Stop saying Australia's gun laws will work in the US. It won't.
So here we are again, in the aftermath of another mass shooting in America.
I hadn’t planned on writing anything about this subject because frankly, I’m exhausted with waving my fists and calling gun advocates disparaging names. It a futile exercise accomplishing nothing except creating more divisions.
Instead I felt compelled to write because I keep seeing memes on Facebook posted about how America should follow Australia’s lead because of our stricter gun laws. While it’s all well and good to extol the virtues of our gun laws in comparison to the US, it’s worth remembering we still do have gun crime.
As recently as two months ago, a little girl in Sydney shot herself fatally with an unsecured gun in the home. A teenage boy in Young (my hometown no less), shot himself in the face with a ’22 calibre rifle. Fortunately, in this case, he survived. The states have been eroding existing gun laws on the sly but I suspect, when enough exposure is shone on the issue, we’ll get a reinforcement of tighter controls, partly due to what’s happened in Vegas.
For Australia, the issue of gun violence is easy to deal with because we don’t face it on the magnitude the US does. When a gun crime takes place, there’s an instant knee jerk reaction in Australians wondering why our laws were incapable of preventing it. There’s a fear if we don’t pay attention, Australia will end up like the US with daily mass shootings.
No, I’m not kidding, that’s the current statistic in the US.
I don’t claim our American cousins are less affected by gun violence than we are but I do believe they see gun violence as the norm, not the exception which is the polar opposite of how we view it.
In the last 20 years, gun-related crime has dropped a staggering 65% in Australia. Gun-related suicide a further 50%. We have national registry established for firearms and anyone can apply to buy a gun, provided you have a good reason for it. If you’re hunting, you need written permission from the owner of the land you’ll be shooting on or you need to be a member of a gun club. A great article on an Australian owner’s perspective of gun control can be accessed here.
However, what works for Australia will certainly not work for America. I hear a lot of Australians believing it would but I assure you it’s not. For starters, we’re a much smaller population. Gun culture is not part of our national identity. Beer is. Take that away from us and there will be gun violence, I’m not kidding. Same goes for Home and Away.
All jokes aside, Australia does not have the albatross of the 2nd Amendment hanging around our necks.
The US attachment to the 2nd Amendment is understandable, beyond the fact its a part of the Constitution, the right to bear arms is burned into the national consciousness. Since the War of Independence, America has never been invaded by a foreign power. For Americans, the right to bear arms is necessary to protect the homeland and truth be told, they have plenty of reason to revere it since they’ve seen firsthand what happens without it.
Imagine the impact if you will, on an American soldier walking through the ruins of Europe. Seeing not only the destruction of its cities but the death toll? Under those circumstances, why would they want to surrender their arms when they’ve seen what happens when a foreign army invades? Would the German campaign in Europe have been as successful or as devastating if most its people had been armed? Its worthwhile remembering Germany didn’t capture most of Europe because of superior numbers, they did so by having a well-equipped army.
How different would the occupation have been if German forces were faced with a similarly well-armed militia?
While we liberals may say that it’s an outdated idea, calling for an outright ban on guns in the US is like closing the barn door after the horse has bolted.
At present, there are 310 million guns in the United States and not all of them are owned by law-abiding and responsible gun owners. With one gun per person, it’s understandable why the citizenry would feel it necessary to own a gun when at any moment, armed thugs (well-armed ones at that) can come into your home.
It is also unfair to assume all gun advocates are the same.
Only five of the 87 million gun owners in the United States are members of National Rifle Association. The majority gun owners are in favour of stricter laws and closing the loopholes allowing the sale of weapons without the mandated vetting process. Proponents of gun control need to stop tarring gun advocates with the same brush as the NRA because if they stopped long enough to listen, they might find they share common ground.
One other thing Internet (Facebook users I’m looking at you) stop labelling every gun-owner as some pick-up truck, hill-billy, redneck and stop making it a race issue. There is a whole different can of worms regarding that subject but gun violence affects everyone and should be treated as national issue not a racial one.
To affect change, you guys on either side need to talk to each other because this adversarial approach is helping no one except the NRA and the shootings will continue.