Australia has been turned into a “nation of victims” by gun control laws, Liberal Democratic senator David Leyonhjelm believes.
He says this week’s Sydney cafe siege would have been less likely to happen if the gunman thought his hostages might be carrying concealed weapons.
“That nutcase who held them all hostage wouldn’t have known that they were armed and bad guys don’t like to be shot back at,” Senator Leyonhjelm told ABC radio on Thursday.
Instead, he says, “we are all disarmed victims” and that’s unacceptable.
Cafe hostages Tori Johnson and Katrina Dawson were reportedly shot by Man Haron Monis moments before police stormed the shop and killed the gunman in a hail of gunfire.
“It would have been illegal for them to have a knife, a stick, a pepper spray, a personal Taser, mace, anything like that for self-defense,” Senator Leyonhjelm said.
“To turn an entire population into a nation of victims is just unforgivable.”
He has long called for easing Australia’s gun control laws, quitting the Liberal Party in disgust at John Howard’s strengthening of controls after the Port Arthur massacre and previously being a member of the Shooters Party.
Attorney-General George Brandis said it appeared the type of gun Monis used was banned under the 1996 laws, although he cautioned the need to wait for the full investigation to be sure.
“If the weapon he had indeed was a banned weapon, then there’s only one way he could have got that weapon and that is illegally,” he told ABC radio.
“The question is not if the laws are tough enough, but the way in which the laws are enforced.”
Senator Brandis said it was too early to begin drawing conclusions, saying Prime Minister Tony Abbott had acted swiftly to initiate a federal and NSW state review into the events leading up to Monis beginning the siege, including how a man with a known history of violence got hold of a gun.
Treasurer Joe Hockey said the fact that Monis appeared to have slipped under the radar was frustrating.
“How we missed him is a source of immense frustration to us, particularly given that we have given more resources to our security agencies,” Mr Hockey told Seven Network.