Courts have ordered that the Australian War Memorial be allowed to go over a huge collection of guns seized from firearms owners in 2013 to save historical pieces from the torch.
In 2013, authorities in Queensland raided the residence of father and son Donald Frederick Collard, 71, and Stephen Noel Collard, 48, both respected firearms collectors. In a vault under their home they discovered 328 firearms and 4.2 tons of ammunition worth an estimated $2-$3 million. While many of the guns were legal and lawfully registered, a large part of the collection were kept in violation of the draconian Australian gun control laws of 1996 which banned most semi-auto rifles, handguns and shotguns.
Among the seized items, detailed in the video above taken at the time, were reportedly 50 Glocks, several Ruger Mini-14s, an Owen submachine gun dating from WWII, numerous 7.62x51mm L1A1 rifles, AR-15s, HK pattern rifles and pistols, SKS and AK style guns, and a Franchi SPAS-12 shotgun. Interspersed with these guns were a myriad of Enfield and Mosin bolt-action rifles as well as other firearms.
The Collards were ultimately given a suspended sentence on weapons charges, but their guns will remain in the hands of authorities for disposal. However, the more collectible martial guns, some war trophies dating back to the 1900s, will be allowed to go to the Australian War Memorial, the national military museum in Canberra.
“The weapons are of historical and cultural significance to the national estate,” ruled District Court Judge Michael Burnett on Febuary 22, arguing the museum may have an interest in some pieces rather than have them destroyed.
“They will work out what’s rubbish and what’s not,” said Burnett. “I would think the Australian War Memorial has great claim on weapons of the Boer War.”