Firearms were first introduced to Australia by European settlers in the 18th century to protect explorers and settlers from Aboriginal attacks. The firearms were used for protection of people and their properties, in fighting crime, in many military activities and also for hunting.
In the last two decades of the 20th century, due to several high-profile killings, the Australian government was forced to draft a restrictive firearms legislation dubbed the National Firearms Agreement.
Currently, individuals above 18 years of age must obtain a firearm licence in order to possess or use a firearm. All firearms in must also be registered by serial number to the licenced owners.
Firearms are mainly used to protect a person and their property against criminal attacks. However, guns are also used as sporting accessories in shooting events and also in hunting missions.
Before selecting a new firearm, one must identify the main reason for acquiring the same. There is a variety of firearms in the market ranging from shot guns, rifles, pistols, revolvers and machine guns to name but a few.
Modern firearms are manufactured in a variety of shapes and sizes to fit multiple purposes.
They commonly include pistols and revolvers. The revolver is a unique and pocket-friendly piece. It is easy to use and more accurate than its competitors. However, it is limited to a paltry 6 shots and is quite slow to reload after taking a shot.
Pistols, such as the semiautomatics are more conducive to firing multiple shots and are designed to carry 15 to 19 rounds of bullets. They are however more complicated and require more practice to master.
Handguns possess the following characteristics
- Barrel length of below 16 inches
- Fired with one hand
- No shoulder support required
Their external appearance resembles that of a rifle. Shotguns have smooth barrels to fire a variety of ammunition.
There are four variations of shotguns available in the market including single shot, double barrel, semiautomatic and pump action.
Pump actions are very manual and require the user to physically move the pump handle to either insert fresh or remove spent shells. Semi-automatics are friendlier to the user as they utilize gas or recoil technology to replace the shells.
To qualify as a shotgun, the firearm must:
- Have a barrel length of above 18 inches
- Be fired with both hands while braced against the shoulder
- Fire once with each pull of the trigger
Rifles are characterised by the presence of a butt stock. They are bulky, harder to conceal and lesser regulated than handguns. On the contrary, rifles are much more accurate, shooting much more powerful cartridges.
Rifles may vary from single shot to bolt action, which is largely used for hunting rifles. The military uses this category of firearms and often engages in semiautomatic or automatic rifles. These rifles contain detachable magazine that can hold up to 50 rounds of ammunition.
Rifles typically possess characteristics such as:
- Barrel length of more than 16 inches
- Ability to be braced against the shoulder
- Barrel with rifling to help spin and stabilize the bullet
- Fire only one projectile with each pull of the trigger
It is important to ensure that you only buy a used firearm from a licenced seller. This is in order to ensure that the gun has undergone a background check and has no legal concerns.
Physically examine the appearance and condition the used firearm. Be sure to only purchase firearms that have been well cared for by the previous owners. It is crucial that you also check the safety of the firearm.
Finally, stick to purchasing recent models of firearms, as finding spare parts for older models can prove difficult.
Generally, firearms are a potential danger and may cause harm, personal injury or death. They must therefore only be handled by licenced persons. Firearms must also be stored, transported and used with maximum caution. Safety locks must be engaged when the gun is not in use and when placing guns into or removing them from your holster.