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Let’s Learn From Australia: Semi-Automatic Weapons Bans Work


Let’s Learn From Australia: Semi-Automatic Weapons Bans Work

Amy Goodman, Denis Moynihan

“It’s a sweet little gun,” Martin Bryant said of his AR-15 semi-automatic assault rifle when being interrogated by police. Twenty years ago, on April 28, 1996, Martin took that gun and committed a massacre in the Australian state of Tasmania. Over 24 hours, in what became known as the Port Arthur Massacre, he killed 35 people and injured 23 more. The violence and senselessness of the act, the largest massacre in Australia’s post-colonial history, so shocked that nation that within 12 days, comprehensive gun-control legislation was agreed upon.


I expect paid, pro-gun posters to show up here. Supporting a ban against assault weapons means defeat for any politician in a pro-gun state. If we can't get a ban, seems like we could start with much more extensive background checks at least on assault weapons.


It does at time seem as if efforts to limit the firepower of guns in the USA is a lost cause. Sensible proposals like letting people buy guns with some slightly upgraded background checks but not allowing mass killing automatic machine guns get shouted down with cries of " They're coming to take away all guns from everyone!" One can point out that the text of the first amendment, the opening clause of the key sentence seems to say things that "a well regulated militia" is required, but the gun abdicates simply blow that off and only want to talk about that keep and bear half of the sentence as being what the framers "really" meant and what must be adhered to unquestioned.

I made a point in a recent thread on this site that the troublesome mass firepower burst killing guns didn't exist when the amendment was written and that perhaps these guns should be excluded from that inalienable right for reasons of public safety. That suggestion drew mockery and scorn. That change to the Second Amendment could be done with some additional limitations, but the empasdioned bear arms defenders would have none of that.

I wonder how high up the weaponry chain the right goes. Do people have a right to own rocket launching grenade guns? Armed drones? Can they have huge caliber cannons? And if not, why not? What is the limit if weapon people should be allowed to own for their personal protection?

Do they really want a neo-Wild West. You'd think so by some of their rhetoric. Do they really believe that the well armed if not well regulated amateur militias could be counted on to shoot only the ' "deserving" criminals with no is mistaken identities or innocent bystanders in all the multiple lines of fire? No "I didn't know it was loaded" accidents perhaps involving children?

Is that really the way thing should be, vigilante rights defenders? I see problems with uninhibited guns, so shoot me.


The strange thing about it is that even in extremely pro-gun states, the majority of people polled indicate they favor restrictions on assault weapons. The legislatures, as too frequently the case, still cave to the NRA forces. This happens, one imagines, because the NRA is effective in organizing its members to participate in the governmental process. Opposition forces have yet to become so effectively organized. It also does little good when in off year elections turn out drops to pathetically low levels, with most those participating tending to lean towards the radical right wing.


And, of course, in 20 years Australia has not been taken over by a totalitarian leader. Dimwits, maybe, but not totalitarians.


What your snarky little comment intentionally ignores of course is the fact that those two incidents together don't begin to approach the destruction of life caused by the deliberate misinterpretation of the second amendment in this country.


Except that they don't.
“... the weapons banned by this legislation [1994 Federal Assault Weapons ban - since repealed] were used only rarely in gun crimes”, Impacts of the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban: 1994-96, National Institute of Justice, March 1999

"After the gun ban, gun homicides in Australia did not decline any more than they were expected to without a gun ban." - http://johnrlott.blogspot.com/2012/08/some-notes-on-claims-about-australias.html

"There has not been another mass shooting in Australia since."
Except for 2002 (Monash University, 2 dead, 5 wounded) and 2011 (Hectorville Siege, 3 dead, 3 wounded).

Also, Australia saw an increase in armed robberies in the aftermath of gun owners being "legally compelled to sell them to the government".


I fail to see how the partial gun ban and confiscation in Australia can be credited with a decline in either mass or single homicides when other repeating firearms such as revolvers and lever action rifles have remained perfectly legal. Committing mass murder perfectly feasible with the two before mentioned types of firearms. Revolvers can be reloaded quickly using a speed loader and the simple expedient of carrying an additional revolver can provide security during the reloading process. Mass murders are also quite possible using a bolt action rifle as demonstrated by our own Texas tower massacre.


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