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"The transmission of such a price-list does not amount to an offer to supply an unlimited quantity of the wine described at the price named, so that as soon as an order is given there is a binding contract to supply that quantity. If it were so, the merchant might find himself involved in any number of contractual obligations to supply wine of a particular description which he would be quite unable to carry out, his stock of wine of that description being necessarily limited. I entertain, I confess, a very clear opinion that the Solicitor-General was quite right in arguing the case on the assumption that no sales were made in this country." Lord Herschell Just over one hundred years ago the above ratio-decendi was given in what was at the time a case concerned with alleged back taxes owed by Grainger & Son. Grainger & Son henceforth referred to as G&S were British wine merchants who as a side venture passed on the price lists of a French wine producer to their customers. G&S received a commission on any orders placed with said producer and paid tax on this commission. Gough claimed that tax was payable on the whole value of these sales not just the commission element. Monsieur Roederer henceforth Mr R was a wine producer located in France. He decided whether to accept orders the orders gathered by G&S or not. The reason for this being that the wine was shipped out ahead of any payment being received and Mr R wanted to vett his customers credit worthiness. The wine was shipped directly to the customer in the UK from France. Most customers settled their accounts directly with Mr R. A few customers instead made payment to G&S who would pass on to Mr R any amounts in excess of the commission they happened to be owed. In summary the flows of events are: Mr R, located in France, sends price list to G&S in Britain G&S distribute price list Customer places, for want a better word, an order with G&S for wine produced by Mr R G&S forward order to Mr R Mr R dispatches wine to customer Mr R dispatches bill for said customers wine to G&S for onwards transmission G&S forward bill to customer Customer sends payment to Mr R "“ occasionally made to G&S who forward this to Mr R Mr R sends receipt to customer G&S pay tax on commission received G&S maintained that they entered no contracts regarding Mr R's wine. Gough held the converse view that G&S entered contracts themselves and thus sold Mr R's wine. Our starting point must be to define what a contract under English law is. The Jurists Bentham and Austin have laid down that the "two main essentials of a contract are these: first, a signification by the promising party of his intention to do the acts or to observe the forbearances which he promises to do or to observe. Secondly, a signification by the promise that he expects the promising party will fulfil the proffered promise." More precisely to form a contract under English law the following elements are required i a valid offer has been proffered by the first party to another party or parties ii the offer has been accepted unchanged by the second party or parties and this has been communicated to the offerer . iii there is an intention by all parties to create legal relations when they entered into the contract and the parties have the capacity to contract iv the promises made within the contract are for valuable executive consideration and v the terms of the contract are certain. Did Mr R make an offer through the medium of his price list. Looking in Mozley and Whiteley"s Law dictionary an offer is "An expression of readiness to do something e.g. to purchase or sell". Mr R is saying that he is willing to sell wine. Based on this definition initial opinion would say that the price list does constitute an offer. Continuing with this line of thought G&S acted in an agency capacity for Mr R making an offer to the customers they approached and receiving the acceptance of any order. If the customers accepted G&S's offer made via the medium of the price list then Mr R merely shipped directly from France. The bills for said wine were sent to G&S who would then forward them on to the British customer. These points all suggest that the sale was made in the UK by G&S. The listing of Mr R, in the Post Office London Directory, as trading from G&S's establishment further hints at an agency type arrangement. Much of the argument supporting the invitation to treat viewpoint is by drawing analogies with cases involving auctions such as Payne v. Cave 1789 and Harris v. Nickerson 1873 in which both concluded that bidders make an offer which the auctioneer is free to accept or not. The bidder's offer being retractable until accepted by the auctioneer . The pricelist could be seen as statement of the minimum price at which Mr R would bewilling to sell wine drawing analogies with Harvey v Facey 1893. Mr R's supply of wine in any year is finite and demand could outstrip supply leaving an impossible back log of orders all demanding specific performance. Mr R could possibly, though extremely doubtfully, claim the defence of frustration as the things contracted for no longer exist. Add to this Mr R's option to reject any order makes it appear that his price list is an invitation to treat as otherwise it would be an offer that is subject to revocation without notice. Acceptance of an offer has to be communicated. At the time of this case, 1896, the only readily available methods of communication for distant parties were the postal system or telegram. The postal rule would apply to any customers acceptance sent via these mediums and hence any revocation of the offer would be impossible The final item to consider is the peculiar concept of consideration to be found in the English legal system and those derived from it The 1677 Statute of Frauds made consideration vital in any contracts not made under seal. G&S received no consideration for the wine therefore they could not be a party to the contract. [Transfer of title occurred only between Mr R and the customer]. That occasionally the payments for the wine were made to G&S instead of directly to Mr R was held to be equivalent to Mr R, for the sole convenience of his customers, operating a British bank account to receive payments. Graiger v. Gough was one of the major cases in the creation of the principle of invitation to treat. In order to explore this principle more fully the case will be re-examined as it occurred today. Once again the starting point is was the price list an offer or merely a willingness to deal. There are a number of variants on an invitation to treat these are: pre-contractional negotiations , shop displays and finally advertisements. G&S's supply of the price list to potential customers is a form of direct marketing and falls under the last of these three categories. To be classed as a unilateral offer the price list would have to show some intention to be bound by pro-offering a tangible benefit, in excess of sales puff, that could be accepted by performance rather than communication . Is there any similarity to Bowerman v. ABTA 1995 or Carhill v. Carbolic Smokeball Company 1892. If the answer to this is a negative then the next step is to determine where the act of offer & acceptance occurs. In a face to face situation such as a shop the customer offers to buy goods by presenting them at the till and the shop either accepts or rejects this offer to buy. The goods on the shelves are merely invitations to treat in keeping with the findings of Fisher v. Bell and Pharmaceutical Society of GB v. Boots Cash Chemists. The views of this in America and the European Community are slightly different. Although it seems odd that a shop would not want to sell its stock the English legal system is designed to achieve consistency even if it has to distort the persons actual intent. This produces oddities such as Partridge v. Crittenden 1968 where a newspaper advert to sell wild birds was found to be an invitation to treat not an offer to sell so the defendant escaped prosecution under the Protection of Birds Act 1954 . A key point in the original Graniger v. Gough was where was the contract made. Today the location of the act of contracting can be different depending on the mode of acceptance. The postal rule puts acceptance at the place of posting. Where both parties use a telex or nowadays facsimile machine the Court of Appeal decided in the case of Entores Ltd v. Miles Far East Corporation 1955 that the contract was entered into when and where the acceptance was received. Lord Denning confirmed, obiter" that the same principles also apply to acceptances by telephone. Answering machines and voice mail are assumed to at maximum delay receipt of the acceptance till the next working day rather than grant them an agent status capable of entering contracts. Faulty hardware, lack of link & paper or sloppy business practice, such as not checking the fax for days, does not stop or delay the acceptance of an offer. Public holidays and weekends however do delay acceptance till the next working day. E-mail contrary to popular belief is not always an instant form of communication. An e-mail may pass through a number of third parties networks & servers and could quite possibly be considerably delayed. Also the recipient has to actively retrieve their e-mail from their service providers or works mail server. The Uniform Laws on International Sales Act 1967 sets out that the acceptance of an offer becomes effective at the moment the indication of assent reaches the offeror . But is the offer accepted in the country of the readers computer or where the email server is hosted? If a person picked up the contents of their phones answer machine in a country different to that which said machine was in, where was the contract made. Within closed networks or Electronic Data Interchange systems mail delivery is more reliable and it may be possible to tag the e-mails so they generate a receipt message upon reaching their destination and upon being read. The EDI Trading Partner Agreements will also outline when acceptance takes place and which countries laws apply. If Mr R had a website that could receive customer orders would it be an invitation to treat or an electronic contracting agent ? A non-interactive site just listing his wines would most certainly be classed as an advert. This question is under consideration by may of the worlds legal minds. Unfortunately the Argos £2.99 television and recent Kodak £100 digital camera incident never made it to court so there is no precedent. The Kodak site took the customers order and issued an order confirmation which the customer was asked to retain for warranty service. Consumers would believe that having placed their order and given their credit card details and been told that the £100 will be charged to their card along with receiving an acknowledgement ,that their purchase has been made. This "clickwrap contract" is what the law calls a "contract of adhesion" -- a contract you didn"t really bargain over in any way, but which was presented as more of a take-it-or-leave-it offer . Kodak made such a bad bargain that everyone wanted to take it The only case on web based retail sales so far is American where the court stated "such an automated, ministerial act cannot constitute an acceptance" which does little to resolve the issue. As international web based commerce increases, instances similar to Gough v. Granger will become more common. Will the concept of invitation to treat expand outside of legal systems based around Anglo-American common law bringing some consistency to the dynamics of offer & acceptance or will the EU idea of its an offer until the stock runs out be adopted.
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"The transmission of such a price-list does not amount to an offer to supply an unlimited quantity of the wine described at the price named, so that as soon as an order is given there is a binding contract to supply that quantity. If it were so, the merchant might find himself involved in any number of contractual obligations to supply wine of a particular description which he would be quite unable to carry out, his stock of wine of that description being necessarily limited. I entertain, I confess, a very clear opinion that the Solicitor-General was quite right in...
bad bargain that everyone wanted to take it

The only case on web based retail sales so far is American where the court stated "such an automated, ministerial act cannot constitute an acceptance" which does little to resolve the issue.

As international web based commerce increases, instances similar to Gough v. Granger will become more common. Will the concept of invitation to treat expand outside of legal systems based around Anglo-American common law bringing some consistency to the dynamics of offer & acceptance or will the EU idea of its an offer until the stock runs out be adopted.

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One of the most vaguely understood...One of the most vaguely understood events in the United States is the modern criminal trial. Most people have a faint knowledge of the goings-on of criminal proceedings, mainly due to what is seen on television, but the person who knows the real course of a trial is rare. However, there is nothing mysterious about the events that determine criminal guilt. Trials are carefully orchestrated, following procedures that have been laid in legal concrete over the years, and generally follow the same basic format across the United States. Criminal law is distinguishable from civil law in the aspect that criminal acts are officially considered to injure not only individuals, but society as a whole. This is the reason why criminal cases are described as state v. offender. The state, as the injured party, is taking the defendant to court. The purpose of a criminal trial is to determine if the offender is legally guilty of the crime, but this does not necessarily mean that the person in question committed the crime. As opposed to factual guilt the person 'did it', legal guilt merely means that a jury of the defendant's peers is convinced without reasonable doubt. As can be seen, this leaves room for possible discrepancies. Before a trial can proceed, certain events must take place. The first is the arraignment of the defendant, which can happen anytime between arrest and a logical, non-specific time before the trial itself. Arraignment consists of the court reading to the defendant the substance of the charge, and calls on the subject to enter a plea within a given time. The defendant may consult with and be advised by an attorney on what plea to offer the court. He may plead guilty or no contest nolo contendere, in which case a trial does not occur and the subject goes directly to a sentencing hearing, or he may plead not guilty, and trial preparations will proceed. In very rare cases the defendant will not enter a plea, and is said to 'stand mute.' Directly after entering a plea of not guilty, the defendant must decide on one, if any, of many courses of defense to follow. A plea of guilty or no contest that is withdrawn by the defendant cannot be used as evidence against the defendant. One of the most popular defenses is the alibi defense. This course of action holds that the defendant was at another location at the time of the offense, and therefore could not possibly have committed the crime. If an alibi is to be offered, the defendant has a court-appointed time in which he must declare his intentions. The attorney for the state will send a notice describing the time, date, and place of the offense, and the defendant must refute this information. If the defendant issues notice of alibi but then withdraws the claim, this information cannot be held against him later in court. Another popular defense is the insanity defense. The court definition holds that "a person should not be guilty if they did not know what they were doing, did not know that what they were doing was wrong, or if their actions were the result of a mental disease or defect." This obviously covers a lot of area, which is part of the reason for its popularity. If the defendant plans to claim insanity, he must notify, in writing, the state's attorney of his intentions, and also file a copy with the court clerk. Failure to follow these guidelines results in the disallowance of the insanity claim. A withdrawn claim of insanity is not admissible as evidence against the defendant. There are many other defenses, divided into three categories, that are much less common than alibi and insanity. The first of these categories is designated 'other defenses.' The following are examples of these. 'Temporary Insanity' implies that the defendant was only insane at the time of the offense, and was once a very popular defense, as the defendant usually got off "scot-free". However, due to recent restrictions, it has lost its appeal. 'Guilty but Insane,' a defense that is all but extinct, resulted in a stiff penalty, but mandatory psychotherapy was included in any sentence. 'Involuntary Drunkenness,' holding that the defendant was intoxicated against his will, is rarely used, although it has resulted in a number of successes in court. 'Unconsciousness' is even more rare of a defense, and is used if the defendant committed a crime while sleepwalking, having a seizure etc. A 'Chemical Imbalance' defense is used if the defendant's actions were influenced by the consumption of food products or stimulants, including but not limited to sugar, nicotine, and caffeine. 'Premenstrual Stress Syndrome,' or PMS, is a very new defense and not yet even officially acceptable. However, it has been successfully used in Virginia. The second group of defenses is labeled 'special defenses.' One that is fairly commonly used is 'Self Defense,' holding that the defendant committed the crime in self-defense to avoid physical harm. 'Duress,' on the other hand, is not common, and is used when the defendant claims to have committed a crime in order to alleviate a prior wrongdoing against him. The 'Entrapment' defense has become the subject of media attention, since its implications are a bit sinister. It is implied that law enforcement officers have created a crime solely for the purpose of prosecuting the defendant. In the case of an 'Accident' defense, the offense is said to have been purely accidental on the part of the defendant. 'Mistake' says that the defendant committed an unwitting crime due to outside forces that precipitated the actual offense. A defense of 'Necessity' is rare, and is only used when the survival of the defendant was at stake. It is only truly useful if no serious harm was done. 'Provocation' is a fairly new defense, and one that was sought after by defense attorneys for years. Under this defense, a defendant is acknowledged to have been provoked by a tormentor to the point of lashing out. 'Consent,' the last defense of this group, holds that the crime committed was done under consent of the victim. The last group of defenses is the 'procedural defenses' that point fault at the court. The first of these is 'Double Jeopardy.' This occurs when a subject is prosecuted twice for the same offense. Although this is unacceptable under the Constitution, there is an exception to the rule. If a crime was committed in two jurisdictions, then two separate trials may be held. 'Selective Prosecution' charges that the defendant has been singled out for prosecution due to discriminating factors. A defense of 'Denial of Speedy Trial' is usually quite effective, because a trial must be held within a reasonable, given time after arrest. If the court breaks this rule, the defendant must be released. This rule is not applicable if trial is delayed by actions of the defense. The last defense is 'Prosecutorial Misconduct,' and holds that the prosecution has used bad ethical practices, such as hiding evidence or producing false testimony. Another defense, the 'Infancy Defense,' may only be used by children. "Children below the age of seven cannot be tried for any crime, no matter how serious." The age of prosecution as an adult varies, but ranges from ten to eighteen years of age. Disclosure is a major part of trial rights. Upon request from the defendant, the government must disclose all evidence and testimony that is to be brought against the defendant. On the other hand, if this occurs, the defendant must disclose defense evidence to the government if requested. At the same time as the other trial preparations, the jury for the trial is selected, usually from the same district as the crime was committed in, and subpoenas are sent to witnesses. Subpoenas are issued by the clerk and state the name of the court and the proceeding. They may also command the person to produce documents or other evidence. "Failure without adequate excuse to obey a subpoena may be deemed contempt of the court." Once a trial actually begins, the struggle of the prosecuting attorney against the defense attorney becomes evident. The attorneys should have at least a token belief that their subject is in the right. A criminal defense attorney may proclaim himself a fighter for truth and justice, and he may be precisely that, but once a case is accepted, his only responsibility is to his client, regardless of belief. Even defense attorneys who are convinced that their client is guilty are still exhorted to offer the best possible defense and to counsel their client as effectively as possible. The prosecutor, too, may claim to seek truth and justice, and is probably already convinced he knows the truth and believes in the defendant's guilt. However, if he finds he no longer believes the defendant is guilty, he has a legal responsibility to stop the proceedings. The first actions in court are the opening statements by both attorneys. The opening statements show the jury what the attorneys plan to do to prove their cases and how the proof will be offered. After the opening statements, witnesses are called, generally by the prosecution first. In most cases, witness testimony is the chief means by which evidence is introduced at trial. Among others, witnesses may include victims, police officers, specialists, and the defendant, although the defendant has the right to not testify under the 5th Amendment. "Some witnesses may have been present during the commission of the alleged offense, while most will have had only a later opportunity to investigate the situation or to analyze evidence." Traditionally, witnesses must face the court and defendant while testifying, although there have been exceptions. Most states allow children to testify remotely so as not to be traumatized. There are three types of witnesses. Eyewitnesses are used more often by the prosecution, and claim to have been at the scene of the crime. Character witnesses tell about the character of the defendant, and may be used by both sides. Alibi witnesses are only used by the defense, and try to convince the jury that the defendant was elsewhere at the time of the offense. When a witness is called, he undergoes a line of questioning by the friendly attorney. This is called "direct examination." When the attorney is finished, the opposing attorney steps forth to interrogate the same witness. This is called "cross-examination." Usually, cross- examination may only contest material covered during the direct examination. The witness will have gone over the questions and answers for both examinations with both attorneys beforehand. Some witnesses give untrue testimony to protect the defendant. If demonstrated to be false during examinations, witnesses can be impeached by the court and charged with perjury, a crime in itself. There are several types of testimony that are inadmissible as evidence. Hearsay evidence is described as what a witness heard from another person, rather than what he saw or experienced firsthand. Allowances, however, can be given under certain circumstances. One is the dying declaration, which is a statement made by a person who is about to die. A second instance is that of the spontaneous statement, which is made by a person in the heat of excitement without time for fabrication. Irrelevant or immaterial evidence is testimony that goes beyond or misses the point of the question asked, and statements of opinion show only what a witness thinks, rather than what he knows. Physical evidence, if any, is brought forth during witness testimony. There are two classes of evidence: direct and circumstantial. Direct evidence, if believed, proves a fact without opinionation. It can be testimonial, which is the aforementioned witness testimony, or it can be physical. There are three kinds of physical evidence. Documents are anything written or typed, objects are weapons, clothing, and the like, and copies and reproductions include photographs and recordings. Physical evidence is only subject to challenge on grounds of authenticity or manner in which it was obtained. "Circumstantial evidence, however, requires inference and drawn conclusions." It is often enough to convict anyway. After all witnesses and evidence have been shown, the attorneys give closing arguments, also called 'summations.' Closing arguments are direct attacks on the opposing side's weaknesses. They provide review and analysis of evidence. Testimony, exhibits, and inconsistencies in the opposition will be pointed out. Many good defense attorneys are effective showmen. They try to play on the feelings of the jurors during this crucial point of the trial. The argument is often emotional and poetry or verse is sometimes used. The prosecution, however, is only likely to use one emotion: outrage at the defendant. The situation during summations is favorable to the prosecution, who, in the vast majority of instances, opens the argument. After a rebuttal by the defense, the prosecution then has an opportunity for counter-rebuttal. In any case, the prosecution is always given the last word in closing arguments. After summations, the judge gives his 'charge to the jury.' He calls on the jury to retire and select one of their number as the foreman, and deliberate upon the evidence that has been presented until a verdict has been reached. He also summarizes all testimony, makes comments, and gives guidance. "It is often considered the single most important statement made during a trial." Once the jury leaves the courtroom for deliberations, they immediately choose a foreman, whose job it will be to deliver the final verdict. The jury may deliberate for hours, days, or weeks, and may examine evidence, review testimony, analyze the judge's charge, discuss, argue, and negotiate. Disagreements emerge early, but the majority almost always wins. Surprisingly, immediate unanimous decisions are not uncommon "“ they account for about 31 percent of all verdicts. Most jurisdictions require a unanimous decision, although the United States Supreme Court has ruled that only capital cases must warrant a unanimous verdict. Jurors are not allowed to discuss the case with relatives, friends, or each other until the proper time, because it is known that thinking is affected by the influence of others. "Scientific studies have shown that people instinctively and subconsciously want to be with the majority, and because of this, are not likely to hold out in an argument against the rest of the jury." During deliberations, if the case is important enough and the judge believes there is risk of the jury being influenced by outside sources, he may sequester jurors, putting them in a hotel with little contact with the outside world. Even newspapers and television may be censored. Telephone calls are short and monitored, and windows are usually covered over so as not to let the jurors see anything that may influence their thoughts. Deliberations will ultimately end in either a verdict or a 'hung jury.' In a hung jury, the members "debate, argue, plead, and finally admit defeat," not being able to agree on a verdict. Hung juries are usually just replaced, but sometimes the trial is stopped, and the time and money involved, which is sometimes quite substantial, is wasted. But a verdict is reached successfully 99 percent of the time. The jury, led by the foreman, gives the verdict to the judge in open court. If the verdict is guilty, the defense attorney may choose to 'poll the jury.' He asks each juror his personal opinion, and in a few cases, a juror's doubts re-emerge to cancel the verdict. This rarely happens, but if it does the result is a victory for the defense. A criminal trial is a complicated but closely choreographed event. Almost nothing happens without proper precedent, and even the most factually guilty defendant can be sure of having at least a small chance of getting "off the hook." The unbiased trial is a constitutional institution that may not always make sense to the average person, but that reflects the value of justice in American society.   

One of the most vaguely understood events in the United States is the modern criminal trial. Most people have a faint knowledge of the goings-on of criminal proceedings, mainly due to what is seen on television, but the person who knows the real course of a trial is rare. However,...

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The Firearms Act 1996 Vic. was...The Firearms Act 1996 Vic. was passed by the Victorian Parliament on October 31st 1996 in accordance with the National Agreement on Firearms which aimed to create uniform gun laws Australia wide. The Act repealed the Firearms Act 1958 Vic. and the Firearms Act Amendment 1983 Vic. and established prohibitions on certain people and guns. Under the Act, a 'prohibited person' was defined as anyone who had served a jail term for an indictable, assault or drug related offence or subject to a domestic violence intervention order. New categories for guns were created and gun owners had to pass certain requirements and demonstrate genuine reason for owning a firearm as well as provide appropriate storage for the weapon. Strict fines and jail sentences were established for offenders, but owners of newly prohibited guns were able to surrender their weapons and receive compensated under the national guns amnesty. Categories C and D guns including semi-automatic rifles, shotguns and pump-action shotguns were prohibited unless the applicant could prove a specific use for the weapon such as professional farming or hunting and that Category A or B weapons was insufficient. Category E included machine, teargas and shot guns and rifles shorter than 75cm. Category E license applicants had to prove the firearm was required for police or military duties. Handguns, were classified in their own category and had tighter requirements for ownership. The reasons behind the change in gun laws were both social and political. Between 1987 and 1996, 136 people were killed in gun massacres alone. After the Hoddle and Queen Street massacres of 1987, great public concern arose and the Victorian premier tried to tighten gun laws. The Strathfield massacre of 1991 intensified the debate in Sydney and subsequently importation of semi-automatic weapons was banned nationally. As Australia became more urbanised, 90% of the nation realised the need for stricter gun laws to assure their safety and security by restricting the availability of high powered weapons and banning convicted criminals and domestic violence offenders from owning guns. In 1996 the Australian Institute of Criminology found that the majority of people killed with guns were killed in states with relaxed gun laws. Furthermore, gun deaths dropped 30% after tougher Victorian gun laws were introduced in 1987. People saw this correlation between stricter gun laws and fewer gun related deaths, exemplified by the Port Arthur massacre where Bryant was able to own a military-style semi-automatic rifle without a licence, and pushed hard for tougher gun laws and longer sentences for offenders. Fear of an Australian gun culture was also of concern, with one in six households owning at least one gun, almost double in rural areas; one of the highest gun ownership rates in the western world. Society as a whole found this unacceptable and pushed to ensure that only those with genuine reason could access to guns. The Port Arthur massacre acted as a catalyst for change , causing public concern and outrage. However, the choice to change the law was chiefly a political decision. Despite the extreme public pressure, the change in law occurred because the government of the time recognised the need for uniform change. After people recognised the need for a formal change in the gun laws nation-wide, the issue was extensively debated. Individuals and pressure groups with opposing opinions, views and demands of the Government argued their reasons in public meetings, demonstrations and the media. Prime Minister John Howard took swift political action after the massacre, pushing for "a total ban throughout Australia on all automatic and semi-automatic weapons" and promptly calling a meeting of all Police Ministers, who unanimously backed the National Agreement on Firearms. He attributed the Port Arthur massacre to the lack of national uniformity and the weakness of gun laws in some states, and called for a national gun register and prohibitions on certain people. The Sporting Shooters' Association of Australia played an important role in opposing most of the Government's views and fought any further restrictions on their access to firearms, which it felt "treated [sporting shooters] as potential criminals rather than ordinary and responsible citizens". It claimed "the proclamation of the act had more to do with"¦ publicity"¦ than with good government" and it was a "disastrous, disgraceful mistake". It said "World Health Organisation figures show[ed] there was no relation between lawful gun ownership and gun crime" and that "legal access to guns is not reflected in gun misuse". Furthermore, it claimed that if gun laws were tightened, criminals would resort to different weapons, and that guns would be pushed onto the black market where government control would be impossible. Martin Bryant himself was important in the change in the law through the fact that he was able to own a semi-automatic weapon without a shooter's licence; showing the weakness of the previous gun laws. Furthermore, if the Port Arthur massacre had not been happened, the flaws of the old gun laws would not have been exposed and the Australian people would not have had solid reason to rally for tougher laws. Graham Campbell formed the Australia First Reform Party to represent the views of the pro-gun lobby in federal parliament. He claimed that further gun restrictions would attack citizens' basic freedoms, be inconvenient for rural communities and make Australia vulnerable to outside attack. Walter Mikac, a survivor of the Port Arthur massacre in which his wife and two children were killed, rallied heavily for tougher gun laws. "Deliver to us uniform laws that will give our children the best possible chance to live without fear of someone having access to violent power that can maim and kill", he said at his family's funeral. He wrote numerous newspaper and magazine articles, did many interviews and spoke at numerous rallies, relentlessly pushing for tougher gun laws. The Shooters' Party chairman Neville Sayers also spoke out against the new laws in newspapers, interviews and at rallies. He felt the Government acted "hysterically" after the Port Arthur massacre and "didn't bother to cool off" before changing the law. He argued that tougher gun laws would strip "away important rights of honest shooters" and force the newly-illegal guns underground. Frank Carmody, a survivor of the Queen Street massacre, also rallied heavily for tougher gun laws, making public appearances and speaking to the media "“ "People are fed up with excuses. People don't want this sort of thing to happen again". Many other individuals and groups spoke out against tougher gun laws including the Victorian Paintball Operators Association, that claimed they would loose business to other states because the Act required paintball players to hold a Category A licence. Recreational shooters were also against the change, which meant that they would only be able to shoot at approved shooting ranges. The Australian Institute of Criminology's 1996 report on guns was widely distributed, playing an important role in support of the change. It concluded that 7.3% of all injury deaths were firearm related and that most firearm deaths were suicides. These important statistics supported claims from groups such as the Human Rights and Responsibilities Commission and the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare for stricter gun control. In the ten-year period building up to the Port Arthur massacre in 1996, various individuals and groups had demanded change in Victoria's firearms laws. After the Queen and Hoddle Street massacres of 1987, Premier John Cain tried to tighten Victorian gun laws to restrict the use of semi-automatic weapons in response to the wide public outcry. In 1988, Prime Minister Bob Hawke established the National Committee on Violence in response to public concerns over the growing number of firearms and weak state laws. The committee achieved little prior to the 1991 Strathfield massacre, when it convinced the Federal Government to ban the importation of military-style semi-automatic weapons. Federal and State Governments responded effectively and promptly to the strong call for stricter gun control from almost all Australians after the Port Arthur massacre. Only 12 days after the massacre, Prime Minister Howard called the historic Police Ministers meeting to discuss tougher uniform gun laws and create the important National Agreement on Firearms. This agreement aimed to remove "dangerous firearms from our community and"¦ [establish] uniform registration and licensing together with the introduction of comprehensive conditions for firearms ownership". The Victorian Government responded to the strong gun control lobby, fuelled by the outrage of Port Arthur, emotional cries from Walter Mikac and demands from groups like Gun Control Australia. Victoria was the first state to respond to nation-wide calls for stricter gun control. , including the public view "possession, use, acquisition and disposal of firearms are conditional on the need to ensure public safety and peace by establishing a system of licensing and regulat[ion]" in the act. The Victorian parliament responded competently to public demands by complying with all parts of the National Agreement on Firearms, including the 'genuine reason' aspect contested by Queensland and Western Australia as a result of strong public demands for guns to be only available where absolutely necessary. Gun law reform reflected the existing values of the majority of the community and also attempted to generate new values through the new laws and stringent penalties. The value that everyone is entitled to live in a safe environment was reflected generally in the Act. Specifically, it reinforced this value through the gun buy-back scheme by removing dangerous guns from the community, the prohibited persons category by taking guns from potential criminals and different licence categories by ensuring that people only had access to the firearms they were licensed to use. The belief that access to guns should be restricted to only those with 'genuine need' was reflected through the Act and was a primary element to be established before a licence could be issued. The Act further enforces this value by deciding "that personal protection not be regarded as genuine reason for owning, possessing or using a firearm". The community value that preservation of human life is of paramount importance was strongly reflected in the Act by prohibiting certain groups of people from owning guns. The Act prohibited criminals convicted for indictable, assault or drug related offences from owning firearms for specified periods of time depending on their conviction. Those subject to domestic violence intervention orders were also prohibited because of the high correlation between domestic violence and gun deaths. Despite the inclusion of most common social values, some particularly those held by the anti gun control lobby were excluded from the Act. Shooters claimed that the most important right was their supposed 'right to bear arms'. However, Australians have never been guaranteed this right, and this belief was enforced in the Act through the 'genuine need' aspect of licensing. Through the Firearms Act, the Government also tried to generate new values as most people respect the law and government and incorporated the new laws into their values, reinforcing the value that society should be free from dangerous firearms. Harsher penalties for firearm offenders reinforced the opinion that people should only have access to the guns they require. The Act also encouraged a higher public regard for the law through creating reasonable sanctions. The Firearms Act 1996 Vic. impacted positively and negatively on individuals, the legal system and society in general. The Act made the community safer and prevented an uncountable number of firearm deaths, but also restricted legitimate recreational shooters' access to firearms. The Act impacted heavily on the legal system because many people rejected the new laws and refused to surrender their newly-prohibited weapons. This forced law enforcement agencies to spend extra time and resources tracking down offenders, causing extra expense to the community and giving the impression that people who disagreed with laws could simply disregard them. Many illegal firearms were siphoned on to the black market, where government control was impossible. The 'genuine reason' requirement for licensing stopped a US style 'gun culture' from developing in Australia, as only those who needed guns could access them. Paintball players and operators were also affected by the Act which required all players to hold a Category A shooter's licence. The added inconvenience of licensing stopped people from playing and subsequently, many paintball centres were forced to close. Many gun shops too were forced to close after the new laws were introduced, because tougher restrictions meant that fewer people had access to guns. Although the Firearms Act has impacted negatively on some parts of the community, as a whole, the Act exemplifies the views and beliefs of most people and has resulted in increased community safety.   

The Firearms Act 1996 Vic. was passed by the Victorian Parliament on October 31st 1996 in accordance with the National Agreement on Firearms which aimed to create uniform gun laws Australia wide. The Act repealed the Firearms Act 1958 Vic. and the Firearms Act Amendment 1983 Vic. and established prohibitions...

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