Queensland police gave serving officer permission to run rightwing gun blog

Ben Smee
Exclusive: A Queensland senior constable is the operator of the popular Ozzie Reviews site, which often criticises gun laws and posts far-right content. A popular Australian gun blog, Ozzie Reviews, which is frequently critical of firearms laws and posts far-right political content, is run by a serving Queensland police officer with formal permission from his superiors. Police records obtained by Guardian Australia show the senior constable, Corrie Dixon, was given a $6,300 taxpayer grant to attend a specialist firearms training course in the US three years ago as part of his police training. Dixon has run his blog and online business Ozzie Reviews – which has a presence on Facebook, YouTube and Patreon – since 2012. He claims online to have made income from contract shooting, content subscriptions and selling merchandise. He does not publicly represent himself as member of the Queensland police. Police confirmed on Friday that Dixon was a serving officer. In a statement the Queensland police service said they were aware of Ozzie Reviews because Dixon had “completed the relevant submission to undertake outside employment” and that this had been approved. Gun control advocates say the situation is “disturbing”. Dixon’s online presence is significant. Ozzie Reviews has about 25,000 followers on social media and more than 5m individual views on YouTube. He claims to have received “support” from several gun manufacturers and sellers, which have donated firearms vouchers and ammunition for promotions and giveaways. He also appears to have links to members of the pro-gun lobby. David Brown, from the NRA-affiliated Shooters Union Queensland, has described himself as a supporter and friend. Dixon uploads video reviews of legal weapons and accessories. He has also posted advice for people on how to obtain Queensland weapons licences. His posts are often tinged with political commentary about gun laws and he urges followers to join political and lobbying efforts to weaken restrictions. For instance, in September he called on supporters to “stand and fight” against gun restrictions. Dixon said he felt “punished for the actions of a person whom I didn’t even know” after the Port Arthur massacre, when Australia implemented its national firearms agreement. In a video posted after the Christchurch massacre, Dixon complained about the “really crazy leftwing attitude [of] having freedom taken away piece by piece”. In the same video he said gun control groups had taken advantage of recent mass shootings. “One thing that the antis do is they strike when things are emotional … here they are dancing in the blood of victims.” Ozzie Reviews shared a mock video showing former far-right politician Fraser Anning physically attacking his political opponents. Dixon regularly endorses political candidates based on their gun control positions. In Queensland, police take a relatively strict approach to weapons licensing and regularly refuse permits. Police did not respond directly to questions about whether Dixon’s public posts – or revelations he is a serving officer, operating with permission – might undermine that position. “The views of the officer are his own and not reflective of those of the service,” police said. In relation to the $6,300 trip to the US, police said training “is solely for the purpose of building the capacity of its members to undertake the duties required of them”. Dixon did not respond to questions sent via email and contact through Facebook. Samantha Lee, the chair of Gun Control Australia, said: “It is disturbing that a police officer whose job it is to enforce gun laws is publicly informing and showing people … how to work towards dismantling them. “Police officers are often the first ones at the scene of gun massacres and firearm homicide. The last thing this country and police force needs is a police officer pushing an American-style gun culture and promoting general access to assault rifles.”

A popular Australian gun blog, Ozzie Reviews, which is frequently critical of firearms laws and posts far-right political content, is run by a serving Queensland police officer with formal permission from his superiors.

Police records obtained by Guardian Australia show the senior constable, Corrie Dixon, was given a $6,300 taxpayer grant to attend a specialist firearms training course in the US three years ago as part of his police training.

Dixon has run his blog and online business Ozzie Reviews – which has a presence on Facebook, YouTube and Patreon – since 2012.

He claims online to have made income from contract shooting, content subscriptions and selling merchandise. He does not publicly represent himself as member of the Queensland police.

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Police confirmed on Friday that Dixon was a serving officer. In a statement the Queensland police service said they were aware of Ozzie Reviews because Dixon had “completed the relevant submission to undertake outside employment” and that this had been approved.

Gun control advocates say the situation is “disturbing”.

Dixon’s online presence is significant. Ozzie Reviews has about 25,000 followers on social media and more than 5m individual views on YouTube. He claims to have received “support” from several gun manufacturers and sellers, which have donated firearms vouchers and ammunition for promotions and giveaways.

He also appears to have links to members of the pro-gun lobby. David Brown, from the NRA-affiliated Shooters Union Queensland, has described himself as a supporter and friend.

Dixon uploads video reviews of legal weapons and accessories. He has also posted advice for people on how to obtain Queensland weapons licences.

His posts are often tinged with political commentary about gun laws and he urges followers to join political and lobbying efforts to weaken restrictions. For instance, in September he called on supporters to “stand and fight” against gun restrictions. Dixon said he felt “punished for the actions of a person whom I didn’t even know” after the Port Arthur massacre, when Australia implemented its national firearms agreement.

In a video posted after the Christchurch massacre, Dixon complained about the “really crazy leftwing attitude [of] having freedom taken away piece by piece”.

In the same video he said gun control groups had taken advantage of recent mass shootings.

“One thing that the antis do is they strike when things are emotional … here they are dancing in the blood of victims.”

Ozzie Reviews shared a mock video showing former far-right politician Fraser Anning physically attacking his political opponents. Dixon regularly endorses political candidates based on their gun control positions.

In Queensland, police take a relatively strict approach to weapons licensing and regularly refuse permits. Police did not respond directly to questions about whether Dixon’s public posts – or revelations he is a serving officer, operating with permission – might undermine that position.

“The views of the officer are his own and not reflective of those of the service,” police said.

In relation to the $6,300 trip to the US, police said training “is solely for the purpose of building the capacity of its members to undertake the duties required of them”.

Dixon did not respond to questions sent via email and contact through Facebook.

Samantha Lee, the chair of Gun Control Australia, said: “It is disturbing that a police officer whose job it is to enforce gun laws is publicly informing and showing people … how to work towards dismantling them.

“Police officers are often the first ones at the scene of gun massacres and firearm homicide. The last thing this country and police force needs is a police officer pushing an American-style gun culture and promoting general access to assault rifles.”