Two constables were shot dead Monday night while investigating a missing person report in stringently gun-controlled Australia, and a third person was shot and killed when he heard the shots and went to investigate.
The New York Post reports that the shooting occurred after police went to an address in “Wieambilla in Queensland” in response to a tip regarding the whereabouts of 46-year-old Nathaniel Train.
Two constables–26-year-old Matthew Arnold and 29-year-old Rachel McCrow–were shot and killed as they approached the residence, and a third member of law enforcement was shot and wounded.
Fifty-eight-year-old Alan Sure was then shot and killed when he came from his neighboring residence to investigate the shots.
Other members of law enforcement responded to the scene and shot three suspects dead.
The New York Times notes that state police commissioner Katarina Carroll held a press conference in Chinchilla, Queensland, and described details surrounding the fatalities of the constables and Sure as “complex and horrendous.”
Carroll added, “This event is the largest loss of police life we have suffered in a single incident in many years. It is going to take us a number of days, if not weeks, to unravel every single aspect of the scene.”
The University of Sydney’s GunPolicy.org ranks Australia’s gun control as “restrictive,” noting that “the right to private gun ownership is not guaranteed by law” in Australia.
Moreover, “automatic and semiautomatic” rifles are banned from civilian ownership, with exceptions for museum and similar collections, as are “self-loading and pump shotguns, handguns with a [caliber] in excess of .38in with only narrow exemptions, semi-automatic handguns with a barrel length less than 120mm, and revolvers with a barrel length less than 100mm.”
As for the guns that are legal to own, only licensed gun owners may possess them. The process for acquiring a gun license in Australia requires applicants to “pass a background check which considers criminal, mental health, physical, addiction, domestic violence, residential and other records.” The applicant must also provide third party references, and pass a test on gun safety.
The application process for a gun license also includes “[establishing] a genuine reason to possess a firearm, for example gun club membership, hunting, target shooting, firearm collection, pest control, and narrow occupational uses.”
Self-defense is not a justifiable reason to get a gun license in Australia.