Australian Gun Control: An American Solution?

Tribune News Service

Justin Rose
Staff Writer

Another mass shooting and more bloodshed is in the news.

I can hear the thunderous steps coming from the anti-gun crusaders as they march toward our nation’s Capital as I’m typing this sentence.

The main thing I’m hearing from these advocates is that we need some kind of gun reform, and we need it sooner rather than later.

These advocates like to look toward Australia for inspiration. Even former President Barack Obama did just that in a 2015 speech.

“When Australia had a mass killing about twenty-five years ago in Tasmania,” Obama said, “it was just so shocking the entire country said: ‘Well, we’re going to completely change our gun laws.’ And they did, and it hasn’t happened since.”

In 1996, Tasmania had the deadliest mass shooting in their country’s history when a gunman opened fire on a crowd of tourists in Port Arthur, a popular attraction in the country.

After this happened, the Australian government passed legislation called the National Firearms Agreement(NFA).

This agreement banned certain semi-automatic, self-loading rifles and shotguns and imposed stricter licensing and registration requirements.

The government instituted a mandatory buyback program for the guns that were made illegal by this legislation.

The Australian government tightened gun laws again in 2002 by restricting the caliber, barrel length and capacity for sport shooting handguns.

Statistics show that there has been a drop in firearm related homicides in the country since 1996.

In the seven years prior to the NFA being put into effect, there was an annual average firearm homicide rate of 43 percent per a hundred thousand people.

In the seven years following the implementation of the NFA, there was an annual average firearm homicide rate of 25 percent per a hundred thousand people.

The studies that listed these statistics have also said that it is not clear if the NFA was the cause of this drop off.

Pro Second Amendment advocates say that Australia’s homicide rate was already on the decline, and the implementation of NFA caused for the uptick in homicide rates in 1999.

There is some truth to that statement. The rate was in a decline leading up to 1997, and in 1999, there was an increase in homicides to 385, from 334 the year before.

However, since that uptick, the homicide rates have been in a more or less steady decrease.

For argument sake, let’s say that it is crystal clear that the NFA was the reason for the drop off.

Would this type of gun-restricting law work in America?

In my opinion, the answer is a resounding no.

The cultures in Australia and America are on almost the complete opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to attitudes toward firearms.

It’s no secret that America loves its guns. Let’s face it, we have a good reason to love them.

Our country was born from a violent uprising. If our forefathers didn’t have guns then it’s possible our country would’ve never existed.

What would happen if our government did decide to institute a policy that even resembles Australia’s NFA? It would probably lead to even more bloodshed.

Just imagine the emotions that would be provoked if our government started to send workers to citizen’s houses demanding that they give up some of their guns for some cash.

A mandatory buyback would never work here. It wouldn’t work now, and I don’t see it working anytime in the near future.

We need to come together as a country and decide what is best for us.

Do we keep what we had since we became the United States of America or do we choose to go down a different path?

Will the time in which we currently live force us to give up our right to bear arms? Has technology advanced so much that we do in fact need a change?

Thomas Jefferson played around with the idea that the Constitution might need to change with every new generation. Was that idea right, and has that time now come?

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