Mick Smith was a major Sydney firearms dealer for many decades. In his interview he discusses opportunities, restrictions affecting the trade, including the Howard government’s gun control legislation of 1996. of In the excerpt below Mick recalls abundant business opportunities in the firearms trade after the end of World War II.
I put in one tender to the government. I got sixteen thousand, two hundred and forty eight rifles, and that was the little .310 rifle, was used for cadet training about 1907. It was never a military firearm and I got them for four shillings each. So, here I have got all these rifles – no ammunition – and then the police said, “You can’t sell them, they’re a military firearm.” I said, “No, they are not a military firearm. They were never used in combat, so they were never designed to be a military firearm; they were just the cadet training rifle”. So, then I paid the Super Cartridge Company in Melbourne five hundred pounds to tool up and make me a quarter of a million rounds of ammunition, so as I could sell the .310 rifle and the ammunition with it. I made a fortune out of those, naturally, with sixteen thousand odd of them. Then I bought another six thousand later on, so I had twenty two thousand of one particular rifle. Then I had a quarter of a million rounds of ammunition being manufactured exclusively for me, so I cornered the market in Australia. I advertised them in The Truth [newspaper]; took a full page in The Truth, the rifle right across it, two pounds, ten shillings each. When I got to work, there was at least two hundred people out the street, lined up ‘round the corner.