.
REALLY when did Australia ban swords and bows and arrows. Could you enlighten me as I have both and both are perfectly legel. In fact you dont even need a licence for bows and arrows.


Me too. I have a heap of swords displayed on my walls. 8 with full live blades! I have 3 bows, 2 natural and one wheeled. No licence needed. I have 8 rifles and all of them need to be registered though. Ive had my gun licence for around 10 years and never had a safe inspection. Its the luck of the draw there I think. I wish we could have the same attitude here to guns as the US but sadly the media and our govts on both sides of politics have a strong anti gun mentality. I think the only reason we dont have even more stringent gun laws is because the sentiment of the media and politicians isnt shared by the majority of citizens. But in saying this the majority of non gun owning citizens dont care either way and their apathy speaks louder than we with guns would like. Our anti gun loonies love to tote the line of “we dont need a gun culture the the US”! Its a niave statment as hollow and baseless as the Hollywood movies it is inspired by. But, Aussies being as keen to be indipendant from the coat tails of the UK and US take that as a line that speaks for our push to distance from the older cousins influence and, sadly, we have grown up up these hollywood and gangsta rap “lessons” on how it really is in the US. I wouldnt want leave my beautiful country nor wish to make it out to be anything less than a near paradise to live in but, the way we are heading as a nanny state has many of us “true blue” Aussies starting to question our Aussie pride!


Hmmm… And Elvis is alive and well, serving fish and chips in Tijuana. Weirdo.


what i know ( little ) about canada. it’s about the same as australia. maybe some canadians can give info. about the canadian gun control laws.   


I was told by a Guy I work with who is from Canada that when you take your guns out to the Range You have to Call the Constable Police station and give them the route that your taking and the times you will be out with your gun.. Also as above the come to your house and check that your guns are in a safe and ammo is in a seperate place.


We shoulda let the Japanese invade and occupy Australia during WWII….


And we should have let the Krauts take England. The courage that brought them through WW2 has vanished, and they have a state that has instituted universal surveillance, disarmed them, and revoked the rights of free people (like right to silence in dealings with the police) – not much different from being a Reichs Protektorate.  What formerly Great Britain has turned into is not worth a drop f the American blood that was shed to save them.


its a funny thing though, in australia, those who have shooters licenses, registration papers, approved gun safes ect, cant buy a lot of useful and cool types of guns, but the outlaws dont seem to have any problem getting what they want.


I am glad I live in America even with all her faults.


Gez, after reading all this maybe we should all be a little more thankful we’re here.   I was mistakenly thinking  WE  had it worse off than Australia, New Zealand, Canada, etc.    I can see now things may not be all that bad after all.   While I still think we need more firearm freedom, it’s not as bad as many other places.


The police entering your house to do gun checks, restrictions on barrel length, no concealed carry….
Folks, those are “previews of coming attractions” if Obama, Holder, Feinstein, et al, have their way.
the only “civilians”  with guns will be bad guys. God help us (cause the cops won’t) if Obama gets another term.


i agree with you.  and the people gots to realize that the so called pres, not mines- didnt vote for him.  knew he hung out with william ayers a commie, and who was this guy that came from no where to become the liberal wings darling & savior of the socialist camps agenda.   Now george soros & the other lefties want to hook up with the UN & push their anti gun agenda here in the USA.  Its time we say no to the UN & also get them to pay their bill to NYC.  they all fail to pay their parking tickets & think its a free lunch, especially since we that taxpayers are footing their bill.  we dont need their commie agenda & let them take on their own responsiblity for what atrocities they pull on their people (rhuonda-sorry mispelled )


i agree with jason.  we are blessed here in the good old USA.  but there are sellouts in our leadership that have cowardly intentions & want to destroy our country. U know whom we all talk about.  I check wekepedia & its scary to see we are the last bastion of freedom besides swiss who believe every citizen is a soldier & have that GOD given right to pack heat somewhat.  Eng is in deep doodoo, and mexico i would go there on a dare.  But yet some (liberals) who want to make USA a gun free country.  little do they realize the freedom they give up so easily is hard to get back from the tyrants, whom once taste blood want more.  It wasnt fought & died for by patriots to be given up so freely to a bunch of ninnys, that have no conception to what it is to live in a socialist empire.  they should ask themselves why is it so many try to escape from commie countries to free ones.  let those that think socialism is good go there for a few months & live like an average person there.  They’ll soon see their error. And speaking of misdirections one who is sly & misdirects our country has tendencies to lean & hang out with william ayers a commie at heart ( no names mention )  I pray America wakes up before the elections. cause if she dont things are going to go really bad to extremely aweful!

cannon cocker

The right to bear arms needs to be protected. Our present commander in chief and his cronies would LOVE to abolish personal weapons.


The slams against the present administration are all valid.   Obama, Hillary and all the rest very much want to further restrict our gun rights.   However, let’s not lose sight of another sad fact, that being that Bush & Cheney did absolutely  NOTHING  to improve things either and Regan grabbed more of our guns than any other president!  In fact, most of the firearm restrictions we have now, we also had under all of them.   Bottom line is NONE of these political parties should be trusted regardless of what they preach.   Jefferson and Washington both mistrusted government and warned us repeatedly to keep a close eye on it.   I’m with them!


Brazil’s situation is worse, so much worse.

want to leave aus

I am waiting for the day that this disarmed australia becomes invaded by another more aggressive nation (added by our liberal government cutting defence budget).
seriously, a nation like australia with 22million people only has less than 60,000 enlisted defence force personnel (thats ALL branches of navy, army and AF) to defend a country slightly smaller than the size of america.
then I, as a licensed shooter will fight back, but i will only defend my family as everyone else voted to disarm the only people who could defend them.
then hopefully we the shooters, having saved the country and shown the liberal nay-sayers how important guns are, will elect a president of OUR choosing who is pro-gun and he will change australia back to its former glory.
and if anyone ever dare utters “guns are bad” then everyone that fought that war will say “REMEMBER WHEN [country name here] INVADED AND THE SHOOTERS FOUGHT BACK BECAUSE YOU COULDN’T?” forever shaming them and shutting them up.
we will then have a government that sees how important it is to have guns in the community.

thats my dream anyways…


anyone that wants to help me get out of here and into the US? As usual, our draconian laws don’t deter the criminals so our government just passes more and more inept laws and wonders why we have a crime problem. Do not allow the anti gunners ANY latitude. They will never be happy until all law abiding shooters are ‘disarmed’ and then only the government ( and criminals ) will have fire arms. All sounds familiar …

Leigh Nunn


I’m from Australia – just wanted to clarify a few things… and scare you a bit more 🙂

Not only can the police inspect your safe, they can do so at any time. If its 2am and someone reports a crazy with a gold winchester lever gun somewhere within a 20km radius, and you have one of those, they can knock on your door and search your safe(s) without warrant.

We are allowed pistols larger than .38″ but less than (or equal to) .45″. They require a special endorsement for the only two sports its allowed for – single (cowboy) action, and metallic silhouette shooting. Not for IPSC, there’s no IDPA (because that would encourage defensive pistol use). Magazines are limited to 10 rounds for sports shooters. Concealeed and open carry is permitted for licensed security guards performing cash in transit, or personal protection. Yep thats right, you can protect a bag of cash, but not yourself or your family. Oh, and handguns cant be used for hunting. Only target shooting, and only at an approved range.

You are correct in that we had to hand in all semi auto centre and rimfire rifles, but also pump action and semi auto shotguns (but NOT pump action rifles – go figure). Body armour was heavily restricted and is actually harder to get for an individual, than a semi auto rifle. Some people are permitted one semi auto rifle – primary producers with a significant verbate pest problem, instructors teaching safety courses, and contract shooters doing large volume govt approved animal culling. If someone is so licensed, it is only for 1 year and you have to reapply. You are not allowed to use that rifle for sports competition.

On Police officers: On duty, they are exempt from all weapons laws. They can legally carry a bazooka if they wish. Same with military personnel. When they are off duty, however, they have no more rights to firearms than a civilian does. They also have to go through the process of licensing, safety tests, etc. They must apply for permission to purchase a firearm (a ‘permit to acquire’) same as the rest of us, and they are subject to searches (in theory). They cannot own firearms that a civilian could not own. So, no semi-autos for them (except issued ones, when on duty – as previously mentioned). I have a mate who is in the AFP doing special ops, and has done a few tours in the Gulf when he was in the armed services. He had to do a safety course, same as me, join a club same as me, and can only own the same stuff I can…. in a safe. At work however he carries around a customised 9mm glock with 19 round mags.

In my state (and some others) if you have a pump (or lever) action rifle, with a detachable magazine, you are limited to a 10 round magazine, and for other repeaters – 15 rounds. This law just came in before the politically-liberal government was turfed out after 20 years of grinding us down with Nanny-state laws.

Lastly, its illegal to shoot Kangaroos, unless you have a permit. That permit costs about 90 dollars and allows you to take 50 per year. It doesnt taste too bad though, and very low in fat.

Leigh Nunn

I forgot to add that we can have semi auto pistols. I can own a 10/22 charger, but not a 10/22 rifle, even though its less concealable and not really much more powerful – if at all. By the same laws that denies me that 10/22 ruger rifle, with an endorsement (which is farily easy to get) permits me to own a .44 mag desert eagle.. and we all know what’d be more effective at 100 yards.

Lawyer Daggett

Australia’s strict laws are on all fours with what the United Nations is pushing for- so be very afraid, wherever you are in the world, and fight any attempt to tighten gun laws.
Shooting of Kangaroos without a permit (usually for farmers and professional shooters) is illegal.One clarification. Police inspect your safes and storage in Australia- they cannot do it at any time- you are entitled to tell them to go away and come back. They often do try to bluff people by arriving without an appointment so that they can ascertain if a spouse can access the guns for them in the licence holders absence or if any other laws have been broken i.e. ammo not locked away.
I had one LEO showing interest in some grass on the floor of my garage- he picked it up and examined it. It was grass and not ‘weed’ and had fallen off the bottom of my lawn mower. Unfortunately for him it had been contaminated by some of my dogs output.

Jon T

The author of this article, is truly an ignoramus. I am a shooter, and I am a gun control advocate. Arguing against gun control is like a motorist arguing about seatbelt laws. Pathetic, small penis syndrome stuff to be honest.