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‘Something broke down’: How did this man have access to a gun?

Deborah Knight

Last week, the nation was shocked by the sickening murder of two children at the hands of their father in north-western Sydney.

68-year-old John Edwards brutally killed his two teenage children, 13-year-old Jennifer and 15-year-old Jack, at their West Pennant Hills home.

After committing the murders, Edwards returned to his Normanhurst home and took his own life.

The horrific crime has left some wondering how on earth this man, who had a history of violence, had legal access to a powerful handgun.

It’s been revealed the first shooting club Edwards approached knocked back his membership, but a different club accepted him and he was ultimately referred to police for a license.

Firearms policy expert Associate Professor Philip Alpers tells Deborah Knight getting access to a gun in Australia is a “long and complicated process”, but in this case, the system failed.

“He would have been recommended by the club to the police. The police would then have decided… that he was suitable and something broke down at that point.

“What all this shows is that the state legislators, the state law and the police, have delegated too much of their public safety responsibilities and their intelligence gathering… to the (shooting) clubs.”

Mr Alpers says reform may be needed, with Canada’s system being a good place to start.

“It may be we have to do what Canada does.

“Which is, as soon as a man applies for a license… then their spouse or their immediate past spouse is advised and given the opportunity to say, this person should never have a gun and to justify that opinion.”

Click PLAY below to hear the full interview with Philip Alpers

Deborah Knight
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