NRA AD ABOUT AUSTRALIA'S 1996 GUN CONTROL & BUY BACK PROGRAM
BUT THE TRUTH IS A VERY DIFFERENT STORY
All of us here in the United States, are very much aware of the National Rifle Association's influence over our state and national lawmakers. After Ronald Reagan was shot in 1981 by John Hinkley, we've had the Brady Bill (gun registration) and the Assault Weapons Ban that was allowed to expire. So even with mass shooting after mass shooting we have even fewer controls on guns today than we had in the past even though American's support tighter guns controls in poll after poll.
The NRA ad above portrays a government out of control, (in this case the Australian Government) confiscating guns from duck hunter's and recreational target range shooters. From this video, you would think that some Fascist dictator style government had run amuck and went around in tanks and armored vehicles breaking into people's houses and forcibly ripping their legal firearms from their hands. It's a pretty convincing video. Convincing propaganda.
But nothing could be further from the truth. Further from Australian reality, let's say. While dramatic, provocative and visually disturbing, it is total bullshit propaganda. And, of course, there is no mention in the clip that the Australian Government actually forcibly confiscated firearms from people although this is what is forcefully implied. Why? Because that would be a lie and the NRA is too clever to actually state such. Because it never happened. But no one can come away after watching this clip without the idea in your head that the government undertook a ruthless, unlawful campaign snatching guns from innocent, law biding, Australians. Just like, as the NRA will tell you, Barack Obama is planning for America.
The Australian government - state and national - did pass new strict gun control laws and instituted a national firearms buyback program that removed and destroyed more than 660,000 firearms with near universal public support. Apparently, the Port Arthur massacre was a wake up call for those rowdy Australians.
HERE'S A BIT OF BACKGROUND OF AUSTRALIA'S RESPONSE TO THE PORT ARTHUR MASS SLAUGHTER FROM SLATE:
On April 28, 1996, a gunman opened fire on tourists in a seaside resort in Port Arthur, Tasmania. By the time he was finished, he had killed 35 people and wounded 23 more. It was the worst mass murder in Australia’s history.
Twelve days later, Australia’s government did something remarkable. Led by newly elected conservative Prime Minister John Howard, it announced a bipartisan deal with state and local governments to enact sweeping gun-control measures. A decade and a half hence, the results of these policy changes are clear: They worked really, really well.
At the heart of the push was a massive buyback of more than 600,000 semi-automatic shotguns and rifles, or about one-fifth of all firearms in circulation in Australia. The country’s new gun laws prohibited private sales, required that all weapons be individually registered to their owners, and required that gun buyers present a “genuine reason” for needing each weapon at the time of the purchase. (Self-defense did not count.) In the wake of the tragedy, polls showed public support for these measures at upwards of 90 percent.
What happened next has been the subject of several academic studies. Violent crime and gun-related deaths did not come to an end in Australia, of course. But as theWashington Post’s Wonkblog pointed out in August, homicides by firearm plunged 59 percent between 1995 and 2006, with no corresponding increase in non-firearm-related homicides. The drop in suicides by gun was even steeper: 65 percent. Studies found a close correlation between the sharp declines and the gun buybacks. Robberies involving a firearm also dropped significantly. Meanwhile, home invasions did not increase, contrary to fears that firearm ownership is needed to deter such crimes. But here’s the most stunning statistic. In the decade before the Port Arthur massacre, there had been 11 mass shootings in the country. There hasn’t been a single one in Australia since.
America's record? In 2015 we had 4 mass shootings with 37 deaths. Sure, the total may be different depending who's counting but let's just say there have been quite a shocking number since Australia's Port Arthur massacre in 1996. There's no standard definition of "mass shooting" here and data is hard to come by. But below is a pretty grim picture:
1993: The Brady Bill establishes background checks for some gun purchases.
1994: The Assault Weapons Ban banned the manufacture, possession, and importation of new semiautomatic assault weapons and large-capacity ammunition feeding devices (or magazines) for civilian use.
The Assault Weapons Ban was allowed to expire in 2004.
Proposals to increase background checks have failed again and again in Congress.
And as us 660,000 residents of the District of Columbia who have no representation in Congress yet are required to pay Federal Taxes are well aware, we don't get to enact our own gun laws thanks to the Supreme Court of the United States.
On June 26, 2008, the Supreme Court affirmed the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in Heller v. District of Columbia. The Supreme Court struck down provisions of the D.C. Firearms Control Regulations Act of 1975 as unconstitutional, determined that handguns are "arms" for the purposes of the Second Amendment, found that the Regulations Act was an unconstitutional ban, and struck down the portion of the Regulations Act that requires all firearms including rifles and shotguns be kept "unloaded and disassembled or bound by a trigger lock". Prior to this decision the Firearms Control Regulation Act of 1975 also restricted residents from owning handguns except for those registered prior to 1975.
Of course many States have enacted their own legislation to stop the spread of guns and mass shootings:
How many states do not require a license to purchase guns, nor require gun registrations, nor ban the sale of assault weapons?
That's right 33 of 50 states do not require a license to purchase a gun, do not require that a gun be registered, and do not ban the sale and/or possession of assault weapons.
PUBLIC SUPPORT FOR AUSTRALIA'S GUN BUYBACK PROGRAM IN 1996 WAS UPWARDS OF 90%.
NUMBER OF MASS SHOOTINGS IN AUSTRALIA SINCE 1996:
0. ZERO. NONE. NOT A SINGLE ONE.
And let's not forget that Australia isn't namby-pamby Luxembourg or effete France. No. Australia was settled by convicts and debtors pretty much like the United States was and has a long tradition of wild and wooly behavior as well as slaughtering native populations just like here in the U.S. (On the other hand, every Australian I've met is super friendly.) Why folks in Australia had the good sense to stop mass shootings and the U.S. has not is open to question since today Americans do support stricter gun controls.
Although support is down from nearly 80% in 1990, today more than half of Americans want stricter gun controls. So why don't we have them?
The National Rife Association's propaganda ad above is one reason. Then too there's the current 5-4 interpretation of the Second Amendment by the Supreme Court who seems to think that the pesky little phrase "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State," is a typographical error. (Or is it a slip of the ink quill?) Another is the NRA's outsized lobbying efforts. It's instructive to note that when 78% of Americans wanted stricter gun laws in 1990, the NRA still touted gun ownership as a recreational sport and hunting activity. But now the NRA says it's about "FREEDOM."
Yeah. Freedom to continue with mass killings.