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CHANGES OF POLICY IN NATIONAL FIREARMS AGREEMENT

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Firearms acts are specified features of the legal and regulatory variables for a country's internal social demography. In this assignment, the changing policy of the Australian Firearms Act is to be discussed. Along with the chosen topic, the variability and significance of firearms acts are to be discussed by the researcher to make a clear outcome of the security and safety policies of Australia. The significance of firearms acts in the Australian civil body has been critically analysed in this assignment. Firearms acts play both keys of safety and threat to social structure, and thus, the ACF model of the Australian firearms act and multiple streams of changing policy have been discussed by the researcher.

Significance of the previous policy

Australia is one of the commonwealths that follow the federal law system that has been proclaimed and followed by the UK government. It has been mentioned in various aspects that the UK government follows to provide the gun licence to people who do not belong to the armed forces. Six types of firearms have been categorized in National Firearms Agreement Policy (1996). These arm categories are Category A- Rifles and Shotguns, Category B- Centerfield Rifles and Muzzleloading Firearms, Category C- Self Loading guns and semi-automatic rifles and Shotguns, based on magazine capacity. These types of arms were being restricted to government bodies, professional shooters Category D- and business persons. Category H- Air pistols and handguns that can be used by target shooters and private security personnel. Category R/E- these category firearms are only to be used by the army and government security forces (Cipriani et al. 2017). Army tanks, rocket launchers, machine guns and self-loading automatic rifles are prominent among them.

Various reasons can be noted as a proclamation of firearms act in Australian civil society. It has been mentioned in this assignment earlier that Australian society is often witnessing clashes and a threat to normal livelihood. Along with that, geographic location with poisonous species has also been mentioned as a reason for the Australian Firearms Act. In the first quarter, the Australian police system and social security were not that effective to make observations of that vast geographically expanded society. Moreover, due to migration, people are from different countries come to Australia to run their livelihood (Cohen et al. 2016). It has been witnessed by researchers that various threats are being originated from those sources like theft, robbery, kidnapping and extortion. Due to the absence of several employees and backup, the police force was not capable of reaching places of occurrences according to time. Thus, the Australian government has enacted this National Firearms Policy (1996) with help from the Australian Police Ministers Council (APMC) and Council of Australian Governments (COAG). It can be stated on that matter that Australian people were carrying guns and make any catastrophic situation into concerning society. Likewise, on 28th April 1996, 35 people were killed in Tasmania, Australia by a mass shooting. Thus, the government mentioned above officials have planned to formulate this act and make segregation of firearms as per their need and usage. This act has imposed a ban on ownership, sale, resale, and importation of centerfield rifles that are self-loading. This act has also stated that all firearms, using by people of Australia, should be licensed and registered with government authority (Fellows et al. 2019). Firearms must be registered with a proper license within 28 day's warning period. Only licence firearms companies are permissible to sell firearms with the government mentioned limit.

The significance of this act and policy can be discussed in a narrative way regarding the safety and security of Australian society. From the incident as mentioned above, the Australian government has decided to maintain firearms legislation according to demand from society. Firearm segregation that has been mentioned in the Firearms Act (1996) has been based on social security structure. This act has banned several firearms and its implication for civilians of Australia. However, it affects somehow adversely into Australian social structure. Before the proclamation of this firearms act, many suicides and murders had been registered with Australian government schemes and policies. However, change is needed for ensuring more safety and security for Australian people (Lemieux et al. 2015). From the case studies of the public mass shooting on 14th February 2018, where 17 people have been killed Stone man Douglas High School.

Multiple Streams of the Policy change

The National Firearms Act of Australia has been changed by Multiple Streams of Policy change framework.

Figure 1: Multiple Streams of Policy Changes

(Source: Houck, 2017)

Three streams play a major role in influence this policy changing operation. These streams are; Problem Stream, Policy Stream and Politics Stream. According to Houck (2017), the evaluation of streams can prove to be an effective stream alignment in the policy window and entrepreneurship. After the successful joining of these two alignments, the changing of policy probability has been increased. About changing the policy of the Australian Firearms Act, all these factors and streams have been evaluated by the Australian government.

Problem Stream: Problem Statement has been based on social indicators, events and feedbacks. Events and feedback can be referred to as different cases and scenarios related to firearms incidents in the Australian case study. The main reason for the formation of this act is Tasmania mass killing and its modification have been happened due to a mass killing on February 14, 2018. Feedbacks refer to public response against the events as well as national and international perspectives (Luetjens, Mintrom and Hart, 2019).

Policy Stream: In the case of policy stream on changes of the Australian Firearms Act, communication has been mentioned by researchers as one of the significant variables. In previous times, this firearms act has been communicated through the national geographical location by the government (Mata, 2015). However, it was not clearly stated about the banning of specific firearms and its implementation.  The Australian police system was not capable enough to maintain their sources and operations regarding observation of the Act.

Politics Stream: Politics stream depends upon the political situation and demographic nature of political parties in a democratic country. Different political parties are present in Australia that operates their political work to ensure the safety of their people and properties. Thus, they provide special attention to modify this policy of firearms (McPhedran, 2016). Political leaders have conveyed to the government that there are certain loopholes of this policy that have been implemented through people for harming the safety and threatening to social organisations. On the other hand, this policy also increases the number of suicides in society. 

ACF Model of Policy Change

Advocacy Coalition Framework contains multiple levels and officials of government. In the Australian context, it can be stated that the advocacy model refers to the opinion of legal variables and people's concerns. In many cases, this advocacy panel also belongs to government officials and politicians who possess a certain power to mould civic law and regulations. Kleck (2017) states this coalition framework works under the influence of social aspects and government bodies.

Figure 2: ACF Model of Policy Change

(Source: Kleck, 2017)

This model insulates thoughts to produce decisions according to time and situation. After proclaiming Firearms Act, 1996, different mass killings have occurred. Most prominently, mass killing that has happened in a school on 14th February 2018 has provided a serious alarm to the Australian government and they have planned to decide against it. To follow these decisions, political factors are being criticized as a barrier to make a uniform decision. However, in the Australian context, maximum political persons and members of the governing body have stated their thoughts to modify this Policy (Stubbs and Wangmann, 2017). From the above-mentioned diagram of the ACF model, Relatively Stable system parameters are referred to as government bodies and officials. On the other hand, socio-economic parameters can be referred to as external sources. These two factors play to confirm the implementation of a long term coalition that aided government officials to bring positive modification in the Weapons Prohibition Act 1998.

Policy brokers play an empirical part of this policy system to make its proper implementation and decision surging. Policy brokers are liable to maintain this coalition that has been formed by government officials and social policymakers. Government officials maintain meetings with their social policymakers and evaluate the social structure and its needs. After making a proper evaluation, they decide on making policies that adhere to contemporary contexture. Thus, they modify currently operating policies and instruct officials to circulate their actual output. 

Reasons for Policy Changes

One of the prime reasons for modifying this policy is racism. Racism is one of the major issues that are making a threat to Australian civil law and social jurisdiction. This racism not only refers to clashes between foreigners and Australians but also clashes among native clans of Australia. Aboriginals and ethnic clans from Australian soil are facing threats from those people who are living in cities of Australia. Thus, it is significant for the Australian government to modify this act. This changing framework has been emphasised upon social variables and patterns (Zeoli et al. 2017). The Australian government has conducted various research and observation to maintain its policy of firearms act and obligations.

Before changing this policy, the Australian government has observed the social structure and changing feature. From a psychological concept, it has been researched and witnessed that a large number of Australian youth are currently pursuing hatred to people those are coming from Asian countries and operate job or pursue study. The Australian government is liable to provide them security and safety and thus Australian government officials and their coalition that has been stated by the ACF model, have modified their policies. On the other hand, this modification is needed to control arms supply and stop illegal dealing of firearms by using Australian soil. The previous licensing policy has stated that a minor can possess firearms under the supervision of a guardian. This confirms that the damages done towards minor people have been further accelerated by the lack of firearms safety. This is also because they do not have the maturity to maintain firearms and their appropriate usage.

Strengths and Weakness of previous policies

In this assignment, the researcher has stated that there are different strengths and limitations of Firearms Policy (1996), Australia. This policy first makes a nod to the usage of firearms by civil persons and maintains segregation among firearms which are to be used by common people and which should be prohibited. Along with that, this act could not control accidents and killings due to the excessive application of firearms (Cipriani et al. 2017). From 1984 to 1996, there were major killings that took place in Australia that have also taken the lives of innocent people. To meet this crisis, Australian government organisations had taken this decision to control firearms and make proper segregation of that. On the other hand, common people have been provided that facilities keep the licence and use guns to maintain their safety.

Strength

The prime strength of this policy is to ensure the safety and security of people by providing bans on certain arms like machine guns and rocket launchers. Guns and rocket launchers have been strictly meant for army use semi centric rifles with an automatic loading system that had been banned for common use. Another effect of this policy is to maintain the segregation of arms as per their needs and usage (Cohen et al. 2016). To maintain that, the Australian government has segregated the population base into three basic divisions; an army or military personnel, Private security as well as shooters and Common people. The Australian government also focused on maintaining the security of people who do not belong to Australia. Many portions of Australia are suffering from racism and there common people of Australia can harm them by firearm.   

Weakness

At first, this act did not provide any massive barriers to arms purchase. Thus, large semi-automatic rifle dealing has been witnessed between 1996 and 1997. In this context, the Port Arthur Massacre can be mentioned where 35 people were shot dead and 23 were injured by two semi-automatic rifles. Another disadvantage that can be prudently mentioned regarding this act is permitting minor to keep firearms under the supervision of guardians. In 2003, Monash University Massacre and Thomas Ambling Massacre. Two persons who had been arrested for making those massacres are minor and they got their gun licence under the supervision of their guardians (Fellows et al. 2019). Providing a licensing policy to common people can be treated as another disadvantage of this firearm policy that increases suicide cases.

Evaluation of modified policy

After witnessing the consequences of the above-mentioned firearm policy, the Australian government has understood the necessity to modify this policy and surge some of its parts. Evaluations of modification of firearms policy have been mentioned in different sectors of arms dealing and licensing policies. In this regard, the Australian government has hiked age to get a gun and to license policy of keeping them. Houck (2015) notes this policy stated that granting a gun license should be to a person who is a minimum of 18 years of age. In the previous policy, a licence would need to be renewed every 10 years, but according to the modern firearms act of the Australian government; licences need to be renewed in 3 to 5 years. This legislation and policy should be followed in different ways in different geographical locations. After witnessing so much mass killings, the Australian government has formed a list of places that are sensible and has proclaimed gun laws according to the vulnerability of those places. 

This law has poured a ban on selling and usage of semi-automatic rifles and shotguns as it has been mentioned that most of these massacres have been done by shotguns and semi-automatic rifles (Mata, 2015). In the previous regulation of 1996, no proper jurisdiction has been mentioned. In new changes and regulations, it has been stated that a separate jurisdiction is needed for maintaining those firearms act and its proper implication. This act also brings supervision under those companies who are dealing with firearms business in the Australian context. This act also provides effective observation firearms registration. In this regard, the researcher has mentioned that in the year 2016, 260,000 unregistered firearms have been seized by government officials. Among those arms, 250,000 were automatic and semi-automatic rifles and the remaining 10,000 is handguns like pistols and revolvers. In 2017, there are recorded in government documents that 915,000 firearms have been registered in New South Wales.

Conclusion

Hence, it can be concluded that various aspects and reasons play a key role in change and modify policy changes in the Australian civil body. It also can be concluded from the above assignments that firearms act gave independence to the people of Australia to maintain their safety and security. Thus, it can be confirmed that elaborated changes in Firearms Act thus have been successful in maintaining appropriate public health and safety over the period of the last ten years. In this context, racism and the intersociety conflict of the Australian civic body have been mentioned as a prime reason for threat. Advocacy Coalition Framework (ACF) has been discussed with multiple streams and reasons for policy change. The threats to induce a lack of safety and security are driven by these policy changes. Along with the above-mentioned factors, reasons for changes in the Australian firearms act, strengths and weakness of previous policy and evaluation of modified policies have also been discussed in this assignment. The strength and weakness of previous policies and evaluation of modified policies have drawn a clear framework of Australian firearms policies. 

Reference List

Books

  • Houck, M. M. (Ed.). (2017). Forensic anthropology (Vol. 2352, No. 6238). Amsterdam: Elsevier. Available from: https://books.google.co.in/books?hl=en&lr=&id=PITQDQAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PP1&dq=Houck,+M.+M.+(Ed.).+(2017).+Forensic+anthropology+(Vol.+2352,+No.+6238).+Amsterdam:+Elsevier.&ots=A_YwP6xw7m&sig=mOF8k6NZBDkBVjom5DcF5UwlL1I#v=onepage&q&f=false
  • Houck, M.M. ed., (2015) Firearm and Toolmark Examination and Identification. Amsterdam: Elsevier. Available from: https://books.google.co.in/books?hl=en&lr=&id=rGidBgAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PP1&dq=Houck,+M.M.+ed.,+(2015)+Firearm+and+Toolmark+Examination+and+Identification.+Amsterdam:+Elsevier.&ots=zs0K3UsA0A&sig=2sRN9ZpPsyb-DXu9itkksgcXk3M
  • Kleck, G., (2017) Targeting Guns: Firearms and their control. Abingdon: Routledge. Available from: https://content.taylorfrancis.com/books/download?dac=C2017-0-52663-X&isbn=9781315130644&format=googlePreviewPdf

Journals

  • Cipriani, G., Danti, S., Carlesi, C. and Di Fiorino, M., (2017) Armed and ageing: dementia and firearms do not mix!. Journal of gerontological social work60(8), pp.647-660.
  • Lemieux, F., Bricknell, S. and Prenzler, T., (2015) Mass shootings in Australia and the United States, 1981-2013. Journal of Criminological Research, Policy and Practice1(3), pp.131-142.
  • Mata, A., (2015) Kevlar™ For the Innocent: Why Modeling Gun Regulation after Great Britain, Australia, and Switzerland Will Reduce the Rate of Mass Shootings in America. California Western International Law Journal45(1), p.5.
  • McPhedran, S., (2016) A systematic review of quantitative evidence about the impacts of Australian legislative reform on firearm homicide. Aggression and violent behaviour28, pp.64-72.
  • Stubbs, J. and Wangmann, J., (2017) Australian perspectives on domestic violence. Global responses to domestic violence, pp. 167-188.

Online articles

  • Cohen, I.M. and Burk, K., (2016) A Literature Review On Illegal Firearms. [Online] Available from: https://cjr.ufv.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/A-Literature-Review-on-Illegal-Firearms.pdf [Accessed 29 May, 2019]
  • Fellows, R.P. and Jacobson, J.L., Franklin Armory Holdings Inc, (2019) Firearm barrel. U.S. Patent Application 16/054,862. [Online] Available from: https://patentimages.storage.googleapis.com/8e/a4/9d/3ded6a14916d80/US20190041153A1.pdf [Accessed 29 May, 2019]
  • Luetjens, J.C., Mintrom, M. and t Hart, P., (2019) Public Policy Success: Lessons From Australia and New Zealand. Australia and New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG). [Online] Available from: https://www.oapen.org/download?type=document&docid=1004988 [Accessed 29 May, 2019]
  • Zeoli, A. M., Malinski, R., and Brenner, H. (2017). The intersection of firearms and intimate partner homicide in 15 nations. Trauma, Violence, & Abuse, 1524838017738725. [Online] Available from: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/1524838017738725 [Accessed 29 May, 2019]

Bibliography

  • Brown, P., 2017. Impact of gun law reforms on rates of homicide, suicide and mass shootings in Australia. Evidence-based mental health20(1), pp.25-25.
  • Chapman, S., Alpers, P. and Jones, M., 2016. Association between gun law reforms and intentional firearm deaths in Australia, 1979-2013. Jama316(3), pp.291-299.
  • Cherney, S., Morral, A.R. and Schell, T.L., 2018. RAND State Firearm Law Database. Available from: https://www.rand.org/pubs/tools/TL283.html
  • Morral, A.R., Ramchand, R., Smart, R., Gresenz, C.R., Cherney, S., Nicosia, N., Price, C.C., Holliday, S.B., Petrun Sayers, E.L., Schell, T.L. and Apaydin, E., 2018. The Science of Gun Policy. Available from: https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR2088.html
  • Tessler, R.A., Mooney, S.J., Witt, C.E., O'Connell, K., Jenness, J., Vavilala, M.S. and Rivara, F.P., 2017. Use of firearms in terrorist attacks: differences between the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. JAMA internal medicine177(12), pp.1865-1868.

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