Aussies defend gun laws after Bondi Junction massacre

The prospect of armed guards at shopping centres could carry a “risk” to the public, NSW’s top cop says, as Australians defend the country’s strict gun laws after the Bondi Junction mass killing.

Joel Cauchi, 40, stabbed six people to death and wounded at least 12 others during his rampage in the suburb’s shopping centre on Saturday, which ended with him being shot dead by a lone police officer.

It has been revealed the Toowoomba raised Cauchi had a history of mental health issues and had recently relocated to Sydney from his home state of Queensland.

Cauchi’s social media posts suggest he held an interest in guns, and on one occasion sought candidates to meet up “who shoot guns, including handguns”.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese yesterday praised the bravery of hero cop Inspector Amy Scott, who entered the Westfield on her own before gunning down Cauchi.

“This man wielded a knife, but if it was an automatic gun, then we would have been speaking about hundreds of deaths,” he said.

“And it is an important reminder of how important it is that we do have strong gun laws in this country.”

The murder of six people, plus the death of Cauchi himself, marked Sydney’s worst massacre since the 2011 Quakers Hill nursing home fire that claimed 11 lives.

Saturday’s attack captured the world’s attention and has led some gun supporters both in Australia and the US to claim open carry laws could have prevented the killing spree.

“This is why I believe in concealed carry,” wrote American far right personality Tara Bull on X.

“How many would’ve survived if there was a good guy with a gun?”

Australians were quick to respond, saying how the gun control measures brought in after the Port Arthur massacre of 1996 had saved many lives.

Others said there had been a “good guy with a gun” present – the hero cop who took down Cauchi, Inspector Scott.

“No, we gave up guns so we could save lives,” one wrote.

“Compare how many children Australia has lost in school shootings to America. Compare how many lives are lost in Australia to shootings to America.”

Another said: “We gave up our guns so this guy couldn’t kill 60 people instead of 6. We’re glad we did.”

NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb was this morning asked on ABC News Breakfast about the potential for armed security guards in shopping centres.

It came after security guard Faraz Tahir, who was working his first day shift at the Westfield centre on Saturday, was identified among Cauchi’s victims.

“Well, the security officers at Westfield aren’t armed. That will no doubt form part of the inquest with the coroner,” Commissioner Webb said.

“And we’ll work with the coroner on what that looks like. But certainly that, you know, that’s something that will be raised.”

Pressed on what her “initial thought” was, the commissioner expressed concern about such an idea.

“It comes with risk. If security officers become armed in shopping centres, there’s always risk whenever people carry firearms,” she said.

“So I think it’s something that we need to treat carefully and think through very carefully before there’s any decision. And it’s ultimately a decision for government.”

Anyone with information about Saturday’s events are urged to contact police.